Bypass Installing Grub?

Is it possible to install Zorin 16 without installing Grub and instead use the Windows Bootloader? I had a similar setup for Pop!_OS (which I am trying to replicate), where I would by default launch into Windows, but if I wanted to boot into Pop, I pressed F12 on boot and selected Pop from the default bootloader. Can this be done?

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Short Answer: Yes
BUT I highly advise you to not do it! Pls don't

You will mess up your Windows stuff. Oh, you still want to do it -sigh :roll_eyes: You can use EasyBCD to try to do it. IF YOU CAN PLS DON'T DO IT, PLS DON'T!

Grub is perfectly fine, what do you not like about Grub. You do know you can change how it looks. Is Grub causing any issues? If Grub is causing any problems, please ask here.

Why will it mess up my windows stuff? As mentioned I previously used Pop!_OS without GRUB. I don't have a major problem with GRUB, I just prefer the system I had before, Booting into windows by default and then if I wanted to boot into Pop, I selected it in the windows boot menu. Now, If I want to boot into Zorin, I go to the windows menu, then choose Zorin from that list, which then boots into Grub, not directly into Zorin.

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Because Pop1_OS and Zorin are both Ubuntu-based distros, you should be able to replicate your Pop!_OS boot setup, if you can remember what you did with Pop!_OS.

If you plan to use "dual boot, single drive" (that is, installing both Windows and Zorin on the same drive), I've never done it successfully.

If you plan to use "dual boot, dual drive" (that is, installing Windows on one drive and Zorin on the other), I have done that in the past successfully with Zorin, with the result (Windows default, F12 to select Zorin) you describe.

I installed Windows on the first drive, then removed (physically remove if an M.2 or unplug the cable if an SSD/HHD) that drive and installed Zorin on the other drive. Because neither operating system was present when the other was installed, the two operating systems did not "see" the other during installation, and each installed with separate bootloaders -- Windows Boot Manager for Windows on one drive, and Grub for Zorin (identified as Ubuntu, as I recall) on the other.

When that was done, I went into BIOS (F2) and set the boot order to Windows Boot Manager (primary) and Ubuntu (secondary). Windows booted from Windows Boot Manager unless I intervened with F12, and when I did, I could select Ubuntu, which booted Zorin from Grub.


Thank you, this is pretty much what I am after. Pop seems to have done something different, which looked like either there was no Grub, or they just made it seem that way? Selecting Pop from the Windows boot loader just launched straight to Pop.

My set up is dual boot dual drive (Although the drive that Zorin will be on also has an NTFS data partition shared between both OSes). Due to some miscommunication with another forum member, my initial install made a bit of a mess of things. Grub on my windows dribe boot partition, Pop! boot option on other drive despite Pop! not being present. I've just managed to get back to square one. Windows drive with just windows stuff, Second drive with Data partition and the remaining space unallocated.

Going to give installation another go.

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Good luck. I ran the "dual boot, duel drive" configuration with Zorin for about a month last April, but I ran a "dual boot, duel drive" configuration with Solus OS between 2017-2019 before dedicating a separate computer to Solus.

I had no problems with Solus (which does not use the Grub bootloader) but I kind of half-remember that with Zorin, the Grub bootloader unpredictably reset the BIOS boot order so that Grub was primary. I only half-remember, though, and I might be remembering "Greedy Grub" from a different installation.

You might check the Ubuntu forums for hints before you try again. I remember an article titled something like "How to install Windows and Ubuntu on different drives" that might offer some insight.

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Spoke too soon, can't seem to purge the 'ubuntu' boot option from BIOS. Have followed 2 sets of instructions that both seem to be successful. One uses Windows command prompt, the other was with terminal running off zorin USB. They both run as intended, but then when I reboot there it is again!

Any tips on clearing this properly?

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It sounds like Pop boot was handled by the Windows bootloader. I've never had any experience with that at all ...

I've got a long day ahead of me at the museum, stringing network cabling underground, but I'm curious and might dig around tonight or tomorrow.

You might also wait an hour or two before proceeding to see if others, more experienced than I am with dual boot, might have some advice.


I have a friend who had this problem with "Greedy Grub". Like the mushroom that ate New Jersey, Grub just refused to die, and it aggravated him enough that he was spewing about it at the museum. I listened with half an ear. I'll be seeing him in an hour or so when we get to the museum. I'll ask him how he solved it.

Are you using a BIOS that allows you to removed bootloaders? My Dell computers all permit that. If your BIOS does the same, you might try simply eradicating Grub from that direction. I think that is what I did when I cut away from dual-booting Zorin.

@Aravisian, you are as experienced with Linux as anybody I know. Anything to help @cmactavish resolve this?

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The timing is fascinating as I was typing the following post when this one popped up:

The short version is: Remove unused kernels and their initramfs files and vmlinux files.

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Can't seem to find anything in my BIOS that lets me directly remove them.

Here's what I have tried so far
Windows Command Prompt:
bcdedit /delete {identifier}
Completes successfully

Running Windows recovery mode locally and off a windows recovery USB in the command prompt:
bootrec /fixmbr
Completes successfully
bootrec /fixboot
Access is denied

In terminal while running off the Zorin USB:
sudo efibootmgr -b -B
Completes successfully.

Am going to down tools for the evening (GMT+10) and will check in again in the morning.

Thanks for your help so far.

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Thanks! Currently don't have anything but windows installed. Could I do this from Zorin USB? Want to start with a clean slate before I try setup the dual boot again.

Will have a go in the morning.

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Well, in this case, none of the above would help you.
There is an entry in the efi partition that remains and with no other OS installed, nothing left to tell it to change what is there.

In which case, your best bet is through Windows (as you have been doing) or through the BIOS.
You are far more qualified than I am to navigate Windows.

On this one, did you

sudo apt install efibootmgr

sudo modprobe efivars

Prior to running the above command? If so, my comments above are all I got...

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I did not do those second two. The instructions I was following mentioned the install, but only if it initially failed, which it didn't. I have it a go and install was unnecessary as it was already running latest. Modprobe efivars didn't return anything. Ran the main line again and looks like it's successful, but still in BIOS when I restart.

My next step is to reinstall Zorin, with an EFI, main and swap partition. And then if I can get that working, maybe then I can try your other suggestion.

Thanks for all the help/suggestions so far.