[HELP]: Dual-boot Windows 11/ZorinOS w/ Shared "Apps" and/or "Files" Partitions

Hi all, need some support, please. :pray:t2:

Now that I'm getting used to ZorinOS and might end up using it as my main daily driver in a few days/a week, I'd like to know if it's possible to dual-boot Windows 11 & ZorinOS - under secure-boot - using the GPT/UEFI partition table - with shared "apps" and/or "files" partitions between both OSes?

The reason I want to know if this is possible is because my HP Spectre x360 laptop (early 2019) has a 256 GB SSD. I need to optimize the hard drive space to run both OSes just in case I can't get all apps I need to use for work running on ZorinOS (other alternative would be to possibly run Android apps in ZorinOS, completely replacing Windows 11).

Let's assume that I'm going to completely wipe Windows 11 from my internal SSD and that I'll be starting installation of both OSes from scratch.

If this would be possible, how would I set this up - and, what amount of hard drive space should I allocate for all partitions on each OS?

Thank you very much. :pray:t2:

Currently, I'm using a 1 TB Portable SSD (Portable USB Flashdrive) to boot ZorinOS, so I can easily use it as my daily driver. I

I'd happily skip the dual-boot instead since my internal hard-drive is only 256 GBs, uninstall Windows 11, and run purely ZorinOS on my internal hard-drive by itself - but, at this moment, I'm running into a few caveats that are keeping me from making the full switch at the moment - such as:

*1. inability to get Arc for Windows/Mac (from The Browser Company) running through Windows App Support, Wine, or Bottles - which is a minor issue since I could revert back to using Microsoft Edge for Linux if needed, *
2. inability to install & run Microsoft Teams, WeCom, and WeChat, and
3. inability to install & run Microsoft 365 Personal (though, I've heard that SoftMaker NX is the best alternative on Linux, with OnlyOffice coming in 2nd place).

For caveat #2 (the biggest issue at the moment), I was thinking that - if only I could get multiple Android apps to work with ZorinOS - then, I could use the Microsoft Teams, WeCom, and WeChat mobile apps from within Linux for my work communication.

Other than that, while Arc for Windows/Mac & Microsoft 365 Personal would be a grand preference, it's not that big of an issue since there's viable alternatives.

I'm planning on using Wayland instead of X11 - so, I wonder if being able to use Android apps from within ZorinOS is a possibility without any luck in performance? I know that I've been recommended Anbox for this - but, that's based on what people have heard about it (without them actually trying it out).

This way, since I have a small hard-drive anyways, I could just use ZorinOS as my daily driver, uninstall Windows 11, and be able to continue to use my computer for work.

With shared Apps I don't know but when you want to move Files in a Dual Boot System, you could simply make thatwith Nautilus. Open Nautilus and go on the left side to ''Other Places'':

And then You get a List with the Linux System (the first Option) and then it should show You Windows:


And there You can click on and navigate to Your Folders. Maybe visual not very ... attractive but functional I think.

You plan to set up a Dual-Boot system, You don't have to delete Windows. You simply install Zorin on the same SSD. The Problem could be the Size of 256GB. There is the Question: How much Disc space is now used? Theoretically you could split the Space but would be the Half of it enough for each System and Your Data?

For the whole Stuff with this Android and Microsoft Sotware I can't help You, sorry.

For Office: I tested OnlyOffice and it was a good Program. With Microsoft Documents it works better that LibreOffice I would think.

Softmaker Office offers a Free Version, too:

It has less Functions than the Paid Version, yes. But to try before buy it, it could be enough I guess.

@Ponce-De-Leon , thank you very much; yes, I think I'll skip the dual-boot setup considering my drive space.

I guess the best thing I could do is either fully move to Linux - or, keep Linux on my USB flashdrive and keep Windows on my internal SSD.

I've connected with a few others who have given me suggestions on how to get Android apps working through "Waydroid" - as well as suggestions on how to get better Windows app integration through "Crossover" - as they suggested that it's better than Wine or Bottles - but apparently "Crossover" is for purchase.

I'll test it out and decide whether to fully move to Linux.

Talking about that, though: if I decide to migrate to Linux as my daily driver on my internal SSD - but, (1) ever have issues with the distro and need to re-install and/or (2) want to have the option of reverting back to Windows 11 - then, is there a way to install both the Linux distro installer and the Windows 11 installer on my USB flashdrive at the same time and make them both bootable?

I don't know your Machine and so not Your Configuration, but an Option would be to take a 2nd SSD and build that into Your Machine and use that for Linux and let Your Win11 Drive like it is. But I think, when You would have the Possibility to do that, You would have done that.

Simply a bigger SSD would be a Solution, too. But then You would have to install ans set up Win11 AND Linux what would be time-consuming work.

When You want to reinstall Win11 on Your internal SSD because Zorin doesn't work for You this wouldn't be a Problem. The Windows Install Process would delete Your Drive and install Windows on it.

Put both on Your external Drive ... an interesting Experiment I must say. But I can't say if this would work. It would begin with that the windows Installer would detect the external Drive and would accept it as Installation Medium. But in the case that it works, I think it would be good to install Win11 first and then the Linux System. It is that Way a bit easier I think.

@Ponce-De-Leon , leaving the other SSD/additional SSD out (since I'm not able to physically do that at the time being due to finances) - what would be a solution then?

I think that - as long as I can partition my USB Flashdrive to include 2 installers (one for Windows 11, and one for ZorinOS) - both bootable - then, it won't be a problem to simply either (1) re-install Windows 11 back to my internal SSD, and/or (2) install both OSes onto my internal SSD.

So, then the plan would be to get both installers onto my USB Flashdrive and bootable - though, I have no idea how I'd do that - nor, if it would work. Any help would be fully-appreciated.

You could pack both on Your 256GB SSD. But there is the Question if the Space is enough for both Systems. How much Space Your Win11 System alone on Your Drive have, You do know. I mean if You have the Space on it, You can simply make a dual Boot.

When you have a bootable Device, you can install Win11 every Time back on Your internal Drive. But as a bootable Drive I would recommend a USB Stick and not a whole external SSD.

To create a bootable Stick with more that one System on it, I've read here in the Forum that Ventoy should be a good Tool for it. I never used it so I have no Experience with that.

The only Multiboot Tool what I know is YUMI:

I used it a couple Times in the Past and it was okay. Don't looked to good but works. But I'm using now only one System Sticks. So, I mostly run Rufus or BalenaEtcher. There are not for Multiboot Sticks.

I give a big thumbs up for Ventoy.

@Ponce-De-Leon and @Freeway , I might try Ventoy then for a multi-bootable USB flashdrive with Windows 11 & Linux - still testing Linux, though.

Is Ventoy easy to run?

Thank you all for your support.