hi, this is av

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migration to monoboot

This is quick; I thought this dualboot would last me years. But I find myself drawn to switch to EndeavourOS fulltime. With Proton and Wine, I am pretty much taken care of on Linux. Windows 10 is annoying me every time I have to use it, especially with the bad search, Bing AI, and the ads and points.

Known disadvantages to me: my VPN providers' Linux version sucks, some software I like to use I can't yet figure out how to build from source despite there being a guide (Decker), and the Discord version in the AUR has some issues (no Krisp, pop-out of stream doesn't work, audio stream issues..), but I am willing to deal with that. I also still need to test Zoom on it to make sure everything goes smoothly for my next online exams.

As a backup in case it's needed, I have decided to move Windows off to an external drive I will keep in a drawer. Sadly, I couldn't just clone the Windows partition over, it would clone the entire SSD, and I wanted Windows only.

So I bought an additional external 1 TB HDD for Windows to be on and formatted it, used the 500GB external HDD I still had lying around to create a system image, and used a USB to create a bootable Windows install device. All my important files are backed up elsewhere too, obviously, in case anything is wrong.

I tried to use the USB installer to install Windows on the external 1TB HDD. The problem was that the installer doesn't let you pick a harddrive at all, and it would have wiped my internal SSD completely. So I researched a bit and instead downloaded the ISO and used Rufus to install Windows 10 on the external drive that way. Settings needed for this were checking "List USB Harddrives" so the external one shows up in the Device selector above, selecting the Windows.iso, and choosing "Windows To Go" as image option (because as far as I understand, normal Windows won't run on a removable drive), as well as Partition Scheme GPT and Target system being UEFI. I selected Windows 10 home, limited it to this drive, and chose to let it create a local user.

After that was done, I booted into the fresh Windows install drive to see if everything worked. It did. External, internal, all was fine. I should have left it at that for the day!

Then, I connected my other external drive to access the system image to restore onto the fresh installation. Here's where everything went wrong.

To me, it all sounded so logical - just use the system image to set up a fresh install, right? But apparently it isn't. Even though the recovery process was started from the external drive fresh Windows, it defaulted to restoring the internal drive. I quickly noticed it wasn't writing to the external one (it actually doesn't explicitly let you select or show that, but I noticed it wasn't blinking) and took the risk and aborted the process.

My EndeavourOS was fine, Windows 10 obviously wasn't.I knew I couldn't restore without wiping the entire internal drive and eOS with it, so I went ahead and used GParted to delete all Windows 10 partitions (except its EFI, despite eOS having a separate one in my case, because I want to research more about that before I do it). I had planned that anyway, after all. I read in the meantime that Windows To Go doesn't let you back up from an external drive, which sucks, because if I had known that I would have just not done all of this or simply dealt with a normal complete clone instead.

I now have one external HDD with a system image, one external HDD with a fresh Windows install, and an internal SSD ex-dualboot, which has the unfortunate partition structure of Windows EFI (still there for now) / 850 GB ext4 where Windows used to be / eOS EFI / eOS.

I am now currently checking what options I have to somehow still get the system image, or parts of it, onto the fresh Windows install. I also still need to figure out how to make the 850GB usable for EndeavourOS - I really am too paranoid to move the eOS EFI forward and merge the two partitions. I don't know yet how to set the 850GB partition up in a way that Endeavour would use it as normal and for example install Steam games to it. I read conflicting info about how to proceed (with/without chown etc). I may honestly just reinstall EndeavourOS wiping the entire drive, but I don't want to lose what I have already set up in it (rice, packages..). I do have a Timeshift snapshot, but I don't think it would be able to restore everything how it was from that on a clean install.

I'm kind of stuck on how to proceed, but I still have a working device at least.

If anyone reading this has any ideas, feel free to message me at daintyeco at pm.me! Edit: Chose to simply reinstall EndeavourOS over the entire drive :) will keep the Windows image for a later time; I plan on getting an AMD-only laptop for Linux as a daily driver, and keep my old laptop with Windows as a backup and for games that run shitty or not at all on Linux.

#dualboot #endeavouros #linux