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If I install Linux and don't like it, can I recover my SSD via the WinPE?

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There's a good chance that I could wind up installing Linux, onto my SSD, which by doing so, will erase everything on the SSD. (Win10, and Programs, drivers, updates)

My question is, if I don't like the Linux OS, can I run the WinPE and recover the SSD using the .tib dated 9.30.2019?

Thanks in advance,

Crime of the Scene

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CotS, the direct answer is yes, you should be fine to recover your backup of the SSD using the WinPE media as you are booting from media which has no bearing on what OS is currently installed on the SSD.

The other option here, assuming your SSD is of sufficient size to allow it, would be to create a 20-30GB partition from free space on the SSD, then install Linux alongside your Windows OS to that new partition.

Installing Linux will also install its own boot manager (Grub2 normally) which will then add your Windows OS as an option in the boot list (after Linux).  You would then be able to boot back into Windows from the Grub menu.

To get back to the Windows Boot Manager, you can use a free program such as EasyBCD to Re-create / repair boot files which will give back the normal Windows boot menu, but you would also need to add a boot entry for the Linux OS (using the Add New Entry option of EasyBCD).

Personally, if you are not familiar with using Linux, I would recommend creating a Linux Live CD type boot media where you don't change anything but can try out how Linux works on your computer.  I would recommend giving Ubuntu a try using this method.

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Just a quick follow up question or two...

So then creating a Linux Live CD, you'd boot from a CD?

The interesting thing is, when I bought this computer, that was one of my first questions: could I dual boot, with a Linux installation? I was told that, at some point the boot loader will fail. And when it does, I won't know what to do, being an average user...That conversation was 2 years ago...with the manufacturer of my computer.

So, if you'd refresh my memory...

If I did go the "Live CD" option, is it time limited?

The other option here, assuming your SSD is of sufficient size to allow it, would be to create a 20-30GB partition from free space on the SSD, then install Linux alongside your Windows OS to that new partition.

It sounds like what you are describing is a "dual boot environment."  Do you think it's safe to create a d.b.e. for Linux?

Would there be any advantage to installing Linux on a Virtual Box?

Thanks in advance,

CotS

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CotS, I have used various Linux live CD's / USB sticks over the years and find they work very well - USB is faster than CD's and also allows for some degree of persistant data storage if created with that option.  CD's really reads as DVD's with the size of most distro's these days.

I don't recall the live Linux disto's being time limited but haven't really needed to test that aspect of using them.  Older boot CD tools such as Hiren's CD was time limited to 24 hours for a WinXP boot environment.

Installing Linux into Virtual Box or VMware is an option if you are comfortable with doing so.

The boot loader question is a little more complex depending on whether you are happy to delve into the aspect of needing to switch between Windows Boot Manager and the Linux Grub2 loaders.  Unfortunately, the core issue is that Microsoft tend to be arogant and stomp all over any other boot loaders when doing updates, whereas Linux is happy to recognise and add other OS's discovered to its loader!  This leads to a situation where the Linux boot option is lost after a new Windows Update such as 1903 unless you are able to modify the Windows Boot Loader to pick it up again!

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I gather installing a Virtual Box isn't as easy as they make it look (on YouTube.)

If I were to go the USB method, (I'll know soon), but be that as it may...

On YouTube, they were suggesting to try different "distro's" until you find the one you like. If I were running off of a USB, how would that work?

And, a) If I created a document in say LibreOffice and removed the OS, what would happen to my document? As I understand it, I wouldn't have access to my Windows based file system to save documents, on my local hard drives, or SSD, that are currently operating under a Win10 OS v1903.

And b) where would I save, for example, documents created under a Linux OS running off a USB flash drive?

 

Thanks in advance,

CotS

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I have never really got to grips with using VirtualBox as I have found VMware to be better / easier to use over the years.

That said, if you want to share files between a virtual machine and Windows, then you will need to either configure shared folders, or use a shared device to do so.

In this sense, running Linux from a USB stick is easier as it can mount NTFS partitions to allow you to access your files, plus you can install some cloud sharing services in Linux & Windows to achieve the same.

LibreOffice files should be no issue as the application is often the default Office app in Linux and the file formats are the same between Linux & Windows versions.

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Hi Steve,

That said, if you want to share files between a virtual machine and Windows, then you will need to either configure shared folders, or use a shared device to do so.

My only concern was the saving of documents I created, for example: in Libre Office. Where would they go? Meaning: if I decided to go the LiveCD route as they call it, and boot of a usb drive, how would I save my files?

And, how many USB drives would I need?

CotS

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If you boot from a LiveCD / USB version of Linux, then you would be able to access any of the drives in your computer and save files to them as needed.

The images below were captured when booted from Ubuntu 19.04 on a USB stick in Live mode and show that I can access all my drives / partitions (including an Acronis Secure Zone partition) then open folders / files.



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Was that file created in Word under the .doc extension, and now being viewed in LibreOffice Writer,

Or was it the other way around: Created in LOW and saved with a .doc file extension?

What was the creation history, so to speak?

 

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Yes..

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That was created in word then?

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I have both LibreOffice and Word installed in Windows but 99% of my documents are created & edited in LibreOffice which I prefer and find easier to use!  Office is there for documents that I deal with for a web site I administer and where users send me some complex documents that don't always render well in LibreOffice for me to publish on the site.

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So where do you save your docs you create? (Locally, or on the USB drive...)

For the Live CD option, how many USB Drive's would I need?

Is there any particular brand of USB drive you would recommend over another?

And what size USB drive should I look for?

And finally,

If I wanted to try a different distro, (I'm guessing,) that would require installation on a separate USB drive?

Thanks in advance,

CotS

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Crime of the Scene wrote:

So where do you save your docs you create? (Locally, or on the USB drive...)

For the Live CD option, how many USB Drive's would I need?

Is there any particular brand of USB drive you would recommend over another?

And finally,

If I wanted to try a different distro, (I'm guessing,) that would require installation on a separate USB drive?

Thanks in advance,

CotS

I can save documents in my normal folders as indicated in the screen images above.

You would only need one USB drive (per Live Linux CD distro being tested).

The choice of USB drive brand has to be yours to make based on the type & size you want to use, i.e. USB 3.x and size appropriate to the distro being tested, minimum size 8GB.

For different Linux distro's you could simply re-use the same USB drive each time, reformatting it and writing the new distro using a utility such as Rufus or else, with a larger size USB stick, you could try such as YUMI - Multiboot USB Creator or the MultiBootUSB tool to write several different distros on a single stick.

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Is Yumi and  other multiboot environments safe to set up that way?

Would that be considered a dual boot environment?

 

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YUMI is a standalone / portable application that only helps you to create a multiboot USB stick, it isn't used to create a multiboot system on a computer hard disk drive.

Having had another play with YUMI yesterday to remind myself of how it works, it looks as if this only support Legacy boot OS distros, as the USB stick I created was not recognised on my UEFI boot laptop!

One suggestion:  If you have a local store that sells computer magazines, then these often have a multiboot DVD provided with Linux magazines showcasing several different distros.  I used one of these recently for booting some older computers using x386 processors (32-bit).  Nearly all new Linux distros are now 64-bit only.

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YUMI is a standalone / portable application that only helps you to create a multiboot USB stick, it isn't used to create a multiboot system on a computer hard disk drive.

My question is, creating a standalone, portable usb (where I could put my distros on,) would that be safe (in the long term) for the heath of the computer? (I trust this is a different approach than creating a dual boot environment, where you place one OS next to another OS on the HD, (or SSD in my case...)

But even in the worst case scenario, (not being able to get into either Windows or Linux)  Couldn't I just format my SSD and recover the SSD back to the most recent .tib? (by using the Acronis WinPE?)

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My question is, creating a standalone, portable usb (where I could put my distros on,) would that be safe (in the long term) for the heath of the computer? (I trust this is a different approach than creating a dual boot environment, where you place one OS next to another OS on the HD, (or SSD in my case...)

Yes, it is safe --- provided you exercise normal care when using any tools, applications etc when booted from the Linux OS.  Each Linux OS has the capability of wiping a disk drive, formatting it etc, just as your Windows OS does.

When you boot from a USB stick / drive, you are in a separate standalone OS environment, just as you are when booted from the Acronis Rescue Media, and when you exit that environment, shutdown, restart etc, everything about that OS is lost except any files you have saved to your hard disk or USB drive etc.

But even in the worst case scenario, (not being able to get into either Windows or Linux)  Couldn't I just format my SSD and recover the SSD back to the most recent .tib? (by using the Acronis WinPE?)

Yes!  This is the same as you would need to do if your SSD failed and had to be replaced by a new one where you would do a 'bare-metal' recovery to the new drive to put everything back as it was before the failure.

I have done this multiple times when testing out different Linux distros on an old laptop which originally had Windows 7 installed and I was assessing the performance of Linux 32-bit distros with only 2GB memory and an Intel Atom processor.  I ended up using Xubuntu 18.04 LTS given the impending end of support for Windows 7 and it works very well.

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Thanks Steve. I really appreciate all the help.