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#1 2013-08-19 11:41:56

Registered: 2013-01-08
Posts: 22

2 EFI partitions on one HDD possible?


I'd like to dual boot archlinux and Windows 7 from one disk (SSD) in UEFI mode.

The usual installation puts the bootloader of both operating systems into one single EFI partition. I'd like to split this in 2, so that archlinux uses one and Windows 7 the other EFI partition.

Is that technically possible?

The reason is, that I image backup/restore both operating systems separately. To make sure that system updates from one operating system doesn't interfere with each other when updating files on common EFI partition, I'd like to split EFI up.



#2 2013-08-19 13:46:38

From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: 2012-11-06
Posts: 719

Re: 2 EFI partitions on one HDD possible?

Having two EFI System Partitions (ESPs) on one disk is explicitly permitted by the EFI spec; however, it's inadvisable because the Windows 7 installer flakes out when presented with such a configuration. Once installed, Windows 7 seems to work normally, although I don't know if everything works fine -- there might conceivably be problems with software updates that would access the ESP, for instance.

To handle your issue, I recommend simply backing up the ESP separately from the OSes, but at the same time as the OS backups. Thus, you'll have a valid ESP backup at any given time, restorable (or not) as you desire. Since the ESP just contains ordinary files, the ESP backup can be something platform-independent, such as a .zip file. This will enable you to restore from either OS, even in a cross-OS way if that's necessary. (Say, using Linux to restore a backup made from Windows.)

Another possibility is to use two ESPs, but adjust the Linux ESP's partition type code so that it's not a regular ESP should you ever need to re-install Windows or when you install system updates or otherwise do anything that might interact with the ESP.


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