I have a little noob-question. I have at the moment Ubuntu 16.04. installed on my PC.

My plan is to install Windows on a second HDD and exchange the Ubuntu drive against the Windows drive, when I want to use Windows and back.

Is this save or could I hurt my Ubuntu with this somehow?

I would be glad about answers!


You're not going to hurt either your Ubuntu or Windows systems by exchanging drives, other than the fact that you're going to be handling the drives a lot more than they need to be, and if they're mechanical drives, as opposed to solid state drives, they will probably wear out a lot quicker. You are able to load both operating systems on the same hard drive if that's the only reason you want to swap drives. This is called dual booting.

To accomplish this is extremely easy, you will want to install your Windows OS first (due to Window's Boot Record tendency to overwrite Grub). Once you have Window's installed you can open disk manager, and resize your disk to allow for at least 50GiB of "unallocated" space. Once this is complete reboot your computer and startup into Ubuntu. Click "Install Ubuntu" and go through the instructions for setup. When prompted for which disk to install to, make sure you select "Largest contiguous free space". This will ensure Ubuntu installs to the "unallocated" space you created using Window's Disk manager. When installing Grub, Ubuntu should detect your Windows OS, and will display this information. Go ahead and install Grub, when you startup, there will be an option in Grub to boot Windows. Complete the installation instructions, and viola! You now have a dual bootable system with both Windows and Ubuntu.

  • thanks for the answers! I have ubuntu already installed and doing a new setup would be a lot of work. Installing Windows after Ubuntu is quite risky, right? – Fabian Fricke Apr 11 '17 at 15:59
  • Eh it's risky in the sense that 99% of the time when you install Windows, the windows boot record will write over grub, which means in order to get back into Ubuntu you'll have to live boot Ubuntu and repair Grub. Once you do that you should be able to get back to Ubuntu, and it should detect the Windows OS as well. Here's a an article on How to Repair Grub 2 from a Live Ubuntu CD or USB – Gansheim Apr 11 '17 at 16:20

Ubuntu.'s file stucture and windows are different. But yes you can use both os no problem at all unless you accidentaly delete any system files of any os from another os. You can easily browse windows files in ubuntu as ubuntu know most of the file system. But you have to install some third party app on windows to read ext file system which ubuntu use.

By the way you can install both os in a same HDD. Just google it.

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