Help on manual partitioning for dual boot installation


I’m new to EndeavourOS but not to Linux (Ubuntu user for years, trying to migrate for some reasons, and from what I read, EOS seems to be a nice choice to me).
I got a new laptop at work with Windows installed, and a single SSD drive. But I have a dedicated free space on which I want to install EOS.

I found some similar posts on this forum or elsewhere on the web, but they either miss some important infos (at least for me) or they address too specific situations that do not fit my case.

My situation is somewhat simple :

  • I didn’t know systemd-boot as boot-loader but as it is proposed by default and I read that it works well also for windows dual-boots, I guess I have no reason not to use it, so I keep it checked ;
  • I already have windows partitions on the disk : let’s say partition 1 (FAT32, 500MiB, flagged as boot), partition 2 (unknown filesystem, 128 MiB), partition 3 (NTFS, Windows main partition), partition 4 (NTFS, recovery partition) ;
  • I have some space left on which I want to install EOS.

I read that I should use manual partitioning to specify the existing boot partition, without creating a new one, and create the / partition, having it encrypted. Yet, I’m still confused on the proper way (especially for the boot partition) to do that and wanted confirmation before proceeding :

  • Should I create a new boot EFI partition or is it correct (and sufficient) to flag existing partition 1 as boot (the only flag available here is boot and is already selected) ? What about the mount point of this partition (for instance empty) ? Is /boot/efi/ the correct one or only /boot ? I read somewhere that I should also add an efi flag which I do not find in the menu, what about it ?
  • The main root partition, with ext4 as filesystem, checking encrypt, and flagged as root
  • A swap partition (flagged swap) with few GB (having 32 GB RAM) of size (I don’t really care about hibernation)

If everything go right, the boot-loader would first ask for the OS to boot, then ask for keyphrase before booting on EOS, and ask nothing when booting on Windows, is that correct ?

Sorry for this long newbie post, I usually use default installation so I don’t acknowledge this partitioning/booting step so well, but I’m here to learn :slight_smile:

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You don’t need to use manual partitioning I don’t think.

If you already have free space set aside you can use the “Replace Partition” option. If you do that the installer will take care of the rest of that stuff for you. Just check the encryption box if you want encryption.

Thank you for this quick feedback @dalto !

I already did that on a previous “test” installation on another computer, and it also encrypted the boot partition. So I ended up having to enter the passphrase before having accessing to the boot menu.

That’s why I had a look at the ability to encrypt only the linux partition.

Do you confirm this behaviour ?

That happens with grub but not with systemd-boot. With systemd-boot, you will get the menu first then when you select your Linux install it will start booting and the request the password.

If you prefer grub then you will need to use manual partitioning and create a /boot partition.

OK, I’ll then try to use the default partitioning with systemd-boot and let you know here if everything went fine.

Just for my understanding/curiosity : you mean that systemd-boot actually creates automatically a boot partition or uses the existing one created by Windows ? And that Grub does not ?

Could you explain what would be the equivalent of using the default parameter if one choose to apply manual partitioning for some reason ? I don’t find the specific entry in the arch wiki. For example, it says that An additional EFI system partition should not be created but it does not say what to do to use the existing one.

Not exactly. With systemd-boot, all the files you need to boot the system are stored in the EFI partition(ESP). This is a fat32 partition.

When installing EOS with systemd-boot, the ESP is mounted at /efi and the kernel and boot images are stored there. Technically, /boot will be encrypted with either bootloader.

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