Saturday, 2 December 2017

Dual booting Fedora 27 and Windows 10

I recently built a new desktop PC.
My previous machine has been in use for nearly a decade, so it seemed like time, and I've been wanting to experiment with watercooled systems.
I wasn't planning on making a post of it, but there were a couple of unexpected issues I ran into that I felt were worth documenting for future reference.

Dual Booting

I usually dual-boot Fedora Linux and Windows.

Unfortunately this time round, that was not as straightforward as usual.
After quite some time of searching, I found the answers, but it was a lot more hassle than it should've been, so I'm writing up my experience here in the hope that it may help others who are trying to achieve a similar setup.
The TL;DR of the problem is that it only ever seemed to be able to find the Windows boot loader, or the Fedora one (When I've done this in the past, it would find the GRUB loader, which would detect the windows one and add it as an option in the boot list, but this time it was not detecting the windows loader.)

There were quite a few failed attempts, so I'm not including an entire history, but this is the setup that worked.

Firstly, I used parted from a Fedora live disk to format the SSD into 2 partitions (a 50-50 split), one ntfs partition, one ext4.
Then I rebooted and installed Windows 10 to the ntfs partition. The installer actually complained about a lack of space, so to fix that I ended up removing the ntfs partion and letting Windows create it's own in the free space (it ended up using it's 50% of the drive to create multiple partitions.).
Another reboot to Fedora 27 live, and worked through the anaconda installer, specifying that it use it's ext4 half of the drive. Again, it wanted to use that space to repartition in it's own way, which is fine.
The bit that appears to really matter is to ensure that Fedora creates a /boot/efi partition in the same place that Windows creates it's /boot/efi partition (see screenshot)

The "Unknown" partitions at the bottom are the ones created by the Windows installation.
The /boot/efi partition is sdb4, as is the Fedora-created one (highlighted).


I was concerned about them being the same partition and whether or not Fedora would overwrite what was already there, so I created a backup image of that partition onto the other storage disk in that machine before proceeding with the installation.
Then began the install.

Once complete, I rebooted, and the GRUB menu appeared, with the Windows option available.

Networking Issues

The motherboard that I have chosen is the ASUS Strix Z270F.
It has onboard ethernet, which worked absolutely fine out of the box on Fedora, but on the clean Windows 10 install, the LAN controller was not detected.
Again, there's lots of forum posts with people suggesting various solutions, none of which seemed to work for me.

For some reason, installing the LAN driver direct from the ASUS-supplied driver disc didn't work - it failed because it couldn't detect the hardware.
Even opening up the disk, navigating to the LAN folder and running the Intel setup application from there didn't work.

The only way I found it would work is opening up "This PC", going to properties, then Device Manager, and finding the hardware there (it will be under "Other devices" and have a yellow "!" marker to show it's not working)
Right-click on it and select Update Driver Software.
Then "Browse my computer for driver software", and navigate to the driver disk's LAN folder.
Windows then detects and installs it and it works fine.

I can't begin to guess why installing it that way works and the other ways don't, especially as it's the same driver, but whatever. It's fixed.


Spec

MotherboardASUS Strix Z270F
ProcessorIntel i7 Kaby Lake 4.2Ghz
RAM32GB DDR4 3200MHz Corsair Vengence LPX
Disks500GB SSD, 4TB HDD
GPUGigabyte GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
CoolingCorsair H55
OSFedora 27 & Windows 10 Dual Boot

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