Dual booting (with Windows) from separate drives

I have a new desktop with dual SSDs. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 is installed on the first, and the second is currently unformatted. My thought when I purchased it was to:

  1. Disconnect Ubuntu drive
  2. Install Windows on the second SSD
  3. Reconnect first drive
  4. Add entry in Grub for Windows

Is this doable? Is there a better way?

I don’t know if there is a better way, but that is the way I would do it.

I have done this with dual hdd (no efi) and instead of adding it to grub I would just change boot device (sda or ntfs drive) before either is loaded. You may also have the option with your box.

Your #4 may not be necessary. I’m thinking an “sudo update-grub” should pick up the windows install.

If you do get into trouble there are options like BootRepair.



If you can, you should make sure that the Windows SSD is set to “Master” and Ubuntu to “Slave” by checking the drive setup in BIOS!. You can repair the bootloader as @anon42388993 pointed out using “Boot Repair”:

1: Remove Ubuntu SSD and set it to “Slave”.
2: Install Windows after checking that the SSD is set to “Master”.
3: Reconnect the Ubuntu SSD and run “Boot Repair”, downloading an ISO and creating a Boot Repair disk is your best bet!:


On modern mainboards with SATA interfaces there are no longer “master” and “slave” drives.
Instead you just set the boot device priority in the BIOS, so make sure the Windows SSD is the topmost there.
You can switch it back later after you’ve installed Windows.


Thanks everybody. Took twice as long as it should have due to a) both drives being the exact same model, so choosing between them in the BIOS required extra attention, b) having had 2 daiquiris before my attempt, and c) forgetting to remove the Windows install USB and going through that installer twice, probably due to b).

Anyway, the Ubuntu drive is now the primary, and Grub picked up the Windows install just fine.

One odd thing, if I use the BIOS boot selector and manually select the Windows drive, it starts to load, then the computer shuts off. If boot to the other drive, and select Windows in Grub, everything’s fine. Not a big deal since it’s doing what I want, just found it strange.

Thanks again

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Hi @TrunkleBob,

most likely because you have the Ubuntu SSD set as primary drive?. :smiley:

Have marked your last answer as solved!. :smiley: