Installation Advice Requested

I just installed Zorin 17, but I have run into MB issues unrelated to the OS. My MB manufacturer has indicated that they need to run a diagnostic tool before they issue an RMA number. That tool is windows only. If that is what they need better to do it now rather than later. Anyway, my question concerns the harddrive. I just have a single dedicated drive with Zorin 17 installed right now, formatted with ext4. I will install Win10 on another dedicated drive, but I do not want to lose this ext4 drive. I am not sure what will happen if I disconnect this drive and install another one. Not sure what will happen if I leave it and install Windows with it, and I am not sure I will recognize the old drive from the new drive when I install Windows. Ultimately, I will have a dedicated Win10 drive and another dedicated Zorin drive with a dual boot mainly into Zorin by default with the ability to boot into Windows if needed in the future.

I know some of you despise the W word, and I do too. Moving to Zorin is my first attempt to remove myself from MS completely, but it is necessary at this point.

Anyway, I do thank you for the help and advice.


If you have two drives, copy your important files over to one and install Windows on the other. When you are ready to install ZorinOS again, you'll have all your files safely stored away on the other drive. You will have to go over the process of installing whatever software you had before, a fresh start.

This is also a good excuse to create additional backup copies of your data, either to the cloud or simply another drive. Just saying because all hard drives do fail, eventually, so while you are juggling with this it's a good time to think about these things.


If you have a disk to spare, than disconnect your drive and replace it with the empty disk. Hopefully you can access your drives easy (so no Laptop or Apple). In this case it's safe to separate it from the MB and your WIndows installation wouldn't mess with your data (if you pick wrong drive). If you can't separate your drive easily i would backup it, than connect your 2nd drive under Linux and delete the partition table (all data gone!) from your empty drive, in this case it's easier to locate the disk in Windows installation cause there will be a empty disk and your Linux disk (which is full), always go for expert mode (or advanced options) under Windows installation, not the automatic default. Be aware if you install Windows with your Linux drive connected it mess with your bootloader (probably need to boot from live-usb and reinstall grub later). And after you go back to Linux i would check in BIOS under Boot if Secure Boot is disabled.

If you have no disk to spare and enough space on your Linux disk you can attempt to shrink the space to make enough Space for WIndows, but i wouldn't go for that cause it's riscy and can make a huge mess. But it's an valid option if you be very careful and have a backup.

Edit: In Windows installation with advacned options or expert mode - not quite sure about the name - you can select the disk where to install Windows a drive without a partition shown as empty with eg. 128GB/128GB free and you can see your other disk with no left space and some partitions as well. So it's easier to differentiate your disk under windows from max space or the number (and size) of partitions.

Is using a LiveUSB of Windows OS an option?

I think I need to clarify some things. I apologize if this should have been done sooner. I installed Zorin 17 a few weekends ago to place some distance between me and MS. I have just grown weary of the brand and at times feel a slave to it. After installing Zorin 17, the sound seems to have stopped. My MB folks said they could run a report on it and replace the MB, but it had to be Win 10. I think Linux is not supported. So I need to install Win10. That is what I am doing. I have a clean harddrive with nothing on it except Zorin 17. There are no other harddrives, so there is no threat of data loss. I have ordered a new harddrive for Win10, so I will do that install soon.

What concerns me is if I can determine the Zorin drive from the blank drive. I say that because with the Zorin install I had several drives installed initially and could not tell the difference. I know it sounds silly, but the clear identifiers just were not present. So I took all the drives out except for one.

Now, if I place the second drive in, will it be obvious which drive is the new one and which one is the Zorin drive. If not then my previous move to remove all except the one drive I want to use can be problematic. I have always believed that you cannot install an OS on a harddrive, remove it from the computer, and then reinstall it and have it work. I do not want to lose a harddrive.

Or is it a simple fix in that Zorin was installed on a single ext4 partition? That will obviously show up as an ext4 partition? Can Win10 even be installed on ext4?

Anyway, these are the questions I am unclear on. Sorry if this was unclear to begin with.


Yes, this is the simple identifier.

No, it cannot. While Zorin OS can read/write to NTFS, the reverse is not possible: Windows OS cannot be installed on, access or read/write to ext4.
The ext4 format is a jounraling system whereas NTFS is not. This is why NTFS fragments and needs to be defragged while ext4 does not fragment.

Windows does do a better job of clearly marking drives. They use a Drive Letter system that is easy to follow. The A: and B: drives were the primary and secondary floppy drives. C: was the Primary Hard Drive.
This convention remains today even though A and B drives are now ancient Roman artifacts.
GnuLinux handles this more logically but also looks more confusing.
The device is a device, so prefaced with /dev which you can ignore as self-evident.
The identifier sda depicts the primary drive with a numerical notation for the partition. For example the third partition of the primary HDD will be /sda3
The SDD's often identify the drive by its type:
/dev/nvme with the partition numrical /dev/nvme0n1

Once you get used to it, you find yourself reading it with as much clarity as as you did on Windows Drive letters and appreciative that GnuLinux shows more information (Partition notations) that you might need. Until then, you can post a screenshot of your Gparted or Disks window and we can help with identification.


I apologize for the delay in responding. At the moment I only have one drive install, and it is ext4. I think I will disconnect it, and install Win10. I am still not thrilled about it, but it is the only way the manufacturer will honor the warranty. So let me go down this road and get the MB fixed. I will definitely revisit this site once this has been resolved. Thanks for the help.

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