0

I'm considering a new dual boot system with Win10 and a Linux distro, probably Ubuntu because I'm a Linux noob. I plan to have one SSD for Win10 (system and apps), one SSD for Ubuntu (system and apps), and one shared HDD or SSD (files and folders that can be read and write for both). Can also place a small swap partition on the shared drive (probably won't need much swap with 16+ gb of ram. Will turn hibernation off). I'm not a gamer. I'm not interested in distro hopping (and if I do I will try them out in a virtual machine first). System will be used primarily for photography and digital art.

I'll install Windows first, then Ubuntu (USB install). My question is in regards to disc formatting. I understand the Windows SSD should be NTFS, and Linux SSD should be ext4.

1) I assume the linux SSD will not come formatted as ext4 from the store. So what format should this be from the store, and how do I then make it ext4?

2) What format should be the shared HDD so both Ubuntu and Win10 can read and write files? My largest files do exceed 4gb, but those could be worked on in SSD, and stored on an external drive if need be.

3) What format should the swap partition be?

4) Is there a preferable format for external drives so the files can be accessed on all linux, windows and mac?

5) Any advantages/disadvantages to dual booting separate drives, as opposed to split partition?

6) Does the USB need a specific kind of formatting for the Ubuntu install?

Much appreciated.

  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu. Please try to ask one question at a time See the overview tour and the help center for guidance in how to ask questions here. – user68186 May 23 at 2:32
  • 1
    New drives are typically blank, unless an external drive which may be NTFS. Many SSDs need firmware update. If SSD are same or similar speed I suggest Windows on one & Ubuntu on the other. Otherwise have system on fastest drive and data on slower drive. Use extra space for backup of each & backup to external drive. Ubuntu now uses swap file, so no swap partition required. UEFI/gpt partitioning in Advance: askubuntu.com/questions/743095/… & askubuntu.com/questions/343268/… – oldfred May 23 at 2:39
  • If the answer below solved your problem please accept the answer as correct by clicking on the grey check mark ✔️ and turning it into the green check mark ✅ next to the answer. It will help others. – user68186 May 23 at 16:41
0

Questions and Answers

1) I assume the linux SSD will not come formatted as ext4 from the store. So what format should this be from the store, and how do I then make it ext4?

SSDs meant to be setup as internal drives are shipped empty. That means you will have to first initialize it with a system of partition tables called GPT or MBR. For Windows 10 more modern GPT is required for UEFI. I prefer to have GPT in all drives rather than mix GPT and MBR drives.

An empty new SSD can be initialized as GPT either from Windows 10 using the disk management utility, or after booting from the Ubuntu Live USB using the The Try Ubuntu without Installing option and then opening the app Gparted.

You can also create partition(s) and format them as ext4 from Gparted, but that is not necessary.

If the SSD is initialized as GPT and left unformatted Ubuntu installer will format it during default installation.

If this is the only disk connected during installation the Ubuntu installer will give you an option to erase everything and format it for you during installation.

If you choose the "Something Else..." (expert mode) you can partition and format the disk during installation.

2) What format should be the shared HDD so both Ubuntu and Win10 can read and write files? My largest files do exceed 4gb, but those could be worked on in SSD, and stored on an external drive if need be.

NTFS is the native format for Windows. Ubuntu can read and write to NTFS formatted partitions out of the box.

exFAT is another possibility as the Linux kernel 5.4 (the default kernel in Ubuntu 20.04) supports this format. However, since this is rather new to Ubuntu, there may be some issues. For example, 20.04 and exfat

3) What format should the swap partition be?

Modern versions of Ubuntu uses a swap file by default. So you don't need a swap partition. A swap partition is not created during default install process. Linux-Swap has its own format in case you want to create one beforehand or during expert mode installation.

4) Is there a preferable format for external drives so the files can be accessed on all linux, windows and mac?

NTFS seems to work in all three OSes.

5) Any advantages/disadvantages to dual booting separate drives, as opposed to split partition?

If you have one fast drive and one slow one (say NVMe and SATA SSDs) then it makes sense to put both OSes in the faster drive. Thanks oldfred's comment above.

To be clear, not all SSDs are equally fast. Particularly, SSDs that use NVMe protocol are faster than SSDs that use SATA protocol. If your computer has an m.2, PCIe, 2280, NVMe SSD, then that may be faster than the 2.5" SATA SSD.

  • If you have two NVMe SSDs, then put Windows in one and Ubuntu in the other.

  • If you have two SATA SSDs, then put Windows in one and Ubuntu in the other.

  • If you have only one NVMe SSD and the other SATA SSD, install both Windows and Ubuntu in the NVMe SSD using the install Ubuntu side-by-side Windows option.

  • If the choice is between SSD and HDD, install both Windows and Ubuntu in the SSD using the install Ubuntu side-by-side Windows option.

The only disadvantage of putting both Windows and Ubuntu in the same SSD is that some future Windows updates/upgrades may overwrite the Ubuntu bootloader in EFI System Partition (ESP). When that happens the computer will boot straight to Windows. You will need to run boot-repair from an Ubuntu Live USB to fix it.

Putting the two OSes in two SSDs allows you to have two separate ESPs, one in each SSD. This way Windows has its own ESP and Ubuntu has its own.

6) Does the USB need a specific kind of formatting for the Ubuntu install?

Ubuntu reads most USB out of the box just fine. Just plug and play.

Two Related Questions

Dual Booting win 10 and Ubuntu 18.04 on two separate physical ssds

Ubuntu Studio on Seperate Hard Drive

Hope this helps

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks very much for your reply. For question 2 I was not looking for opinion. I was looking for fact. Whether a format can be read/write for both. Further research suggests NTFS is suitable. For question 5, the separate drives are SSD, as per my initial post - so compare that to a split partition on SSD. Any advantages/disadvantages? – ItHertz May 24 at 1:04
  • @ItHertz If both are NVMe SSDs or both SATA SSDs then no advantage in keeping both OS in the same SSD. I will make this clearer in the answer later when I edit it. – user68186 May 24 at 3:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.