How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

Technical Level : Intermediate

The market for client operating systems over the past 10 years has become richer and diverse. Many individuals who are entering the field of IT are broadening their skill set to encompass not just Microsoft technologies, but also open source solutions. The Linux operating system in particular has been a major driving force behind this change in the industry. Many persons are now more than ever experimenting and learning the alternative desktop and server operating system available in hundreds of flavors called distributions. Persons interest in Windows have not waned, its just that there is now more choice. In this article, we take a look at one of the common scenarios many persons upgrading to Windows 10 will face; dual boot configurations with Linux. The good news is, Windows 10 is quite receptive to such configurations.

This article does not go into the complexities of such configurations but looks at the scenarios involving upgrading such a configuration. In my case, I had a Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux specifically (12.10) dual boot configuration setup. Because of the hundreds of distributions that exist, this article will not be the final word on how to upgrade such a configuration.

As noted, I have a dual boot configuration between Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7. Above you will see a text based boot menu called GRUB which is used to managed both operating systems. You can use it to choose the operating system you want to load when you start your computer.

Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux version 12 desktops

Above, you see a standard desktop for both operating systems, I have a single file on each. I should let you know, this is the best way to upgrade to Windows 10 when Windows is installed first. So if you have a desire to run Linux in the future, install it now.

Installation must be started from within the running version of Windows. When the initial phase of setup is complete, your computer will restart.

Because GRUB is the default boot manager, setup will not boot into Windows 10 installation unless you manually choose to do that. To do so, select the Windows 7 or Windows 8 (loader) and hit the Enter key.

Setup will go through its installation phases, each time your computer restarts, you must select the ‘Windows loader’ in order for setup to continue and complete. So ensure you are observing the installation as it goes along.

After setup is completed, you will be booted directly into the Windows 10 Out of Box Experience.

Windows 10 and Ubuntu should be running together in perfect harmony.

The GRUB menu will still display Windows 10 as Windows 7. You can edit this by downloading the free GRUB Customizer utility for Ubuntu Linux:

One of the good things I learned from this experience is knowing that upgrading an existing version of Windows to Windows 10 under such a configuration will not affect your Linux installation.

I am currently running Windows 10 14257 alongside with Arch Linux. However, like all the updates attempts before, I cannot easily update Windows 10 to the newest version because for some reason I would run into these two situations:

– 1) Black Screen (of death?) > Upon rebooting after Windows finishes configuring my system for the update, my laptop would reboot and get to GRUB. I then boot to Windows Loader (sda2) and see a black screen. If I leave PC like that for a full day, I still see the black screen. I have to then forcibly shutdown my laptop and reboot. This time, Windows would say “Restoring Previous Build” and I am back to square one.

– 2) Nothing Happens (started happening recently but rarely) > Upon reboot after Windows finishes configuring my system, there is the reboot to GRUB. I boot to WIndows and nothing happen. I get to the Lock Screen and can sign in as usual but would still be back at my old build; no update happen.

I cleared the WIndows Update cache, delete Windows.

BT folder and restarted Windows Update; however, I run into either one of the two problem above.

Previous, I have to restore Windows’ Bootloader via a recovery USB and Windows then would allow me to update. However, Windows’ 10 Bootloader does not detect Arch Linux so I cannot use Windows’ Bootloader (that is a different problem for another posting).

Is there a way for me to update Windows without restoring Windows’ Bootloader then update Windows?

I have a custom rig which has a System Builder’s (OEM) copy of WIndows 7 Ultimate.

I’m going to keep this real simple.

If I upgrade to 10, can I do it from a clean W7 install on a new HDD with the same motherboard and NOT have to give up my current Windows 7 installation?

Ultimate cost a lot of hard earned money, and I’m not about to give it up, especially if I come to find out Windows 10 is a pile of ****.

Report abuse

Replies (6) 

I suggest configure your computer to have dual boot.

1st partition: Windows 7 Ultimate which you plan to use as fallback or your current install of Windows 7 Ultimate.

Create new partition (2nd partition): Install Windows 7 to Which you will use to upgrade to Windows 10.

Report abuse

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Thank you for your interest in Windows 10 Technical Preview.

You can achieve this by doing a dual boot on the PC, so that you can leave the first Windows 7 ultimate untouched and you can install Windows 10 on a new HDD or upgrade from Windows 7.

Please note: As of now you can dual boot Windows 7 ultimate and Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Windows 7 ultimate on one HDD and Windows 10 on a other HDD.

To download Windows 10 Technical Preview refer to the below link:

Hope this information helps, for further assistance please reply

Report abuse

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

Report abuse

Was this reply helpful?

Sorry this didn’t help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback.

When I upgrade a preinstalled (OEM) or retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 license to Windows 10, does that license remain OEM or become a retail license?

If you upgrade from a OEM or retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to the free Windows 10 upgrade this summer, the license is consumed into it. Because the free upgrade is derived from the base qualifying license, Windows 10 will carry that licensing too.

If you upgrade from a retail version, it carries the rights of a retail version.

If you upgrade from a OEM version, it carries the rights of a OEM version.

Full version (Retail):

– Includes transfer rights to another computer.

– Doesn’t require a previous qualifying version of Windows.

Upgrade version (Retail):

– Includes transfer rights to another computer.

– require a previous qualifying version of Windows.

– Expensive, but cheaper than full version


OEM versions of Windows are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

– OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

– OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

– OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

– OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system

What happens if I change my motherboard?

As it pertains to the OEM licenses this will invalidate the Windows 10 upgrade license because it will no longer have a previous base qualifying license which is required for the free upgrade. You will then have to purchase a full retail Windows 10 license. If the base qualifying license (Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) was a full retail version, then yes, you can transfer it.

From the end user license agreement:

15. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible for the upgrade. Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from.

17. TRANSFER TO ANOTHER COMPUTER. a. Software Other than Windows Anytime Upgrade. You may transfer the software and install it on another computer for your use. That computer becomes the licensed computer. You may not do so to share this license between computers.

#1 pcpunk

Courtesy of Howtogeek:

I now use Windows 10 and it has ruined my life

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

  • Register to remove ads

#2 wizardfromoz

Ya gotta love those geeks.


#3 cat1092

  • BC Advisor
  • 7,092 posts
    • Gender: Male
    • Location: North Carolina, USA
    • Local time: 05:12 PM

    The Catch-22 is that the Linux bootloader may be overwritten, unless that install is on a separate drive & unplugged, and will need to be fixed post-upgrade to Windows 10.

    So it may be best to include some repair suggestions in the Topic. At a minimum sudo update-grub will be needed after upgrade, that is, if the Windows 10 upgrade doesn’t bork the Linux bootloader. It’s been a month since 10’s release & some are having issues already.

    I’ve had to revert to my Windows 7 installs on 3 PC’s so far, only one runs good enough to keep it, as well as a virtual machine running 10 Pro in Linux Mint. Windows 10 slowed them all down, AV/AM scans doubled in time, short SuperAntiSpyware scans that were taking between 18-25 seconds to run were taking up to 2 minutes, this is just totally unacceptable. On a HDD, I could see this, but on SSD’s with 500MB/sec reads & writes, I can’t. Windows 10, like 8.1 before it, is not a one size fits all, but rather hit or miss.

    And if it misses bad enough, surely the Linux bootloader will be gone. I’ve seen this personally on one machine, fortunately I have the Linux Boot Repair Disk on CD, yet that won’t fix the broken Windows 10 OS. A lot of Linux users doesn’t have this.

    Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the ‘C’ drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    So today is the day that Microsoft let Windows 10 out the door.

    Great, but compared to how we do upgrades in Linux, the Windows 10 upgrade is nothing to rave about. But that’s another discussion that I don’t have time for now, and I don’t think I’ll ever.

    This short post is for those running a system on which Windows 7 or 8 (or 8.1) is installed in dual-boot fashion with one or more Linux distributions. If you have such a system and are wondering whether the integrity of the Linux side will survive an upgrade to Windows 10, well, it depends.

    If the setup is on a computer with UEFI firmware, with the boot files of all systems on the EFI Boot Partition, then I don’t see anything that will mess GRUB up during or after upgrading to Windows 10. That’s because the EFI Boot Partition is like a public park, where the space occupied by each operating system’s boot files is respected. So the Windows 10 upgrade script will only update the files and directory that pertains to the Windows boot manager. That this is true has been verified by none other than a Microsoft employee in this blog post.

    The same goes with the upgrade script of the installed Linux distribution(s), but you knew that already.

    Where you might run into some problem is if the dual-boot setup is on a computer still using Legacy BIOS, with GRUB installed in the Master Boot Record, or MBR. On such a system, be sure to back up your file before attempting the upgrade. It could still go without a hitch, but a backup will save you some anguish if something does go wrong, which can happen, if the Windows 10 upgrade script is designed to write something to the MBR.

    Easy Installation Tips and Tricks

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Dec 27, 2020 · 10 min read

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    W indows is by far the most widely used operating system in the world today. It has been consistently occupying more than 70 % of the PC Operating System market for several years (Source: Statista). And naturally so. Most people who use PCs are not developers. So they need off the shelf software and user interfaces for most purposes. Why then, would you need to use Linux Distro like Ubuntu?

    If you are a developer/data scientist, you probably are already using Linux for some of its many advantages like:

    • Speed — Linux is lightning fast, which is why most of the fastest computers in the world use it. If you are wrangling with large amounts of data, this is a definite advantage.
    • Flexibility — Linux is highly flexible, in that you can run almost everything. That too with very little resources consumed as compared to windows. Accessing and processing data is much easier even with older hardware.
    • Developer friendliness — It is a given that Linux is developer-friendly. With the open-source nature, anyone can contribute to improvements. Also, the ability to use Dockers is a definite advantage. You can run algorithms within multiple containers in parallel and with ease.

    If you are n o t a hardcore developer, but having some amount of IT affinity, it is still worth to try one of the many Linux Distros available. Ubuntu, a Debian based distribution, is a favorite among Linux beginners because of the ease of installation and use. And with Microsoft changing its long term stand by being more open to open-source platforms and Linux (see WSL, if you do not want a dual boot but use GNU/Linux directly in Windows. Yes, at one point in time unimaginable, that is a possibility now!), it is probably a good idea to invest your time and have Linux under your knowledge belt as well.

    Last week I installed the latest version of Ubuntu (20.04 LTS) on my PC and I had to do it again on one more. So I thought I might as well write about how I did it here so that all readers on Medium can find it helpful. This is how I did it.

    • Windows 10 PC (should work in the same way for Win 7, 8, Vista with a few modifications in the steps)
    • Ubuntu 20.04 (Link to versions page)
    • Around 20 GB of disk space to spare
    • USB Flash Drive (8–16 GB)
    • Rufus — a software to create bootable USB (link)

    Once you have these, let us begin.

    Insert your USB drive and check if the connection is without any errors. You should not have any data in the USB drive, as any data will be overwritten. Please back up any important data.

    Now start the Rufus software that you downloaded (I used version 3.13 from here).

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    It will automatically detect the USB drive inserted. Once you click on select, you will get a browse window to go to the Ubuntu ISO file that you downloaded.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    After you select the file from your downloads, you may get a few of the following options based on your initial settings. Select as red-outlined in the image below.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    After this, you are ready to go. Click on start and wait, this should take a couple of minutes based on the drive writing speed.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Once you are finished with this, safely unmount the USB drive and mount it again to check if everything works fine. The drive would have been labeled now as UBUNTU 20_0 ([ your drive letter:]) by default.

    To see your disk space, press Window key + R and type diskmgmt.msc in the application. This will get you to your Disk Management.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    I have the Windows Installation on Disk 0 — OS (C:) and also some amount of data. Right-click on it and select shrink volume.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    I want approximately 20 GB of free space for the Ubuntu installation, so I have entered the amount to shrink in MB as 20,000. You can vary it depending on your space availability. After you shrink, you should be able to see this as unallocated space as seen below.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    That is it, you have a new unallocated partition for your Linux installation.

    As always, it is a good practice to back up any data that is there on the drive.

    Also a very important note of caution here: To install any Linux distribution, the disk type should be Basic as only this type is supported. However, trying to create too many partitions(4 or more) will convert the disk type inadvertently to Dynamic. If you have any data in Disk 0 (especially a Windows Recovery Drive), converting back to Basic type is very tedious. You will have to format the disk (in the case of C-Drive, you would have to reinstall Windows), and you will lose the recovery partition in most cases.

    The only way I found to convert Dynamic to Basic without formatting is with a software called Paragon . The community version is free to use and works surprisingly well. You can alternatively use this software to create a partition as well.

    Now that you have successfully allocated free space in your drive with partitioning, we can start the installation process.

    Here is the complete walkthrough with screenshots.

    Connect the USB Flash, make sure it is detected and that you can see it as a drive. Restart your PC. Before it boots, press Esc or F2 repeatedly. You will see a screen as follows:

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Select the boot device as your USB Drive and press Enter. You should see a screen as seen here:

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    From here, it is just a few clicks for the basic setup which are shown below:

    Select Install Ubuntu option (if you want to try, you can actually use the Try Ubuntu option which still gives you the full capabilities. The only hassle is that you would have to connect your USB flash drive every time you want to use it).

    I’ve got a question regarding dualbooting openSUSE and Windows.

    I’d like to install openSUSE Leap 42.1 on my machine alongside Windows 10, Is there a way to do this using the Windows bootloader?

    I’ve tried a few times but there were really 2 outcomes: SUSE hijacked the bootprocess anyway or left my PC unbootable (installed Xubuntu over SUSE to get it to boot again, then put windows back into the MBR, left xubuntu unbootable, but hey, Windows booted again)

    What are the options I need to set (or unset?) in the SUSE installer to achieve this?

    Btw: This is my current partitioning setup:

    Why use the windows bootloader, you ask?

    Well, I really need windows (MultiSim, Xilinx ISE Design suite. ) , on a daily basis almost, so I can’t afford to mess up my bootloader because I was tinkering with it. That’s why I want the windows bootloader to be in charge. I can’t mess it up, if I mess up my Linux, sure I’ll reinstall, but windows will always remain bootable.

    4 Answers 4

    To everyone asking this same question, I got it down and this is how:

    Step 1: Preparation:
    Install EasyBCD. Using EasyBCD you’ll back-up your windows boot config.
    DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, Your system might be rendered unbootable if you don’t back this config up. (believe me, it’s not fun to recover an unbootable PC, knowing you need it tomorrow)

    Step 2: Partitioning:
    You’ll want to add another parition, this will be your /boot partition. I put it at the front of my extended Linux partition. My partition was about 512MB big and was partitioned as ext2.

    Step 3: Install openSUSE:
    Next, install openSUSE. Be sure to not install to MBR and write bootcode to your /boot partition.

    Step 4: Getting Windows back in charge:
    Now we’ll put Windows in charge again, reboot your system after installing openSUSE. This should boot GRUB, select “Windows 10 loader on /dev/sdaX”. Now, use EasyBCD to recover your MBR, also select your windows boot drive/partition as the system’s boot drive/partition. If you reboot now, you should boot straight into Windows. Now, you can add a new boot-entry. Be sure to select the GNU/Linux tab. Leaving the partition on auto-detect worked for me, but you should be able to manually select one. Be sure to give it a proper name.

    Step 5: Grand Finale:
    Your dualboot system should be set up now, go ahead and reboot, you’ll be presented with the windows bootloader, which can either continue to load Windows, or chainload GRUB.

    note: dualbooting using the Windows bootloader makes booting Linux significantly slower than booting Windows. This is because Windows performs a reboot after you select an OS that’s not Windows. If start-up speed is essential to you, I suggest you leave GRUB in charge.

    Generally you do not need to set anything, GRUB does it for you probing other OS’s in the hard drive and adding them to the menu entry, even the windows recovery partition should appear there. So, when you have all the other systems installed, then you install openSUSE and you will be able to boot anything else bootable in your system through GRUB’s menu out of the box.

    If for some reason “Windows 10” is not showing up on GRUB’s menu try these:

    1) In openSUSE go to “Yast > Boot Loader” on the window “Boot Loader Settings” click on the tab “Bootloader Options” and check if the option “Probe foreign OS” is selected, if not select it, click ok, GRUB will re-run its configuration, and then you restart the system. The other OS’s should appear in Grub’s menu entry when you start the pc.

    2) If the above did not work, you can set manually an entry to your “Windows 10” partition in GRUB’s menu. (I myself am using this in openSUSE Leap 42.1!)

    As root edit the file /etc/grub.d/40_custom so it looks like this:

    In the menu entry you have to set the info of your windows partition for: hd0 = name of the hard drive, probably the same as here; gpt2 = the boot partition, your probably will be gpt1 (if you are not using a gpt partition try 1 instead of gpt1 , the number follows the order of partitions in your hard drive; chainloader = where the windows efi bootloader is located. I made a copy of /boot/efi/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi in the boot folder and renamed to “Windows.efi”. Be careful that in the chainloader address does not need the initial /boot/efi/ . Save the file and close it.

    Now you need to tell GRUB about this change by running the command as root:

    # grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

    This will reconfigure GRUB with the new entry, when it is finished restart the system. You should be able to boot “Windows 10” from GRUB’s menu. The menu entry supplied above work for other systems as well by providing the correct address and needed info.

    Is your old dual boot OS drive getting old and you want to replace it with a new one? Do you need a reliable guide to help you migrate dual boot OS and upgrade the dual boot OS drive to a new HDD/SSD?В

    If yes, stay here. You’ll get a complete guide that you can follow to upgrade and migrate dual boot OS to your HDD or SSD with ease. Let’s see:

    Applies to: Clone Windows 10/7, Windows 10/8, Windows 8/7; Windows 7/XP, etc. to a new disk.

    Is It Possible toВ Upgrade Dual Boot OS to HDD/SSD

    Dual boot OS is popularВ among WindowsВ professionals and advanced computerВ users. And, the popular dual boot OSs areВ Windows 10/7, Windows 10/8, Windows 8/7, Windows 7/XP.

    As time goes by, dual boot OS users may findВ thatВ the OS drive is too small orВ the computer slows down. To get a faster dual boot OS, users are now trying to find a way to clone and upgrade dual boot OS to a new HDD or SSD.В

    Here is the question: is it possible for us ordinary users to clone and upgrade dual boot OS drive to HDD/SSD? Sure! Follow the complete guide and learn how to upgrade your two operating systems to a new hard drive or SSD now.

    #Preparation:В Make Everything Ready for Dual Boot OS Migration

    Before you start, here are two things that you should prepare for dual boot OS migration:

    #1. Initialize New HDD/SSD

    Step 1.В Connect or install the new HDD/SSD to your computer correctly.

    Step 2. Right-click”This PC/My Computer”, click “Manage” and click “Disk Management”.

    Step 3. Right-click the not initialized new HDD/SSD and select “Initialize Disk”.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Step 3. Set “MBR” or “GPT” for HDD/SSD, and click “OK” to confirm.

    Make sure that your new HDD/SSD shares the same partition style asВ the source OS disk.

    #2. Download Reliable Dual-Boot OS Clone Software

    Here, EaseUS file backup software – Todo Backup with its System Clone and Disk Clone features can help. It simplifiesВ the dual boot OS migration process that anyone can use to upgrade the OS disk.

    Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP

    #Start: Migrate and Clone Dual Boot OS Disk to New HDD/SSD

    After installing the new disk and EaseUS Todo Backup, you can now follow the guide below to upgrade and clone the dual boot to a new disk now.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Clone Dual Boot OS Disk to HDD/SSD:

    1. Launch EaseUS Toto Backup and click Clone.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    2. Select the whole disk that has your dual OS, and click Next.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    3. Choose the target partition or hard disk that you want to save the dual OS.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Do remember to tick Optimize for SSD under Advanced options if the destination disk is an SSD.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    4. Preview the disk layout to confirm the settings of the source and destination disk. Click Proceed to execute dual OS clone.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    #Follow-Up: Add Boot Option in BIOS for Dual Boot OS

    It’s not the end yet. After the OS disk cloning process, you still have some follow-up operations to execute:

    #1. Set New Drive as Boot Drive

    Step 1.В Restart the computer, press F2/F8/F11, or Del to enter BIOS.В

    Step 2. OnВ the boot menu, enter the Boot Priority section and set the new disk as the boot drive.В

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Step 3.В Save the changes and reboot the PC.

    Step 4.В Select the desiredВ Windows on the Choose an operating systemВ windowВ boot up.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    #2. Add Boot Options to BIOS

    If some of you found that the second OS is not bootable as no boot option is detected in BIOS, you’ll need to add one to BIOS.В

    To do so, you have two ways out:

    • 1. Turn to the Microsoft support team for help.

    You can contact them by visit:

    • 2. Customize EaseUS Tech Support Help.

    You may need further help for a tough dual boot OS boot failure issue after upgrading its OS disk to a new HDD/SSD. Consult with EaseUS Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual service.

    They could offer customized services to help you resolve the PC not booting issue after upgrade the dual boot OS drive to another disk. You may also request the following services:

    1. Unformat the drive 2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk, or operating system 3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

    Take Steps, You Can Have a New Dual Boot OS Drive

    To clone and migrate dual boot systems into a new disk is no longer a special skill for advanced Windows users and administrators anymore. Ordinary users just like you and I can also do the job. How?

    Follow this page, you’ll get a complete guide to clone and upgrade the dual boot OS drive to a new HDD/SSD with the help of EaseUS Todo Backup.

    Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP

    Though it’s a bit complex, think about the faster reading and writing speed, and bigger storage space on your computer. It’s worth a try.

    Last updated September 25, 2018 By Abhishek Prakash 90 Comments

    If you have a Linux distribution installed, you can replace it with another distribution in the dual boot. You can also keep your personal documents while switching the distribution.

    How to upgrade a linux dual-boot system to windows 10

    Suppose you managed to successfully dual boot Ubuntu and Windows. But after reading the Linux Mint versus Ubuntu discussion, you realized that Linux Mint is more suited for your needs. What would you do now? How would you remove Ubuntu and install Mint in dual boot?

    You might think that you need to uninstall Ubuntu from dual boot first and then repeat the dual booting steps with Linux Mint. Let me tell you something. You don’t need to do all of that.

    If you already have a Linux distribution installed in dual boot, you can easily replace it with another. You don’t have to uninstall the existing Linux distribution. You simply delete its partition and install the new distribution on the disk space vacated by the previous distribution.

    Another good news is that you may be able to keep your Home directory with all your documents and pictures while switching the Linux distributions.

    Let me show you how to switch Linux distributions.

    Replace one Linux with another from dual boot

    Let me describe the scenario I am going to use here. I have Linux Mint 19 installed on my system in dual boot mode with Windows 10. I am going to replace it with elementary OS 5. I’ll also keep my personal files (music, pictures, videos, documents from my home directory) while switching distributions.

    Let’s first take a look at the requirements:

    • A system with Linux and Windows dual boot
    • Live USB of Linux you want to install
    • Backup of your important files in Windows and in Linux on an external disk (optional yet recommended)

    Things to keep in mind for keeping your home directory while changing Linux distribution

    If you want to keep your files from existing Linux install as it is, you must have a separate root and home directory. You might have noticed that in my dual boot tutorials, I always go for ‘Something Else’ option and then manually create root and home partitions instead of choosing ‘Install alongside Windows’ option. This is where all the troubles in manually creating separate home partition pay off.

    Keeping Home on a separate partition is helpful in situations when you want to replace your existing Linux install with another without losing your files.

    Note: You must remember the exact username and password of your existing Linux install in order to use the same home directory as it is in the new distribution.

    If you don’t have a separate Home partition, you may create it later as well BUT I won’t recommend that. That process is slightly complicated and I don’t want you to mess up your system.

    With that much background information, it’s time to see how to replace a Linux distribution with another.

    Step 1: Create a live USB of the new Linux distribution

    Alright! I already mentioned it in the requirements but I still included it in the main steps to avoid confusion.

    You can create a live USB using a start up disk creator like Etcher in Windows or Linux. The process is simple so I am not going to list the steps here.

    Step 2: Boot into live USB and proceed to installing Linux

    Since you have already dual booted before, you probably know the drill. Plugin the live USB, restart your system and at the boot time, press F10 or F12 repeatedly to enter BIOS settings.

    In here, choose to boot from the USB. And then you’ll see the option to try the live environment or installing it immediately.

    You should start the installation procedure. When you reach the ‘Installation type’ screen, choose the ‘Something else’ option.

    Step 3: Prepare the partition

    You’ll see the partitioning screen now. Look closely and you’ll see your Linux installation with Ext4 file system type.

    In the above picture, the Ext4 partition labeled as Linux Mint 19 is the root partition. The second Ext4 partition of 82691 MB is the Home partition. I haven’t used any swap space here.

    Now, if you have just one Ext4 partition, that means that your home directory is on the same partition as root. In this case, you won’t be able to keep your Home directory. I suggest that you copy the important files to an external disk else you’ll lose them forever.

    It’s time to delete the root partition. Select the root partition and click the – sign. This will create some free space.

    When you have the free space, click on + sign.

    Now you should create a new partition out of this free space. If you had just one root partition in your previous Linux install, you should create root and home partitions here. You can also create the swap partition if you want to.

    If you had root and home partition separately, just create a root partition from the deleted root partition.

    You may ask why did I use delete and add instead of using the ‘change’ option. It’s because a few years ago, using change didn’t work for me. So I prefer to do a – and +. Is it superstition? Maybe.

    One important thing to do here is to mark the newly created partition for format. f you don’t change the size of the partition, it won’t be formatted unless you explicitly ask it to format. And if the partition is not formatted, you’ll have issues.

    Now if you already had a separate Home partition on your existing Linux install, you should select it and click on change.

    You just have to specify that you are mounting it as home partition.

    If you had a swap partition, you can repeat the same steps as the home partition. This time specify that you want to use the space as swap.

    At this stage, you should have a root partition (with format option selected) and a home partition (and a swap if you want to). Hit the install now button to start the installation.

    The next few screens would be familiar to you. What matters is the screen where you are asked to create user and password.

    If you had a separate home partition previously and you want to use the same home directory, you MUST use the same username and password that you had before. Computer name doesn’t matter.

    Your struggle is almost over. You don’t have to do anything else other than waiting for the installation to finish.

    Once the installation is over, restart your system. You’ll have a new Linux distribution or version.

    In my case, I had the entire home directory of Linux Mint 19 as it is in the elementary OS. All the videos, pictures I had remained as it is. Isn’t that nice?

    Like what you read? Please share it with others.