Dual-boot: OLD Zorin / NEW Zorin

I am running Zorin 12.4 32-bit as my one and only operating system. I uploaded a picture of my partitions as depicted by the “disks” system tool. I seek to add a secondary operating system, Zorin 15 64-bit to migrate to at my leisure to keep up with the times. As you can see, I have /home in the same partition as root. With that simple uploaded picture as a starting point, I need to know the conceptual layout of what it will look like, and how I go about getting there.


The issue with this post really revolves around partitions, GParted and “installation type”, but would like, if I may, first seek clarification about the changes in encryption since Zorin 12. My home directory is encrypted under an old method used in the times of Ubuntu 16.04 when the Zorin installation, if I recall, offered the option to encrypt the home directory. I saw somewhere that the Zorin 15 installation asks if you want to encrypt the new ENTIRE installation. If I recall, it used to offer the ability to just encrypt the home directory, as opposed to this new full disk encryption.

I would like to be able to access the contents of /home through both installations, mutually and interchangeably, but can foresee having difficulty if not planned properly, much as the user posting in https://askubuntu.com/questions/1024745/ubuntu-17-10-to-18-04-encrypted-home who later installed ecryptfs-utils just to even login. Suggestions anyone?

So i’m a bit confused about how to go about partitioning this secondary operating system, Zorin 15 64-bit to run alongside my current, solitary Zorin 12 32-bit. Page 95 of Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15 speaks of preparing a Zorin installation secondary to Windows, not another Zorin distribution, which is what I’m doing. It talks about setting up an extended partition. (All due respect to the writer of that unofficial manual - this situation wasn’t what was in mind for writing that). From other articles and videos I’ve seen, I am getting more of the impression that I want to go into GParted and shrink my old, current Zorin 12 to make room for unallocated space, as opposed to making an extended partition.

Page 95 of Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15 then goes on to say, “Within the extended partition create a swap area at the END of
the extended partition equal to the amount of physical memory (RAM) present in your system”. Is the swap area that I already have in the uploaded picture not adequate?

Page 95 of Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15 then suggests, “at the BEGINNING of the extended partition create a /boot
partition of 512 Mb formatted to ext4”. I understand that unofficial manual was written with an entirely different situation in mind, that of people migrating from Windows looking for a Windows/Zorin dual-boot system, as opposed to my Zorin/Zorin dual boot system. Would my secondary Zorin 15 install “something else” [?] installation not somehow or another take over the GRUB boot menu from the original, solitary Zorin installation?

Would the needed new partitions be “primary partitions” or “logical partitions” & what sizes and mount points?

I will leave out the issue of whether or not to have a seperate /home partition, because this is already confusing, but only because I don’t have the needed direction yet. Please bear in mind that I only did a dual boot installation once before, and that was Windows/Zorin. There are tons of literature about Windows/Ubuntu dual-boot installations, but had a hard time finding simple information on this. I don’t know if a “something else” type installation is needed for this, or if I need to install somehow to unallocated space, as opposed to an extended partition. I dunno, maybe there are already links somewhere that I could be referred to. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

As most people are likely to migrate to Zorin via Windows, that will be the example generally used for that process.
You can see on here that a few have installed Zorin dual-boot regime on Apple Mac. So it is my understanding that instead of Windows/Zorin dual-boot, you can do the same for “OtherOS”/Zorin dual-boot. I think you would have to define separate swap partition for your second OS, but others here maybe better qualified to confirm that.
I do not use drive or partition encryption on Zorin, so cannot offer any advice on that subject.

I would edit the original post if I could, as to not discurage future readers with my confusion. (I figured out the encryption aspect, so I won’t detour this discussion with that). I presume that when you say “OtherOS”/Zorin dual-boot, you pointing toward the “something else” installation type. This forum generally cites that “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15”.

For my particular Non-windows (nor Mac) Zorin/Zorin purpose, I would first get a Live CD/USB and shrink my only Zorin partition with GParted to make unallocated space.

Then I would somewhat be following that “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15”. To follow that manual, in other words and for the sake of simplicity there are two basic partitioning steps I would seek to get done:

  1. Make a primary EXT4 partition for root. I will not have a separate /home partition, therefore the size of this root partition will be quite expansive to keep room for all of the documents ending up in the /home directory within /root.

  2. That above root partition is to be followed by an Extended Partition. I then need to maneuver around GParted to put a “swap area”, twice the size of physical RAM, at the END of this here Extended Partition. (This part is very vauge; Does one follow the Extended Partition with a “swap area” OR superimpose the “swap area” into/onto the end of the Extended Partition (is that even possible & if so, how?). Also, I presume the Extended Partition size is to end up the same size as the “swap area”. My humble two cents is that the “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15” could use clarification on this. I suppose what has me perplexed by this is, in that picture that I uploaded at the beginning of this thread, that Extended Partition box is conceptually stacked on top of that equally-sized “swap Area”, SO I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GET IT TO LOOK LIKE THAT.

Correct me if I’m wrong, the “something else” option dumps me into GParted. So I referred to https://www.lifewire.com/use-gparted-to-partition-hard-drive-2205693 (scroll halfway down to “How to Create New Partitions” to get a preview of this maneuvering around GParted. With all due respect, the “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15” provides no guidance on this GParted maneuvering about to create new partitions. That lifewire link explains that you need unallocated space to create a new partition. The lifewire link also explains that, “If you intend to create two partitions (for example, a root and a swap partition), reduce the size to allow for creating the second partition”. Fair enough. That Gparted box gives fields for “free space preceding” and “free space following”, so I guess that accomodates the manevering about that’s required (though I’m still confused about how that Extended Partition ended up stacked on top of that “swap area” in that uploaded picture at the beginning of this thread, if that’s what I’m trying to get done by a second Zorin Linux installation).

NOW THE PART THAT HAS ME GRAVELY CONCERNED: My understanding is that the second Linux installation takes over the GRUB menu from the original Linux installation. If I don’t know how to do this right, I WON’T BE ABLE TO GET TO A FUNCTIONAL GRUB MENU TO ACCESS MY HARD DRIVE. <----- <------

The only guidance I could get here was that “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15”, which is vauge on the specifics of maneuvering around to do this.

I can understand if people don’t want to give me misdirection on this, but maybe some clarification on the above points of confusion or a link would help.

From the bottom of https://zorinos.com/help/install-zorin-os/
I never saw a screenshot of what that actually looks like in the ACTUAL Zorin 15.3 Installation. If the idea is to simply choose the first option, then I wouldn’t even have any interaction with a “something else” installation, then I’m good-to-go, GRUB menu and all.

However, that notion doesn’t seem to line up with that “Unofficial Manual for Zorin 15”.

If it’s as simple as choosing the FIRST option from the end of https://zorinos.com/help/install-zorin-os/ (No actual Zorin 15.3 Installation screenshot),


I don’t know what the next prompts are precisely, but it says that you will be choosing how much space to allocate for this new installation.


If I can just do that, and not be involved with a “something else” installation, AND be guarantted to get a working GRUB menu to boot my systems with if I do it correctly, why can’t I do that??

What are the prompts that follow 'Select the "Install Zorin alongside [your other operating system] " option and press “Next” ', since no screenshots are provided?

Is that a plausible approach, letting the installer do the heavy lifting, or is that too simplistic?

I have an old PC where I’ve installed 15.3 of Core, Lite, Education and Ultimate.

I had to install each version one at a time and reboot into each OS, before installing the next, and installed refind.

If I left it up to GRUB I could only ever see the last installed Zorin OS.

If I forgot to boot into the OS, with GRUB, before installing the next Zorin OS, I found it easier to just reinstall again and remember to install refind.

I found SOME guidance. I read somewhere that with system not considering free space to exist until it’s partitioned, by tagging a partition as an extended partition, you can create logical partitions (such as swap areas) WITHIN it.

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/23037/why-must-swap-partition-be-nested-when-created-as-an-extended-partition shed some light on this, stating that “An extended partition is a container for logical partitions”. (Such as swap areas).

It looks like the person that posted the thread created a new swap partition as an extended partition. I saw somewhere that GParted allows you to do that. The person that posted the thread sought an understanding why the swap area had to be a nested child.

I’m still hoping that somebody can answer my concern as to specific prompts and steps to take. Otherwise, I’d feel uncomfortable about, er hem, losing the GRUB menu and ability to boot.

I ordered an other internal hard drive this morning, but it won’t get shipped for weeks, so I can still cancel it from Amazon. I figured adding a second hard drive would be a straightforward way to be able to boot into either installation.

However, I would really appreciate it if somebody could answer my concern over loss of GRUB menu, specifically about specific prompts and steps to take. Not only will it save me the money of an unneeded hard drive, but I would feel better about the future of Zorin, in general, if there was more community support. All the effort that goes into the totality of the Zorin endeavor becomes futile if nobody is able to assist.

Oh, I’m sorry there, jgordon - our posts crossed & I just saw your response just now.

I looked at https://gist.github.com/Brainiarc7/dfff8321b94fd666eb64eda0382f6813 about refind, and it seems pretty darned complicated, at least at first glance.

Since, as you put it, “If I left it up to GRUB I could only ever see the last installed Zorin OS”, if anything went wrong doing this, I’d have nobody but myself to blame.

I know that this wasn’t a normal situation I was asking about, but I’m glad I was cautious and sought help FIRST, rather than posting later, crying that my system’s broke.

I got a decent deal on a new hard drive from Cyber Monday, so I think I’ll just go that route. That way, I can hopefully just let my BIOS act as my ““GRUB”” of sorts, in that the BIOS should let me chose which disk/operating-system I’m loading.

refind won’t work here because I do not have a UFEI system.

There’s a way to make custom GRUB menus by editing /etc/grub.d/40_custom outlined in https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/CustomMenus but I don’t have the appetite for the risk of tampering with something like that which I’m not fluent in, so for me it be akin to wiring up 220 volt electrical connection when I’m unsure of which are the correct wires.

With my new internal hard drive to house the second Zorin installation and with each drive having its own bootloader, BIOS will determine which one of the two gets to run. It may be cumbersome, but it’s safe.

I’m probably going to have to open the computer box at least a second time to get the internal hard drives’ physical jumper settings correct.

I’m not sure I want a master-slave relationship between the two drives (Zorin 12 hard drive & Zorin 15 hard drive). It would be a bonus to be able to mount & unmount the other drive once in the opposite operating system to transfer documents.

QUESTION: Don’t I want to set the jumper settings such that each drive is a stand-alone drive, then let the BIOS make the decision as to which to load?