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synthtel2
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Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:38 pm

I'm going to need to have some kind of basic Windows environment handy for software testing, and I really really want to play Planetside 2 (which doesn't work in Wine anymore due to some anti-cheat they added). Mumble and maybe 1 or 2 other games will be the rest of it. Wine-staging is good enough and I find Windows obnoxious enough that I'll only boot Windows when Linux and Wine entirely won't do it, which is rarely. The point is, getting the Windows install to under absolutely no circumstances interfere with the Linux install's operation is much more important than getting the Windows install to behave as well as it can internally. This probably means Windows needs a separate drive.

When Windows is told a particular drive is its install target, does it tend to respect that completely, or would it be safer to remove the Linux drive during Windows installation?

Will Windows accept removable media as an install target for itself? Flash drives are a bit cheaper than internal SSDs at 128GB, the speed characteristics of flash drives are a non-issue, for reliability (which isn't very important either) a flash drive a couple tiers above the lowest is probably better than the very cheapest internal SSD I can find, and being able to switch boot targets in meat-space instead of in UEFI or by resorting to a real bootloader would be nice.

Either way, any particular drive recommendations? I don't know the flash drive market or the low end of the SSD market very well. On the flash drive side, last I knew all manufacturers were turning out at least some pieces of junk, and I don't know how to judge which ones those are other than by reviews. The lowest priced 120/128 GB internal SSDs sold by Newegg are:

* Team Group L5 LITE (this one is extra-cheap)
* Silicon Power S55
* Silicon Power S60 (MLC?)
* ADATA Premier SP600 (MLC? also better-reviewed than most)
* PNY CS900
* ADATA Premier SP580
* Kingston A400 (only on this list because it's on sale until Monday, definitely the best-reviewed of the lot)

On the flash drive side, the top options look like the Lexar JumpDrive S75 or the Patriot Supersonic Boost XT. Both purportedly might have issues with the casing, but they're cheap and the electronics are sound.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:59 pm

If this were my project, I would pick up a used Intel 320 SSD from eBay ($40 buys 120GB) as there are endless quantities of them for cheap, and they are reliable and have power-failure protection capacitors. To make it a USB device, a USB-to-SATA case is also fairly cheap ($10-20).
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:22 am

Given your desire to do a "meat-space" physical swap, I'd get a 2.5" SATA hot swap adapter and use that for the boot drive. If you get a dual one (like this), you don't even need to physically swap the drives; just open the door on the bay of the drive you want to take offline.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:28 pm

SSDs aren't really something I want to buy used unless I can verify SMART data first. 320s are a good idea, though.

In an NCase M1, I don't have anywhere to put a hot-swap bay. It's a great idea for a bigger build.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:42 pm

You could use an external dock. But that starts to get kind of cluttery.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:12 pm

synthtel2 wrote:
SSDs aren't really something I want to buy used unless I can verify SMART data first. 320s are a good idea, though.

In an NCase M1, I don't have anywhere to put a hot-swap bay. It's a great idea for a bigger build.


Pity-JBI's solution was excellent.And as a added bit of info-IcyDock had some models that had switches on front so you
could turn off individual drives.(didn't even need to open doors)

If you have a old spinning rust lying around do a test.
Install Windows on drive first-then create second partition and install Linux-Test run...............
You could reverse the order,but I think windows first would be better,and 7 would probably be better than 10.
good luck..............
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:26 am

HERETIC wrote:
If you have a old spinning rust lying around do a test.
Install Windows on drive first-then create second partition and install Linux-Test run...............
You could reverse the order,but I think windows first would be better,and 7 would probably be better than 10.
good luck..............

What's this supposed to test?

Because Ryzen, Win10 is the only option, and yes I am salty about it. EOL of ~27 months out is a bit short for buying a Win7 key these days, but I'd still pick 8.1 over 10 any day if I had a choice.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:15 am

 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:18 am

synthtel2 wrote:
HERETIC wrote:
If you have a old spinning rust lying around do a test.
Install Windows on drive first-then create second partition and install Linux-Test run...............
You could reverse the order,but I think windows first would be better,and 7 would probably be better than 10.
good luck..............

What's this supposed to test?

Because Ryzen, Win10 is the only option, and yes I am salty about it. EOL of ~27 months out is a bit short for buying a Win7 key these days, but I'd still pick 8.1 over 10 any day if I had a choice.


The way I understood your initial post the main objective was--
" The point is, getting the Windows install to under absolutely no circumstances interfere with the Linux install's operation"
Doing a dummy run on a spare drive could test that option...............
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:46 am

Windows will only install on an external USB device if the device is Windows to Go compliant. Even if the device is Windows to Go compliant, you still need Windows 10 Enterprise for this to work, other editions don't support it. Otherwise, you'll have to install it on an internal device

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/window ... o-overview
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:02 am

Norphy wrote:
Windows will only install on an external USB device if the device is Windows to Go compliant. Even if the device is Windows to Go compliant, you still need Windows 10 Enterprise for this to work, other editions don't support it. Otherwise, you'll have to install it on an internal device

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/window ... o-overview

Fairly sure I've installed it on external hard drives before without any of that.
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:38 am

jihadjoe wrote:
https://github.com/zeffy/wufuc

Thanks, but it doesn't seem like a good bet that MS will let that stand indefinitely, and a Win8.1 install with that sort of trouble would be even more obnoxious than 10.

HERETIC wrote:
The way I understood your initial post the main objective was--
" The point is, getting the Windows install to under absolutely no circumstances interfere with the Linux install's operation"
Doing a dummy run on a spare drive could test that option...............

Only if I install Linux before Windows, though, if I'm understanding you correctly (and doing it in that order with only one drive is a mess for more reasons than the rest of this). For install-time interference, worst-case is the main drive can't be in the system while Windows is being installed, but that's not a huge problem. Post-install interference would mainly be about bootloaders, and only applies if the two OSes have to share a drive. I don't use a bootloader - my mobo firmware knows where to find the Linux kernel. GRUB jumped the shark at some point, and either dealing with that or having to F11 to UEFI to pick boot target is the first hurdle. The bigger problem is that the two OSes would have to share an EFI partition (currently /boot) on an ongoing basis, and I don't trust Windows to not wreck something in there.

Norphy wrote:
Windows will only install on an external USB device if the device is Windows to Go compliant. Even if the device is Windows to Go compliant, you still need Windows 10 Enterprise for this to work, other editions don't support it. Otherwise, you'll have to install it on an internal device

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/window ... o-overview

LostCat wrote:
Fairly sure I've installed it on external hard drives before without any of that.

Thanks, both of you, that's one of the points I'm most curious about. Considering other stuff with activation, I don't think they should have any reason to lock down this particular case (using normal Windows as WtG would still fail due to hardware differences), but it's tough to tell with Microsoft.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:26 pm

synthtel2 wrote:
SSDs aren't really something I want to buy used unless I can verify SMART data first. 320s are a good idea, though.


I've picked up a half dozen Intel SSDs for laptop and desktop refurbishments. Have yet to see one that was flagged by the Intel SSDToolbox. Just avoid any models that were targeted toward server duty and the rest seem to be pulls from corporate laptops and had a relatively gentle life on the I/O side of things.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:57 pm

Why not run it in a VM? I'm partial to VMware Workstation, it costs money but has a lot of nice features and yes you can play games with it. Give it a full size (not expand-as-you-go) virtual disk and you should be good to go, Linux will see a binary blob and Windows will see the only drive it knows about.

My plan for W7 EOL is to switch over to CentOS and run a W7 VM for anything that won't work with wine/crossover.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:08 pm

I had no idea that worked so well! It looks like it does on Workstation Player, which is free, right? Do you know much about the performance hit? Spec Ops on a 980 Ti isn't the most intensive load.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:26 pm

Player should work okay, it's a lot closer to the Workstation code base than it used to be. I don't know specifically the performance drop, but it should be noted that Planetside 2 is also not known for high performance requirements either.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:01 pm

I don't even have a good enough mental model of how VMWare might be doing that to know where the performance hit would be. If it's GPU-side, no problem, low settings are the most competitive anyway IMHO. If it's CPU-side, it may make it tough to get 100+ fps. Resource allocation wouldn't be an issue - when gaming in a VM, the Linux side of things could get along fine with 2 threads and 4 GB of RAM (out of 16 and 16).

Now that I think about it more, doing this in a VM may still not work, because this needs to have Vulkan support on both OSes (for testing stuff). Graphics driver differences would also make that testing weird. VMWare looks like it only goes to DX10 and OpenGL 3.3.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:14 pm

The CPU hit for virtualization is minimal these days, as all modern CPUs have hardware CPU virtualization support.

The GPU (and I/O in general) is the question mark. Virtualization of DirectX can cause performance issues and introduce bugs; and USB virtualization (keyboard/mouse) can introduce lag.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:52 pm

I was including draw call cost and so on in CPU-side load. If the game's render thread has to wait longer than usual on drivers, translation, or whatever, it can tank performance pretty quickly without loading down the GPU. When Wine has issues, this usually seems to be why, and it seems like this VMWare thing might have some of the same.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:14 pm

Windows does not seem to consider removable media to be a valid install target.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:01 pm

Alright, my brother is using a 128GB SSD OS drive and 512GB SSD game drive, and all of his stuff will fit on the 512 easily. We'll musical-drives some data around so I can use the 128 for Windows.

Does Win7 get upset at all if it finds itself mirrored to a strange drive? When that happens to Linux, there are a couple of things to fix like UUIDs in fstab, but if Windows needs similar work I may not know how to do it off the top of my head.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:20 pm

synthtel2 wrote:
Alright, my brother is using a 128GB SSD OS drive and 512GB SSD game drive, and all of his stuff will fit on the 512 easily. We'll musical-drives some data around so I can use the 128 for Windows.

Does Win7 get upset at all if it finds itself mirrored to a strange drive? When that happens to Linux, there are a couple of things to fix like UUIDs in fstab, but if Windows needs similar work I may not know how to do it off the top of my head.

For starters, make sure you don't try to boot an AHCI-enabled install on a non-AHCI-enabled platform or vice versa. Lots of gray hair will result.

Beyond that, it will mainly get upset if you're trying to move an Intel-built driver set to an AMD platform or vice versa. It will probably boot but good luck getting all the drivers converted without having to reinstall. I did that once and it was a bit messy.

And you may have some unscheduled fun involving Windows Activation.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:56 pm

I've not had a problem switching between Linux and Windows booting via the BIOS.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:41 pm

Everything went well. Windows still makes me WTF-were-they-thinking about every 5 minutes I spend dealing with it, and it hogs the entire downlink (thereby ruining gaming) whenever it feels like it, but it is at least out of the way when not in use.

Boot target switch is via UEFI - Linux is default, spamming F11 at boot goes to the menu on which Windows' bootloader is an option. It works.

There were two minor hitches related to dual-boot. The first is that Linux prefers the system clock to be UTC and Windows prefers it to be local. It's easier to fix the Linux side, but I don't care enough, so Windows just thinks my time zone is UTC. No big deal. The second hitch is that Windows hates shutting down properly (as opposed to hibernating), and when it doesn't, Linux can't mount the main NTFS partition write-capable. This matters because this internet connection is garbage and big downloads need to happen in Linux before being pushed over to the Windows disk. Holding shift while clicking shutdown is apparently the fix. How is anyone supposed to know that?
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:40 pm

synthtel2 wrote:
The second hitch is that Windows hates shutting down properly (as opposed to hibernating), and when it doesn't, Linux can't mount the main NTFS partition write-capable. This matters because this internet connection is garbage and big downloads need to happen in Linux before being pushed over to the Windows disk. Holding shift while clicking shutdown is apparently the fix. How is anyone supposed to know that?

Windows now hibernates the kernel for faster boot, unless a system change has occurred that requires a complete restart.

If you want, you can create a desktop shortcut that executes the shutdown command using either "shutdown /p" or "shutdown /f /s /t 0" to get an instant and total shutdown. There's also a /r restart switch that can be used to reboot instead of power off.
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:54 am

Under Power Options, pick the completely unintuitive "Choose what the power button does" on the left, then untick "Turn on fast startup."

If I had wanted to hibernate, I would also want my windows to be restored. Fast startup logs you off before hibernating.
 
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:54 pm

bfg-9000 wrote:
Under Power Options, pick the completely unintuitive "Choose what the power button does" on the left, then untick "Turn on fast startup."

If I had wanted to hibernate, I would also want my windows to be restored. Fast startup logs you off before hibernating.

++

It also makes shutdown take approximately infinity longer than normal on systems with reasonable amounts of RAM (32+ GB), far outweighing the time gains for the user on start-up. This is bad.

That, and it doesn't bother with the normal-since-forever clean unmounting of the disk partition partitions (IKR, SMH), preferring to cause issues and potential data loss if there's subsequent access from other OSes e.g. a Linux install on another disk.

It''s a stupid "feature" :roll:
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:38 pm

My Linux desktop is configured to progressively switch to more aggressive CPU power management modes the longer there is no mouse or keyboard activity, but is set to never sleep or hibernate.

My laptop sleeps but never hibernates.

I agree that hibernate is kind of pointless with the amount of RAM many systems have these days, and the improved cold boot times of recent versions of Windows and Linux. If you can cold boot in half the time it takes to resume from hibernate, why bother with hibernate?
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Topinio wrote:
It''s a stupid "feature" :roll:

It's a useful feature that works fine for a majority of users, and can be disabled by the minority who need a workaround. Why is that stupid?
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Re: Keeping a Windows install (dual-boot) out of the way on a budget

Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:46 pm

ludi wrote:
Topinio wrote:
It''s a stupid "feature" :roll:

It's a useful feature that works fine for a majority of users, and can be disabled by the minority who need a workaround. Why is that stupid?

Sauce?

Anyway, IME it works only if RAM <= 8 GB, and C: is an SSD, and the only OS installed is a single copy of Microsoft Windows, and the users are not even slightly time-sensitive on shutdowns but are very much so on boot times.

Maybe that is the majority, but the downside for the supposed minority is much bigger than the upside for the possible majority, and anyway the number of systems with 16-32+ GB is only growning so any net win is shrinking...
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