Lenovo M93

Lenovo M93 Ultra Small Desktop PC – Multiple Operating Systems – Week 4

Dual Booting

There’s some key advantages and disadvantages to the dual boot approach as opposed to hardware virtualization. If you want to run two (or more) operating systems at the same time, dual booting is not an option. But there are also advantages to dual booting. With hardware virtualization, you’ll never get native performance on the second operating system. With dual booting you do.

There’s a bit of work needed to get up and running with dual booting. Before doing this, we strongly recommend making a full backup of your system. If things go awry, the last thing you want to do is lose your precious data.

The first action we took on taking receipt of the M93 was to wipe Windows 10 Professional and install Manjaro on the machine’s internal SSD. But we also run other Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Fedora.

It’s possible to run multiple operating systems from the same disk by shrinking the existing main partition and creating another partition. But given that the machine’s SSD is 240GB, dividing that further will not give us enough disk space for each operating system. The Lenovo machine can only take a single internal SSD which limits options.

If you don’t want to open up the machine and replace the storage with a larger SSD, there’s always the ability to boot from external SSDs and flash drives. And we found performance of the 2nd/3rd operating system from an external SSD to be very good. You lose a little of the snappiness afforded by the internal SSD, but nothing that inhibits our workflow.

The steps to take:

  1. Download the additional operating system(s) from the projects’ websites. In our case, that’s Ubuntu and Fedora.
  2. Write each image to a flash USB drive, DVD or other bootable media using software. For USB drives, use Etcher or similar software.
  3. Attach the device to the M93 where the second operating system will reside. For Ubuntu, we used an SSD housed in an external casing and connected it to one of the USB 3.0 ports. We also installed Fedora to a USB 3.0 flash drive. The latter was really only for experimental purposes as it has a slow read speed, as opposed to about 500MB/s with an external SSD.
  4. Reboot the M93, and hold down the F1 key at boot up. This will take you into the Setup Utility. We need to change the boot order so that the machine boots from the flash key/optical media. In the Lenovo BIOS Setup Utility, select the Startup menu. Here you’ll see the Primary Boot Sequence. There’s various entries listed below the SATA 1 entry including USB FDD, USB KEY, Network, Other Device, USB HDD, and USB CDROM. Use the x key to include an entry that’s currently excluded from the boot order, and move it to the top. Then save the settings by pressing F10.
  5. The machine should now boot from the flash USB drive. Go through the installation process for the new operating system. Along the way, you’ll need to choose where to install that operating system. Just make sure that you don’t overwrite the distribution installed on the internal SSD (remember, take a backup of your system before starting). Install the boot loader to the internal SSD.
  6. Restart the machine, access the BIOS setup utility and make the internal SSD the Boot Option #1. Restart the machine again.
  7. When you’ve restarted, The only remaining step is to update the GRUB bootloader. In Manjaro, type: $ update-grub

Now when you boot the machine, you’ll have a choice of which operating system to start up.

Next page: Page 3 – Wine

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – Dual Booting
Page 3 – Wine

Complete list of articles in this series:

Lenovo M93 Ultra Small Desktop PC
Week 6Recording video using OBS Studio
Week 5We put the M93 through some light gaming
Week 4Multiple operating systems running on the Lenovo M93
Week 3Video and audio are tested on the Lenovo machine
Week 2Benchmarking the Lenovo M93 Ultra Small PC with other low power machines
Week 1Introduction to the series including wiping Windows and installing Manjaro

This blog is written on the Lenovo M93 Ultra Small Desktop PC.

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