I bought a new desktop PC with 2 hard disks: 1 x 256GB SSD with Windows pre-installed, and a clean 1TB HDD.

I have a 1 x 256GB SSD that I have used on an old laptop. I intend to put this into the new desktop pc.

My goal is to dual-boot; Meaning I want to have the option to load either Windows 10 or Ubuntu, but from two different SSD's.

Before putting it in, I'd like to ask the process for this: How do I retain the content of the SSD containing Ubuntu AND Windows 10, but manage to dual-boot them without formatting either, in the new computer? Are there any precautions I must take, or alternative steps that are to be followed in comparison to clean installs?

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    New system will be UEFI with gpt partitioning. Was old system BIOS with MBR? You could dual boot, but have to only dual boot from UEFI as UEFI & BIOS are not compatible. That is the only way it could work without reformatting/repartitioning to gpt. Probably better to just do new install, and migrate data. Do both systems have same video? If not, best to un-install proprietary video drivers before moving drive. – oldfred Mar 5 '17 at 16:41
  • Think I might just clean the old SSD with Ubuntu and do a reinstall just to be sure. – cbll Mar 5 '17 at 16:47
  • Back up all data, /home, & list of installed applications to make it easy to reinstall. Be sure to use Something Else. And install ESP on Ubuntu SSD, even though grub currently only installs to ESP on drive seen as sda. help.ubuntu.com/community/DiskSpace and: askubuntu.com/questions/743095/… With SSD & HDD, I normally have multiple / (root) on SSD for current LTS and test of other installs. And all data in /mnt/data partition with folders linked into each root, so each install has same data. I used to use NTFS with XP. – oldfred Mar 5 '17 at 16:59

The easiest way to do that is to copy your old 256GB SSD to a partition on the 1TB disk ( make the partition 156GB like your SSDdisk so there is space enough for everything - you want to copy using a live Ubuntu so you can create a EXT4 partition (dosn't work from windows) after everything is copied to the new 1TB HDD!

Install Ubuntu to this partition - Do NOT Formate, you need the settings for all your programs and mail accounts, as well as all the new drivers for your new PC's hardware.

When asked Where to install the GRUB till it to install it on SDA (that is the root of your Windows disk) This will create a boot menu for Windows (SSD) and your "Old Ubuntu - now upgraded) on the 2nd Disk in your system! Now Format the rest of the 1TB disk as NTFS - for joint files (Media Documents Photos etc...) from both Ubuntu and Windows! Happy Ubunting :-)

  • I'll give this a shot. Tak :-) – cbll Mar 5 '17 at 16:22
  • Be sure to keep new drives as gpt, and only copy data from old MBR(msdos) drive. MBR and gpt are not compatible, and you cannot image copy (like dd or similar) from MBR to gpt. And even if gpt, you must copy data not image as gpt has internal structures that must match partition table and backup partition table. – oldfred Mar 5 '17 at 18:11

Before installing Ubuntu do not forget to create partitions for linux. One partition should be ext4 with root access "/". Other one is required for swapping. If you will not create these two drives then Ubuntu will not let you hibernate after installation which will reduce performance also. Size of Linux swap partition should be more than size of your ram. Windows 10 takes two drives first one is of 500 mb for booting purpose second one is for windows 10 installation. Then third drive should be formatted in ext4 (min 20 gb) with root access [/] then next should be swap partition (its size varies according to ram). After doing this all, You will automatically get option for dual boot at the time of installing Ubuntu. It will automatically detect these two drives and give you message only these two drives will be formatted again. You can do all this with Gparted Partition editor which is also present in Ubuntu test mode (live mode of Ubuntu instillation DVD or ISO).

You should choose small drive for installing OS because OS remains active all the time and performs plethora of operations. Especially swap memory of Hard Drive will be used again again which will reduce its life time. So If you will use 1TB drive for storing personal data only then it will be wiser move.

  • Maybe I wasn't clear: Ubuntu is already installed on the SSD I intend to put in the desktop. The setup will, then, be 1 x 256gb ssd(Windows 10), 1 x 256gb ssd(Ubuntu 16.04) and 1 x 1TB hdd(clean). – cbll Mar 5 '17 at 16:20
  • If Ubuntu is already installed then installing Windows 10 on same drive will stop Grub2 of Ubuntu which can be also repaired later with "Boot repair Disk" which is about 600 mb. – Alamjit Singh Mar 5 '17 at 16:32
  • Windows 10 AND Ubuntu are both already installed. Ubuntu simply installed on another PC - I'm moving the SSD to the new PC :-) – cbll Mar 5 '17 at 16:36
  • Follow first paragraph of my answer it is simple method. On Window 10 desktop PC, installation of Ubuntu will automatically make dual boot for both OS. – Alamjit Singh Mar 5 '17 at 16:47
  • One more important thing is, before installing Ubuntu turn off fast boot option of windows 10 otherwise it will crash while loading after Ubuntu installation. – Alamjit Singh Mar 5 '17 at 19:40

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