Anecdote of a nightmare - opening W11 corrupted my whole Zorin installation

Hi all, I would like to share a horror story with a new computer dual-booting Windows and Zorin... before I start I want to make clear that I am confident that what went wrong was NOT "Zorin's fault" (or even mine :sunglasses:) and that nobody on the Zorin team bears responsibility!

So I have bought a new 2024 Lenovo Legion Y9000X which is the Chinese market equivalent of the 2024 7i. A pretty high-end gaming laptop. I haven't used Linux desktop since 2014 and wanted to ease myself back into it with a dual boot setup. Windows 11 came with two data partitions, one for the system files and one blank file partition mounted at D:\ called 'Data'. I used that 'Data' partition to make an extra backup of my music collection while setting everything up, an important detail for later...

Anyway when installing Zorin I shrunk the Windows system partition to exactly 200GB (much more than enough for everything to fit) and replaced the D:\ 'Data' partition with Zorin on ext4. GRUB on the disk (this is an NVME by the way) and all is well in the world. Booting the machine gives me the option of Zorin or the Windows Boot Manager. For about five days I used Zorin exclusively, got everything set up, re-learned Linux desktop and so on. No issues.

Yesterday there was something I wanted to double-check on Windows 11 (compatibility between two different versions of FL Studio) so I booted it to check a couple things. While in Windows I noticed that D:\ was curiously still mounted, and I thought "Isn't that supposed to be gone? What was that again?" and clicked on it in Explorer. My half-transferred music folder was still there, and I got a gut feeling that something was very badly wrong. Anyway I had finished doing what I was doing so I shut down the machine, rebooted into Zorin, and after choosing it in the GRUB menu, kernel panic, something something corrupted, no init blah blah blah.

Boot repair didn't work. It kept asking me to add a software repo containing grub-efi to my Zorin install, which I obviously couldn't access, and why would I want to do that anyway if I'm repairing the boot manager, and besides that repo is already accessible from the live USB and I even installed the package for good measure. I tried the manual route in the terminal, but grub-install returned a one-line error reading "Segmentation fault." every single time. I decided to back up my home folder to my external hard drive and nuke everything. No Windows 11, because if it can happen once it can probably happen again, and just one big old partition for Zorin and nothing else. If I really need Windows I always have my old laptop and the VM option.

And in the epilogue of this tale, after reinstalling Zorin without a hitch and getting ready to transfer my personal files back into my home folder, I noticed that about an eighth of them had been directly corrupted, the telltale sign being strips of random colours through a bunch of my photos. Luckily other copies of everything important already exists and nothing of real value was lost besides time and a positive mental state.

My intuition tells me that this is either all Windows' fault or a fault of the brand-new (Copilot-enabled, for reference) Windows 11 installation style OOTB on new hardware like this, with wonky partitions all over everywhere and an incessant grabalicious claim to all data on the disk forever. More experienced and knowledgeable folk might be able to tell me whether this is right or wrong.

Moral of the story is, if you're going to dual-boot Windows 11 and Zorin on a fresh new gaming laptop, boot them alternatively after install to make sure that they're not destroying each other just by coexisting.

Hi there. I don't use Windows 11, but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. Firstly SSD firmware updates can only be achieved via Windows or Mac. The second issue is that I am wondering if the ssd, being NVME may have succumbed to partial cascading. I would also check on Lenovo forums to see if there have been similar issues. My youngest used an Asus notebook for Uni which I purchased for her and I never learned how it did this but Windows 10 filled up her Data drive (a separate HDD) with Windows auto snapshot facility, nothing to do with Acronis that I had also purchased for them. My other thought is you have had a corrupt partition table. The normal procedure for dual booting is to use Windows disc management to shrink C:\ to make space for GNU/Linux.

External guide:

https://www.xda-developers.com/dual-boot-windows-11-linux/

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