Question Optimal Storage Configuration for Dual Boot System?

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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I have 1x2TB 970 EVO Plus SSD (Windows 11), 1x2TB 980 Pro SSD (Games), and 1x2TB 850 EVO SSD (Data Storage) in my system currently. Suppose I wanted to set up a dual boot system with Windows 11 and Pop! OS installed, which of the below four configurations is the optimal configuration for dual booting with my storage setup?

Configuration #1
2TB 970 EVO Plus (1TB partition for Windows 11 and a 1TB partition for Pop! OS)
2TB 980 Pro (full 2TB for Windows games)
2TB 850 EVO (full 2TB for data storage - shared between both operating systems)

Configuration #2
2TB 980 Pro (200GB partition for Windows 11 and 1800GB partition for games)
2TB 970 EVO Plus (200GB partition for Pop! OS and 1800GB Home partition)
2TB 850 EVO (full 2TB for data storage - shared between both operating systems)

Configuration #3
2TB 980 Pro (1TB partition for Windows 11 and 1TB partition for Pop! OS)
2TB 970 EVO Plus (1TB partition for Windows games and 1TB Home partition)
2TB 850 EVO (full 2TB for data storage - shared between both operating systems)

Configuration #4
2TB 970 EVO Plus (1TB partition for Windows 11 and 1TB partition for Pop! OS)
2TB 980 Pro (1TB partition for Windows games and 1TB Home partition)
2TB 850 EVO (full 2TB for data storage - shared between both operating systems)

The 2TB 850 EVO will stay formatted in NTFS since it can be shared between both operating systems that way as long as I disable fast shutdown in Windows. I was planning on using Windows 11 strictly for gaming and Pop! OS for everything else.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I created a similar dual-boot system facing the same decisions you foresee in 2016, after building my Skylake system. I put Win7 and Win10 on the same boot drive, with separate volumes for each. And I split one data drive into two logical volumes for use by the respective OSes. For each OS, you have to manually assign the drive labels/letters for that OS and leave those related to the other OS without labels/letters. You can share drives used purely for data, although I experienced certain occasional glitches, and since it's been a while -- I forgot what they were. They weren't very important, though. Just be sure the drives shared between the OSes are purely for data only.

It then becomes a minor problem when you decide to delete one OS and keep the other, but nothing insurmountable -- I was able to do it without much trouble. You would obviously wish to reclaim disk space previously used exclusively by the deleted OS. Not such an easy mainstreamer project, but easy with the right utilities like Macrium, EaseUS, Mini-Tool and other options.

I had never heard of "POP!" before, but now understand that it's a Linux distro for which I can see some promise for my personal use. My best systems with 6th and 7th gen processors will either need to depend on registry hacks for Windows 11, or continue with Windows 10 for another 2-plus years before (a) replacing CPU/Mobo/RAM or (b) reconfiguration using something like POP!

I can even see a possibility of setting them up as dual-boot systems for either Win10/POP! or Win11/POP! And I'll be more comfortable with replacing the hardware to an ever-increasing degree as time passes before Win10 support ends.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Since migrating from Win7 to Win10+Linux in 2018 I've gone with the 'one OS per SSD' model (plus data HDD formatted NTFS), and haven't had any issues with it. Linux bootloader, no faffing around required (ie. it configured the boot loader correctly, I installed Win10 first then Linux).
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
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633
126
You should have a drive for each OS, or you risk Windows destroying your Linux bootloader. I don't have your space, so I'm risking it, but you don't have to.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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You should have a drive for each OS, or you risk Windows destroying your Linux bootloader. I don't have your space, so I'm risking it, but you don't have to.
I decided to go with Configuration #2, except I set aside 250GB each for the operating systems instead of 200GB and 1750GB instead of 1800GB for the Games and Home partition. Two EFI partitions (one on SSD where Windows is installed which was already created during the Windows install and one on the other SSD where POP! OS is installed).
 
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bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
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The 980 Pro should be your boot/OS drive with your programs on it. It's the fastest drive. Everything else should be on your other drives.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
17,413
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I decided to go with Configuration #2, except I set aside 250GB each for the operating systems instead of 200GB and 1750GB instead of 1800GB for the Games and Home partition. Two EFI partitions (one on SSD where Windows is installed which was already created during the Windows install and one on the other SSD where POP! OS is installed).
That should work well. Good luck with it!
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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The 980 Pro should be your boot/OS drive with your programs on it. It's the fastest drive. Everything else should be on your other drives.
I didn't buy a 2TB drive for just storing the OS and programs that's for sure. I specifically bought it for storing the OS, programs, and currently played games. I would have been fine with the 500GB or even the 250GB version and save myself money if I was storing just the OS and programs and using my 2TB 970 EVO plus for just storing just games and 2TB 850 EVO for data storage. Configuration #3 matches what you are telling me, as both OS's would be installed on the fastest SSD in my system with everything else on the other drives. Are you suggesting that Configuration #3 is the ideal configurartion for dual booting Windows and Linux?
 
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kschendel

Member
Aug 1, 2018
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Configuration #2 is probably the least trouble-prone in case Winders decides to do something wacky. It does bias the fastest drive towards Windows. Configuration #3 gives each OS a shot at your faster drive, but assumes that the OS's will play nice with one another - probably a reasonably safe bet until you go to reinstall one of them.

I'm not sure I would worry about it too much. My experience is that outside of moving multi-gigabyte files around, the real life speed advantage of the PCIe 4.0 drive is very small.
 

Matthewhoward

Junior Member
Mar 29, 2022
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My suggestion and how my daily driver runs is with 2 SSDs. Windows on one, PopOs on the other, and GRUB as the boot loader. Grub can be customized to have Windows as the default OS and a 5-second pause if you wish to load Linux.
My second choice is to partition a single drive into two separate drives, one formatted to NTFS and the other to EXT-4. Now install each OS to its intended partition, Windows first then Linux with GRUB installed in the Windows boot partition.
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
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For somebody just trying it out I would suggest getting the cheapest 128Gb ssd disconnecting all other drives and doing a completely independent installation of linux where you have to use the mobo/bios boot menu to get into linux.
Partitioning your drives always has the danger of losing all your data on that drive and that is not funny.
Also most people can't get comfortable with linux and end up not using it for long, disconnecting an ssd is much easier than deleting partitions and resizing them.
Grub can be customized to have Windows as the default OS and a 5-second pause if you wish to load Linux.
It has been years and years that windows boot loader (BCDstore) has implemented this as well. Ever since win 7 I believe. You can use easyBCD, which has a free version for non-companies, to put a linux entry in the windows boot menu.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,393
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In the first part of my PC-building experience -- 1984 to around 2010 -- choosing the number and size of storage devices was a more difficult decision. A year or so after building a system, I would regret getting the drive size in mega or gigabytes as I originally purchased it, wishing I'd chosen double the disk space.

I think I once paid $800 for a SCSI-II or -III drive of less than 10GB -- 20 or 30 years ago. For a 1TB Samsung 960 Pro, I paid at least $500 in 2017. When I built my latest server system about five years ago, the 3TB Hitachi HDDs were about $85 apiece. Today, 2.5" 15mm (thick) HDDs are now priced at over $100 each for 4 or 5TB.

Each of my twin systems (6th and 7th gen Intel respectively) have 1TB NVME boot-disk, 1 or 2TB "Program Files" and other files disk -- NVME or SATA SSD, 2TB to 4TB 2.5" HDD "DVR and Media", and 4 or 5TB Macrium hot-swap HDD backup disk.

I can see that I have way more disk space available than I need, and certainly more than I can use. But in the second "twin" iteration, it didn't cost very much. SK Hynix "Gold" P31 NVMEs might cost $130. I've got spare drives for the 2.5" hot-swap bays, and I used two 1TB SK Hynix NVME drives to build USB external backup drives with the INEO aluminum "heatsink" enclosures. Other than moving up to a later-generation 7,000 MB/s NVME boot disk, I can just redeploy all the previous drives when I build a "new" system.

Clearing out my parts locker, I find an IDE 165GB drive installed in a USB 2.0 aluminum enclosure, 500GB and 1TB 3.5" "bare-drive" HDDs, and a couple 200GB IDE-to-USB drives. I've converted some of the USB 2.0 external enclosures to SATA-III, using the same internal power transformer. Two of those are more than I need. I'm changing up to smaller, lighter devices. My server has a 12TB drive-pool, and about 2/3 of it is still free space, so the next NAS or server I build will probably deploy no more than four 2TB NVME drives. By then, I expect the price to drop on the earlier-gen NVMEs or NVMEs in general. In the meantime, I'll just keep using the 3.5" drive-pool until they either die, or I conclude that I got my money's-worth from them. I'd say I've almost done that as a capital budgeting exercise: $80 x 4 = $320 five years ago, or ~ $65/annum with the hardware running almost continuously.
 

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