Dual Booting MX Linux and Windows 8.1

12/27/20

Categories: Software Tags: Linux

~/contents

I’ve been having enough issues with Windows 8.1 lately I decided to give Linux another try. A lot has changed since I last had a dual-boot machine and I think I would use Linux a lot more these days.

Burn ISO

  1. Create a Windows Recovery drive on a USB flash drive, backup important files.
  2. Download MX Linux, I use QBitTorrent
  3. Verify the .ISO with checksum:

    C:\Users\neonaut\Downloads>certutil -hashfile MX-19.3_x64.iso MD5
    MD5 hash of file MX-19.3_x64.iso:
    0c 78 c1 60 d4 5c 4b 1e b7 30 e7 53 80 a5 c7 b0
    CertUtil: -hashfile command completed successfully.
    
  4. Use Rufus to burn a live MX Linux USB.

Create Partition

Create a new 40GB Windows partition. When I attempted to do this through Windows Disk Management I was told I could only shrink the drive by about 6GB. I attempted to use diskpart but had the same issue. This is a common issue that occurs when there are immovable files at the end of the volume that need to be removed.

  Microsoft Windows [Version 6.3.9600]
  (c) 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

  C:\Windows\system32>diskpart

  Microsoft DiskPart version 6.3.9600

  Copyright (C) 1999-2013 Microsoft Corporation.
  On computer: GAMING

  DISKPART> list volume

    Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
    ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
    Volume 0     D                       DVD-ROM         0 B  No Media
    Volume 1         System Rese  NTFS   Partition    350 MB  Healthy    System
    Volume 2     C                NTFS   Partition    232 GB  Healthy    Boot
    Volume 3     E   Games        NTFS   Partition    931 GB  Healthy
    Volume 4     F   Projects     NTFS   Partition   1863 GB  Healthy

  DISKPART> select volume 2

  Volume 2 is the selected volume.

  DISKPART> shrink desired=40000

  Virtual Disk Service error:
  The specified shrink size is too big and will cause the volume to be
  smaller than the minimum volume size.

  DISKPART>

Cannot Shrink Drive in Windows 8.1

If you search this problem you see a bunch of people trying to get you to download their partition tools, like EaseUS and MiniTool. I distinctly remember weirdness with MiniTool Partition Wizard when I used it a while back, if I remember correctly it wanted to add a bunch of extra stuff to my PC and it was difficult to remove. As far as I can tell, most of these tools are borderline malware (it depends on your definition of “malware” but they are pretty clearly opportunistic) so I wanted to see if there was a way I could resolve the issue myself. Things I tried:

Most of these didn’t do much for me, Disabling Paging only granted about 2GB, but deleting shadow copies freed up about 90GB which was plenty.

Once I shrunk the drive I found I needed to go ahead and format it.

Install from USB

Prepare PC to boot from USB. For me, this means disabling Compatibility Support Module (CSM) on ROG BIOS.

Unlike Ubuntu, which provides an option to install alongside Windows, MX Linux just asks you to either choose a disk, existing partitions, or auto-install using the entire disk. I went through the wizard without a hitch, but when I rebooted I found Windows 8 was not loaded in GRUB. Fortunately, I was able to resolve this by updating GRUB sudo update-grub

Thoughts on MX Linux

I like MX Linux and so far the process has been quite painless. MX Boot Options allowed me to easily configure GRUB (it previously gave me a 5 second window to choose which OS to boot, sometimes it takes me longer than 5 seconds to actually turn my monitor on). Some of the programs I use came preinstalled (Thunderbird, Gimp, Firefox) and the rest were pretty easy to figure out once I familiarized myself with tar files and AppImages. Once I get everything set up I can create an .ISO snapshot if I need to migrate to another computer, which is a nice bonus.

One change, in regard to NeoCities specifically, is I can now easily mount neocities as a filesystem. I can also now use the official Ruby CLI, I had issues getting the gem in Windows and ended up cobbling together my own Python uploader.

sudo apt-get install ruby-full
sudo gem install rake
sudo gem install neocities

neonaut@MXLinux:~
$ neocities pizza
Sorry, we're fresh out of dough today. Try again tomorrow.

I had some issues getting my Yubikey to register at first. There’s a helpful article and I found all I needed to do was install libu2f-udev sudo apt install libu2f-udev

Outstanding Issues

One issue I have noticed is sometimes MX Linux can’t find my internet connection. It has happened three times now, usually when booting over from Windows, and restarting resolves the issue. If it continues to happen I will research more.

Another issue I noticed is after installing and using homebrew I found it was later gone. Hugo, which I had installed using brew, also appeared to be gone. I’ve installed homebrew twice now, only to find it gone at a later date, so I skipped it entirely and just installed Hugo via apt, which I should have done in the first place.

The system totally locked up one me one time, while I was doing something undemanding (just editing some code in Atom and using Firefox to troubleshoot), so I will be keeping an eye on that as well.

Sources

https://www.c-sharpcorner.com/UploadFile/0524d6/how-to-turn-on-system-protection-in-windows-8/
https://www.tweakhound.com/2013/01/02/how-to-resize-your-windows-8-partition/
https://www.eightforums.com/threads/cant-shrink-c-partition-in-windows-8-1-with-diskmgmt.65604/
https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-boot-from-a-usb-device-2626091
https://www.lifewire.com/dual-boot-windows-8-1-linux-mint-2202090
https://www.techsolveprac.com/mx-linux-bootable-flash-drive-windows/
https://www.zdnet.com/article/hands-on-with-mx-linux-a-pleasant-easy-to-install-linux-distribution/