Dual Boot: Linux and Windows

This weekend I did a few things to put my home computer setup in order:

First, I took the first steps towards having a robust backup system. I now have two 10TB SATA drives in RAID1 (mirroring each other), that are used as the backup location of a regularly run rsync command that backs up the primary drives. In the future, I will add a third drive to this RAID mirror for additional redundancy.

I plan on setting up a narrower encrypted cloud backup, and trading encrypted physical off-site backups with friends in order to spread the physical location risk.

Dual Boot
With my drives backed up, I set up my tower to dual boot into Linux and Windows 10. My primary home computer OS has been Ubuntu Mate (running 18.x at the moment), but I want Windows available for playing a few games. I played quite a bit of Bungie’s Destiny and Destiny 2 on Xbox, but I am looking forward to playing on my computer going forward. Since Bungie announced the ability to transfer your game progress from one system to the others (after Activision and Bungie parted ways), I won’t have to start from scratch and can make switch easily.

Here is how it works: I have Ubuntu Mate installed on one SSD. I have Window 10 installed on another. The boot record partition is on the same SSD as Windows. I used rEFInd in order to have a working boot loader, and this theme from Evan Purkhiser to make the boot selection screen look nice. I switched out the background for one of my favorite wallpapers, but the theme worked without any other modifications.

While there are many guides going about this different ways and can throw you off track such that you are wondering if you have all details of this process correct, the way that worked for me was having my working Linux installed on one SSD, then booting from a Windows 10 install USB drive, and completing a clean install of Windows on the other SSD. Then I booted back into Linux to install rEFInd and configure the custom theme.

The end result is a nice selection screen that allows me to pick Windows or Linux as my computer starts up.