Does dualbooting Windows 11 and Fedora on the same drive oftens cause issues?

Hi,

Sorry if this question has already been asked a billion times.

I have laptop with 1 drive inside (there’s an empty slot for an additional one but I don’t have the money to buy one) and windows 11 pro installed on it.

I would like to dualboot it with Fedora but I’ve read a lot of time that installing fedora and windows 11 on the same drive often leads to issues.

Is that true?

What kind of issues can I expect? (Common issues, not issues that only happens 0.001% of the time)

I have windows 11 pro installed, encrypted with bitlocker and secure boot enabled

I don’t think dual-boot is problematic. Ideally install Windows first and Fedora second (otherwise Windows erases the bootloader). You’ll have to shrink your Windows partition from Windows (since it’s encrypted). Make sure to type down your bitlocker recovery code, because you might need it (when Windows detects some third-party disk changes).

After installation, one problem I know of is that since you have bitlocker, you won’t be able to boot Windows from Fedora’s GRUB menu, you’ll have to use UEFI boot menu instead:

Everything else should just work, I think.

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If that is the case, there’s no need to install grub.

I mean, is grub the default Fedora bootloader?

What about secure boot? Do I need to disable it?

I had to type each fedora update windows recovery key when booted to windows, but that might be just my hardware and Nvidia stuff and eventually it just lost boot option to fedora ending running WSL or VM setup and second laptop just fedora bare metal

What about secure boot?

I don’t have windows 11 – mine is windows 10 – but the hype about problems with having both OSes on the same drive seems just that – unnecessary hype that is unfounded in most cases.

Usually 3 steps involved.

  1. from within windows use the disk manager to shrink the windows partition and allow space for the fedora install. This is especially critical since you are using bitlocker. The space freed up must remain unallocated.

  2. boot the fedora installation media and do the install. Do NOT create an additional esp partition but allow fedora to automatically perform the partitioning and install. It is best to allow both OSes to share the existing esp partition.
    (experienced users may define their own partitions but normally fedora does it quite well with the automatic install)

  3. reboot and enjoy.

I do not use bitlocker so have no experience with the stated need to use the uefi boot menu to boot windows. Yes, grub is the default boot loader in fedora and it is installed automatically. When dual booting the grub menu should show each time you boot, which normally allows the user to select the kernel or OS to boot.

Should I keep secure boot enable or disable?

This depends upon your hardware and what drivers you use. If you do not install software that requires locally compiled kernel modules then secure boot may remain enabled. I think windows 11 probably uses secure boot by default (and may even require it). You may also sign the locally compiled modules which will allow them to load and also allow keeping secure boot enabled.

If you have a GPU such as nvidia and use the nvidia drivers or use virtualbox to run VMs, both have locally compiled kernel modules and require that either you disable secure boot to use unsigned modules, or create a local signing key and enroll it into the bios so the modules are signed when compiled and continue to use secure boot.

I use secure boot, and have installed nvidia drivers as well as virtualbox from the rpmfusion repo. There is a package named akmods that manages compiling and signing these modules for me.
Once the package akmods is installed there is a readme file /usr/share/doc/akmods/README.secureboot containing the instructions on how to create and enroll the key so modules may be automatically signed and will load with secure boot enabled.

If I remember W11 needs to have secure boot and TPM enabled even if running VM you need to emulate TPM and use secure boot and keep windows recovery key near you might need that many times

I’ll install on the same drive then :smiley:

Enabled, it’s safer. If you hit a scenario where you need to disable it (mostly Nvidia), you can always do it afterwards.

I have a problem, I can’t shrink more than 11 Gb from my drive.

Theoretically windows should not have placed an ‘unmovable’ file that far into the drive. The drive shows 90% free on a 476GB volume. Though who knows.

If it will not allow shrinking it more than that it does seem to present a problem to be solved.

What happens if you try and enlarge the amount being shrunk?

This may be a result of using bitlocker. Is it possible to disable bitlocker without a full reinstall?
If not then it should be possible to copy off the data you desire to keep, then do a new install of windows without bitlocker and start over with the fedora install.

Another choice may be to add a second drive and install fedora on that drive, while allowing fedora to use the efi partition on the existing drive.

I’m gonna try to follow this guy’s advice and see how it goes

It has been many years since I worked with windows at that level. His info reminded me of what I used to do when windows was my main OS and had forgotten by now. Admin tasks done 15 or more years back tend to be forgotten. :innocent:

His method look good to me. Just remember to do the restore of those tools after completing the shrink.

Have you have reached a point where you have to use windows for something (a program or anything).

Because I’m only installing windows first because I’ll be attending university soon.

I didn’t want to reach a point where I have to install windows

There have been certain programs where I have needed to use windows. At present that is no longer the case though I keep windows 10 on my laptop just because I can.

Have only booted windows once in the last 6 months and that was only for update purposes. Since windows does the auto updates without asking for permission I did not want it updating when I happened to be travelling and on a slow or metered connection.

If you really do not need windows it seems that you might consider installing fedora on the drive, then use libvirt and virt-manager to create a VM of about 50 GB or so in size and install windows 10 into that VM so it would be available if needed. I guess that it might be possible to use win 11 in that manner but I have not tried that yet. Win 11 requires secure boot and TPM. libvirt does provide secure boot, but I have not tested the TPM capabilities.

I thought of that but I only have a 4 core 11th gen i5 CPU and 8 Gb of ram

I runned virt manager on fedora on testing and installed windows 11 with secure boot and TPM without virtIO setups and it works there is just some settings need to set to enable secure boot and TPM on vurt manager pretty easy actually and I might even do it again just for fun

@phatle , Glad to hear that.
@whatever , your i5 cpu (4 core, 8 thread – looks like 8 cpus within fedora) should be able to run a VM with no problems. I assign 2 virtual CPUs and 4 GB ram to a VM in most cases and it works very well. (the ram is assigned ‘as needed’ and is ‘up-to’ so the entire 4 GB is not dedicated to the VM) Just try the VM while still able to dual boot and I think it should work for you. If it does then you could reinstall fedora to use the entire disk.