Qubes-OS in one SSD, and Linux in another SSD. Any problem?

I want to install Qubes-OS in one SSD and Linux or windows in another SSD. Each installation will have its own system partition, boot partition, and OS partition. Could one OS interfere with another in any way?

Can one OS modify UEFI or BIOS settings for another (in NVRAM or the other SSD)?

Or will it be necessary to disable the other SSD in BIOS (which will be a pain)?

Has anyone done this?

Obviously, malware in non-Qubes OS could infect the system or boot partition for Qubes-OS (which is not all signed). I’m not talking about the security here, just whether that set up would work well.

See this thread for a more comprehensive overview of the issues involved.

In this setup with two OS installed on different disks one OS shouldn’t interfere with another OS in any way by itself. It can interfere only with user error.

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Are you talking about a PC or a laptop?

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Laptop. I’m trying to troubleshoot that why Qubes doesn’t boot and suspect interference from the other OS on a different disk.

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Sounds like you need to get rid of the other Linux distribution/Windows then for fault isolation purposes.

I think I narrowed down the issue that we discussed earlier (I linked to the other posts below).

I installed Qubes-OS again on a separate NVMe. Once the installation was complete, I updated the Qubes. I restarted a few times, worked in it a bit, to make sure that it works (one issue: when I restarted, the white progress bar went to the end, but then a blank black screen showed up, it didn’t actually restart and the laptop had to be turned off by pressing the power button in each restart. But that might be a separate issue).

Then I entered the BIOS settings, changed the order of boot, and booted the other operating system, Linux. Once I restarted again, I couldn’t boot Qubes anymore. It ended up in the grub shell that I mentioned, in exactly the same state. Basically, any changes to the BIOS settings and saving them would make Qubes unbootable.

Any idea what might be the problem, and how to fix it?

Are you talking about the problem where your /boot partition was overwritten by swap partition?
I can’t think of any other cause except for you causing it by mistake somehow. Either in Qubes OS on your last boot or in your other Linux OS.
Maybe there is actually another reason why this happened without your involvement but I don’t know of it.

I don’t know if the boot partition is over-written or no. There is a system partition, a second 1G partition (with the description mentioned in the other post) and root+data partition.

When I boot into Linux, Qubes can no longer boot subsequently.

Is it like this?

Exactly. P2 should normally be boot (though I can’t mount and see the inside).

Qubes is on a separate disk. I have no idea how come Linux on another disk could override Qubes boot partition.

Just to clarify, did you reinstall Qubes OS once again since this post:

And you had the same problem happen again where you first booted and used Qubes OS and rebooted a few times without a problem but the problem once again happened after you’ve booted into your second OS?


I don’t have any ideas as to what could have caused this.
I can suggest you to boot into your second Linux OS and grep through all system files (/etc, /boot) to search for strings nvme0n1p2, cryptoswap, get the /dev/nvme0n1p2 UUID with blkid and search for it as well.
If you find some files where these strings exist then check what file is that and where did it come from. Then check how did this swap partition get configured there.

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I have a Librem 13V2 which will not tolerate a second OS on the second drive. That it, it will not boot. But If I blank either drive, and install Linux onto one drive it works. Guessing it is the proprietary PureBoot which is like the BIOS/EFI for this.

I notice Ubuntu says it can install – meaning dual install from the same drive.

I know little. Don’t trust me.


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You seem to be right. I searched the keywords that you mentioned, and arrived at below.

Ubuntu overwrites p2 partition in another disk as swap! It seems to be a bug in ZFS installation (doesn’t use uiud), might be this one:

I disabled the swap permanently (and will probably disable one of the disks in bios, though that’s a pain).

You have to comment out the swap partition in /etc/crypttab and in /etc/fstab files.

Another thing that happens is that when you disable a disk in Bios, the nvme numbers can change. So another OS can overwrite the swap partition of the Qubes OS, making it umbootsble.

I installed QubesOS again. The partition P2 is indeed an unencrypted boot partition including initramfs and other images.

I knew Qubes created different partitions on the same hard drive.

I have an Alienware 15 r2 which has two drives. Using Legacy mode I have installed Qubes to the SSD, and Windows 10 to the spinning drive. (forgive me, I must have Windows for one or two uses) I do not recommend Alienware for use with any Linux. The XPS that can come with a Linux desktop, well, not as secure as using Heads.

All I can say is: If one only has one drive. “Windows does not play well with others.”

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