How to i run Zorin OS on a separate SSD while I use the other one for windows

I am considering getting Zorin OS lite/core for my low end PC and I’m wondering if I can run Zorin OS on a SSD, while the other one will be used for Windows 10

Welcome to the Community!

I don't know if this would help you, but I have done this and it is working through reboots and updates to Window$. I mention the updates part because l've run into the issue quite a few times where a dual-boot on a single SSD will result in a broken Linux install which results in a need to perform a rescue.

As you can see below: I have my Window$ install on /dev/nvme0n1 with its various system partitions and a Storage2 partition that I use for saving/swapping files between Linux/Window$.

This image shows the other SSD on mount point /dev/nvme1n1: with the ZorinOS system partitions. Note: the EFI System Partition @ /boot/efi is used for booting up ZorinOS and will also hold the necessary code to probe for a Window$ installation; ultimately allowing you to choose one or the other upon booting up your machine. The / partition is where the ZorinOS filesystem is located. I also have a Storage partition on this SSD as you might notice.

This is using GParted.

Window$ should be installed first.

The key takeaway here is that I made sure to keep the Window$ boot on the first SSD and the Linux boot on the other.
When you install Linux on your second SSD, you can choose where you want to install it by specifying/finding the mount point that is not the SSD with Window$ partitions.

During installation of Linux, at the time of dividing your SSD into partitions or asking you where you want to install Linux, take a pause and think. Your devices might be named /dev/sda(SSD#1) and /dev/sdb(SSD#2), be careful enough to select /dev/sdb. Because device /dev/sda has Window$ already installed. In my case, my block devices(SSD's) weren't identified using the naming convention others might see, like "sda" and "sdb", but rather "nvme0n1" and "nvme1n1"; SSD#1 and SSD#2 respectively.

Entering lsblk -o NAME,SIZE /dev/nvme0n1 /dev/nvme1n1 into Terminal, I get the following:

NAME          SIZE
nvme1n1       1.8T
├─nvme1n1p1   513M
├─nvme1n1p2 327.1G
└─nvme1n1p3   1.5T
nvme0n1       1.8T
├─nvme0n1p1   260M
├─nvme0n1p2    16M
├─nvme0n1p3 166.3G
├─nvme0n1p4     1G
├─nvme0n1p5   1.7T
└─nvme0n1p6   527M

You can see how the Terminal output above kind-of mirrors what I showed you in the screenshots of my GParted window.

Also, if I remember specifics correctly, when you install Linux on your second SSD in this way, your Grand Unified Bootloader (GRUB) will still have access to both SSD's and will be able to see where Window$ is located, in this case your first SSD. It will also be able to help list the installations in the EFI/GRUB boot menu. These factors are what make the Linux install persist through multiple reboots with updates to the Window$ side of things; as M$ likes to hijack any part of your machine they can.

I hope this helps and if you ever get lost or disheartened that things may not look or feel the same for you, a quick search in your favorite provider would undoubtedly provide you with posts on other forums/websites which you can use for reference. The key with this, is that you just need to take a pause and think about how you can ask or frame your search query with the most direct or simplified syntax, while avoiding as many filler words as possible. For instance: "dual boot windows and linux separate SSDs"


I tried to do install a copy of windows on my Hard drive while my main zorin was installed in my ssd. Even though I selected the drive as my hard drive, windows replaced my Zorin bootloader with it's own thing and even my zorin ended up being broken. Had to go through a LOT of googling and experimenting to restore my grub bootloader and being able to load into my zorin.
If you want to keep things simple, maybe physically disconnect the ssd and then install windows? I haven't tried this yet so can't say for sure if it will work.

I can't, im using a laptop.

There is a tutorial on this (either same drive or different), you will want to create the efi partition for grub and choose the second drive (or your zorin installation, listed as Ubuntu in the bios) as your default boot device. The tutorial is [HOW TO] Partition & Install Zorin 16. Read through it carefully before proceeding. Understand what it is you are doing and if you have any questions, feel free to start another thread. Take your time and make sure you make your selections on each screen carefully. It's not something to hurry through.

While laptops seem sealed and not accessible, every laptop, like a desktop, can be opened (and should be to clean it out twice a year) for maintenance and part replacement. Look up your model and how to open the case. Take your time, you will break the housing if you're not careful. If it's not opening easily, you missed a screw.

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Thank you, i got Zorin OS 16.2 lite working on my laptop with windows still intact!

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