New Laptop Partitioning for ArchLabs Dual Boot with Win 11

Hi
So my new T16 laptop arrived and I am a happy little soul :smiley:
Wow!

After getting Win 11 up and running (I decided to stick with Win 11) I am now about to re-partition the single 2TB SSD it has ready for AL install and data transfer, and am not 100% sure of the best way, so thought I would beg for some expert advice. Again. Sorry.

Below are detailed the partitions on my old ASUS lappy with its two SSD’s, and then what my T16 has now, and finally what I think I could re-partition to (sizes in brackets are current used space).

But:

  • Do I need / is it a good idea to have a separate Linux boot partition, or could I just use sda1 for both Win 11 and ArchLabs? The thing is I think I can remember having to extend my boot partition before when I had only one boot partition for win and AL and it was a big PITA.

ASUS

Main SSD (1TB)

  • sda1: Boot : 600 MiB
  • sda2: MS reserved : 128 MiB
  • sda3: Windows : 300 GiB (205 GiB)
  • sda4: Windows Recovery : 800 MiB
  • sda5: ArchLabs Swap : 10 GiB
  • sda6: Documents : 620 GiB (330 GiB)

Caddy SSD (1TB)

  • sdb1: LinuxBoot : 1 GiB
  • sdb2: ArchLabs : 100 GiB (27 GiB)
  • sdb3: Work : 530 GiB (340 GiB)
  • sdb4: LapTopMusic : 300 GiB (265 GiB)

T16 (2TB SSD)

Current

  • sda1: Boot : 260 MiB
  • sda2: Windows : 1905 GiB (60 GiB)
  • sda3: Windows Recovery : 2 GiB

Possible New

  • sda1: Boot : 260 MiB
  • sda2: Windows : 300 GiB (60 GiB)
  • sda3: Windows Recovery : 2 GiB
  • sda4: LinuxBoot : 1 GiB
  • sda5: ArchLabs : 100 GiB (27 GiB)
  • sda6: ArchLabs Swap: 10 GiB
  • sda7: Documents : 850 GiB (595 GiB) - Includes Music
  • sda8: Work : 644 GiB (340 GiB) - i.e. the rest of disk

I would like to offer an alternative option, I currently run Win 11 in a VM on my Linux box. Not sure if this will work for you but its a great way of keeping them separate from each other. I have not had any issues using this option for my use case but not sure of your use case.
If you do go this rout and since you will be re-installing the OEM version of Windows just make sure you have the OS registered with MS under a Microsoft account so you can then assign the license key under the VM, you have to choose this machine has a hardware change so it will let you use the license key to register Win 11 in the VM. In my case I have Win 11 Pro, I downloaded a ISO for Win 11 from MS site and resisted the license key via my Microsoft account which showed it listed.

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If you decide to go this rout here is a great how to install WIn 11 in VirtualBox, I used it when I did this.

How to install Microsoft Windows 11 on VirtualBox!

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That is most likely too small. You will run into the same issue that haxnet had when he set up dual boot.

You can see on the Asus you enlarged it to 600 MiB.

Is the Asus pretty much done as a work computer because of the keyboard? If so, pull that Caddy SSD out and put it in the T16 if you can. If you can’t, what @aandmsantos0910 is recommending may be your best bet. Best to keep the two operating systems as separated as possible.

The / partition is mandatory. haxnet ended up creating a separate efi partition for linux. Appears to be working for him.

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They are few megabytes, I think 512 MiB would be more appropriate.

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Thanks @aandmsantos0910
I actually have that solution as well on the ASUS AL installation - Windows (its 10, but anyway) in a VM.
It worked quite well, but for some of the stuff I was doing for work it just didnt cut it, and I reverted to using the Win dual boot

Thanks @Packrat
I had read somewhere that two EFI partitions, (I am now learning more terminology, they are called ESP’s?) were not a good idea but now I can take a look at @HaxNet posts to see how he did it (I did search, the posts - honest!)

Or I can just increase the size of me EFI Partition,
I managed it before, just have to remember where I wrote about it, could even have been on here - Stupid (Goldfish) Brain!

EDIT:
I really have no inkling of a memory of this post. My brain must be wired in a weird way, sorry.

So, why cant I just use a Linux live session USB and then use Gparted to make a bit of space between the EFI and Windows partitions and then just expand the EFI into that space?
It just seems too easy …

EDIT 2:
This post from Rod smith (who seems to be behind rEFInd, so must know a thing or two) seems to say that I should just make a second ESP for Linux, or maybe not :rofl:

How would you resize it @Judd?
I am thinking of just using the free version of AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard but am wary

Although I dont have a ‘microsoft reserved partition’ on the Win 11 like in Win 10, so maybe it will be easier?

Man that sounds like a really cool laptop. I’d wipe the drive and get linux wierd, but don’t listen to me. Nowadays with thinkpads there is not a lot of reason though for windows unless you need to install something on there and you can always reinstall (yours might be to new for that approach), the windows key is in the uefi bios usually. fwupd seems to be able to update the bios better than windows on my T15. Like I said don’t listen to me, works on this model.

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I was correct to be wary:

It seems there is a 16 MB partition between EFI and Win partitions (probably the reserved partition but I cant see it in Windows disk manager) which the AOMEI free tool cant move

► How to increase EFI partition in windows 11, 10, 8, 7?

If there is unallocated space on the right or left side of the EFI partition, you can use the “Resize Partition” feature to realize Windows 11 increase EFI partition size.

But …

:writing_hand: Note: If there is not any unallocated space on the hard drive or the unallocated space is not adjacent, you can upgrade to the Professional edition, which comes with the “Allocate Free Space”, allowing you to directly transfer free space from one partition to another only in 3 clicks.

But they have to make their money I guess

does yours have the i5 or 7?

Thanks @cog , its the best I have ever owned - love it to bits

If it wasnt for the need for Office for co-writing Journal papers and FEA and other software for work - I wouldnt have windows for sure

I have tried all the alternatives (and use LibreOffice at home for example, FreeCAD etc etc , but it just doesnt work as well / makes my life more complicated than just having Dual boot

Its got the 7,
In for a penny in for a pound - I cant afford either :rofl:

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I have a docker based onlyoffice solution I use. Seems to be super MS office compatible. Will share with you down the road. You got other fish to fry ATM.

Bugger, all my notes and posts seem to just tell me how to remake the EFI partition in case of corruption.

But I cant find out how I increased its size

Office 365 or Google Docs. Far, far away from any local drive.

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Apparently Gparted now can resize an MSR (MS reserved) partition :+1:

First, got my Windows key just in case

How to Find Your Windows 11 Product Key using CMD

  • Click Start icon, type cmd in the Search box, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt window, you can type the following command: wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey. Press Enter to execute the command and it will show your Windows 11 product key.

And I have disabled Secure boot, Fast Startup and Hibernation wasnt enabled

First boot from ArchLabs USB :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

Live session very helpful

Installed GParted

but …

Windows Partition is ‘bitlocker’

Sigh.

Now to disable that in Windows

OK, so I am now there with the partitioning :grin:

Now that Gparted can move that MSR partition, resizing the EFI partition is easy
I made it 1 Gib to be safe
Well, I tried to make it exactly 1024 GiB but due to alignments in GParted it ended up as 1022 MiB with 2 MiB unallocated after it (in case this is relevant to what is to come below)

So, now I have:

or in Windows (which still works - bonus!)

But …

Now running the ArchLabs installer (archlabs-2023.01.20-x86_64) from a USB stick gives me an error :frowning:

I set up the install with my well-tested setup:

But I get this error on the setting up GRUB bit (I presume):

error cannot find a GRUB drive for sda1.  Check your device.map

Anybody have any ideas, please?
Windows is still fine

Getting there, step by step :grin:

EDIT: I am not sure if this is related, but after a failed install, when I try to reboot from the AL stick it fails to boot with the following:

If I simply re-flash the ArchLabs iso to the USB stick (using gnome-disks on my ASUS) then it works again and I can boot from it

Is it something to do with no boot flag on my 1022 MiB EFI Partition?
But in the GParted screenshot in the post above above
It says ‘boot’



EDIT:
Ah, always learning, the boot flag is not there in the above because its GPT, but it is for parted (and hence GParted):


EDIT 2:
But on the ASUS the EFI isnt flagged as ‘hidden’:

Or, maybe I was stupidly selecting the USB AL installation stick EFI partition sda1 as the boot partition for my installation on the laptop (hence why I had to keep re-flashing the USB stick)

https://forum.archlabslinux.com/uploads/default/original/3X/6/1/6180126cdf3c61f54d3ac2850b34786af58b00b9.jpeg

Perhaps this should be moved to ‘make me laugh’ / or I should start a ‘tw@t of the year’ thread?

Oooohhhh Yeeeaaaahhh!
I made that fucking difficult or what!