Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Dual-Boot Ubuntu and Windows 10 with SSD and HDD: Where to Install /home?

Ubuntu 19

In this article, we will delve into the process of setting up a dual-boot system with Ubuntu and Windows 10 on a computer with both SSD and HDD drives. A key decision in this setup is where to install the /home directory. We will explore two main solutions to this question and provide step-by-step guides for each.

Understanding the /home Directory

In Ubuntu, the /home directory is where all user files and folders are stored. It’s similar to the Users folder in Windows. When setting up a dual-boot system, you have the option to place this directory on the SSD or the HDD.

Solution 1: Install /home on the SSD

This solution involves installing both the root / and /home directories on the SSD. This allows you to take advantage of the faster read/write speeds of the SSD for most I/O operations.

Step 1: Install Ubuntu on the SSD

During the Ubuntu installation process, choose to install Ubuntu alongside Windows Boot Manager. This will automatically install the / and /home directories on the SSD.

Step 2: Create a Partition on the HDD

Next, create a separate partition on the HDD for your larger files such as Music, Pictures, and Videos. You can do this using the fdisk command in Ubuntu:

sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

In this command, /dev/sdb is the device name of your HDD. This may vary depending on your system configuration.

Step 3: Mount the HDD Partition

Mount the new HDD partition to a mount point in your file system. For example, you could mount it to /mnt/myhdd:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/myhdd

Here, /dev/sdb1 is the partition you just created. Replace this with the actual partition name in your system.

Step 4: Create Symbolic Links

Now, remove the empty Music, Pictures, and Videos folders in your /home directory and create symbolic links to the corresponding folders on the HDD:

rm -r ~/Music
ln -s /mnt/myhdd/Music ~/Music

Repeat these commands for the Pictures and Videos folders.

Solution 2: Install /home on the HDD

This solution involves creating a separate /home partition on the HDD during the Ubuntu installation process. This keeps your personal files and settings separate from the operating system on the SSD.

Step 1: Manual Partitioning During Installation

During the Ubuntu installation process, choose the “Something else” option when asked about installation type. This will allow you to manually partition your drives.

Step 2: Create a Swap Partition

Create a swap partition on the SSD. The swap partition is used as virtual memory by Ubuntu. A rule of thumb is to make the swap partition twice the size of your RAM, but a 4GB swap partition is usually sufficient.

Step 3: Create Root and Home Partitions

Next, create a root / partition on the SSD and a /home partition on the HDD. The root partition should be at least 20GB. The /home partition can take up the rest of the space on your HDD.

Step 4: Complete the Installation

Follow the rest of the prompts to complete the Ubuntu installation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you have two main options for the /home directory when setting up a dual-boot system with Ubuntu and Windows 10 on an SSD and HDD:

  1. Install /home on the SSD along with the root directory and create symbolic links to specific folders on the HDD.
  2. Create a separate /home partition on the HDD during the Ubuntu installation process.

Consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing the solution that best suits you.

Can I install Ubuntu and Windows 10 on separate drives?

Yes, you can install Ubuntu and Windows 10 on separate drives. In fact, it is a common practice for dual-boot systems.

Can I install Ubuntu on an HDD instead of an SSD?

Yes, you can install Ubuntu on an HDD instead of an SSD. However, keep in mind that the performance may not be as fast as it would be on an SSD.

How do I choose which drive to boot from in a dual-boot system?

During the boot process, you will see a screen that allows you to select the operating system you want to boot into. Use the arrow keys to navigate and press Enter to select your desired operating system.

Can I access files from my Windows partition while using Ubuntu?

Yes, you can access files from your Windows partition while using Ubuntu. Ubuntu can read and write to NTFS partitions, which is the file system used by Windows.

Can I resize the partitions after the installation?

Yes, you can resize the partitions after the installation. Ubuntu provides tools like GParted that allow you to resize partitions without losing data. However, it is always recommended to backup your important files before making any changes to the partition layout.

Can I uninstall Ubuntu and keep Windows 10?

Yes, you can uninstall Ubuntu and keep Windows 10. To do this, you will need to remove the Ubuntu partitions using a partitioning tool like GParted and then fix the Windows boot loader using the Windows recovery environment.

Can I install other Linux distributions instead of Ubuntu?

Yes, you can install other Linux distributions instead of Ubuntu. The process may vary slightly depending on the distribution, but the general concept of dual-booting remains the same.

Will installing Ubuntu on my computer affect my Windows files?

Installing Ubuntu on a separate drive or partition should not affect your Windows files. However, it is always recommended to backup your important files before making any changes to the system.

Can I update Ubuntu and Windows independently in a dual-boot system?

Yes, you can update Ubuntu and Windows independently in a dual-boot system. Each operating system has its own update mechanism, and you can choose to update them separately.

Can I share files between Ubuntu and Windows?

Yes, you can share files between Ubuntu and Windows. One way to do this is by creating a separate partition formatted as NTFS that can be accessed by both operating systems. Another option is to use cloud storage or external drives to transfer files between the two systems.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *