Need help switching Distros on my dual boot / dual drive computer

Hello, In 2021 Vasileios helped me step by step to create a dual booting computer with Windows on one hard drive and Ubuntu Budgie on the other hard drive. I need the Windows for work, but do everything else on Budgie. I have a grub menu that allows me to choose whether to boot into Windows or Ubuntu. Now I would like to switch Ubuntu Budgie to another distro. I am looking for someone to help me do this because I’m a wimp lol! Here is a link to the thread with Vasileios back in 2021.

Is anyone here able and willing to help guide me through this project? I don’t want to mess up my dual boot. I would be VERY appreciative. I don’t know where else to go for help with this. Thank You! :slightly_smiling_face:


With one machine and a vital work partition it is not wimpy to be cautious!

Before changing Distros and potentially getting into issues with your BIOS (hardware) and GRUB (software) system boot it would be worthwhile understanding why you want to change.

You can test different Distros in LIVE mode without installing them. This can help you understand how well the distro recognises your system.

You can also run a virtual system with Gnome Boxes which is a GREAT way to run another distro, effectively creating a triple boot machine (sort of :wink:

If you just want a different desktop Gnome, Plasma, XFCE … you may be able to install it along side your current desktop environment.

Ideally it would be better to find another old machine to play with and not risk blowing up your essential WINDOWS environment. (Cheap Laptops)

I am interested to see what pops up from your question as it would be great to have a definitive method for swapping out distros on a live system without messing up your BIOS. GRUB can be managed more easily from within your Linux desktop. BIOS management is unique to each manufacturer and often to the model you have. BIOS editing can be very daunting if it gets messed up (in my limited experience).

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Hi. So you have two separate drives, one with windows and the other Linux? As Norseman stated, if you are just trying out other distros, you can do that without making any changes. If there is a particular one you want to install, you should be able to install it just like you did the first one. Just make sure you are installing on the correct drive.
I have a dual boot Linux/windows laptop, but both are on one hard drive. When i decide to change distros, i just go into windows and remove the Linux partitions, then boot the new OS and put it where the old one was. I would think with a separate drive, all you would have to do is boot with your USB, make sure you select your Linux drive for the install, and you should get an option to install the new OS alongside your current one, or replace it with the new one.



Thank you NorseMan for your helpful comments. :slightly_smiling_face: And also, thank you for understanding the importance of getting this right, since I do use it for work (teaching online) every day. I was one of the first ‘Linux converters’ on JP’s channel and have several laptops with various distros on them. I have settled on Zorin as my go to comfort distro on my daily driver laptop, and would also like to use it on my desktop. I just don’t like Ubuntu Budgie anymore - it bugs me. That’s why I would like to put Zorin on there. Just like you mentioned, I am concerned about editing the Grub menu. This is why I’m looking for someone to take me by the hand and lead me through it step by step the way Vasileios did with setting up Budgie.

Hi Kat, thank you for your comments. I have tried other distros and do want to install Zorin where I currently have Ubuntu Budgie. Your outline is what my plan is, however, I don’t want to do it by myself. Looking for someone to help me step by step, especially since it involves editing the grub menu.

Hi. If you are simply replacing you current Linux Distro with another one, you should not have to mess with your grub menu at all. When you install the new OS on the drive where the old one is, it should automatically replace the old OS on the grub menu. If you want, you can contact me thru my website,, it has all my contact info, and we can set up a time you want to do this and I can walk you thru it. Just make sure all of your important files are backed up elsewhere of course.


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Thank you! I’ll be in touch.

Well, I’m very pleased to say that, after extensive research and with the help of this article and video tutorial, I was able to switch out Ubuntu Budgie for Zorin on my dual boot desktop computer! I was very nervous about choosing the correct partition, but it all ended well. Installing Gparted and and using it to look closely at all my partitions was very helpful. Knowing that the Linux partition was ext4 was also helpful. I didn’t have a separate /home partition, but I did have a swap, which was covered in the article. I was also worried about whether the Grub menu would automatically update, and it did - thank goodness! Thank you for your comments as it led me in the right direction. :slightly_smiling_face:

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