Does windows 10 updates break GRUB menu?

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I dual boot with debian 11 and windows 10. But when i use windows 10 and when i update will the grub menu be broken or normal?
 


Thunderpants

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I 've dual booted Xubuntu with Windows 10 and updated both for years. There has never been been any problems with Grub menus being broken to date.
 

brickwizard

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Depending on the updates , it can
 

TheProf

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I dual boot windows 10 with EndeavourOS and never had issues with updates. I even upgraded windows 10 —> windows 11 once and never had issues either.

I guess it depends on how you configure/install both operating systems. I use separate disks for Windows and Linux and never had issues updating both operating systems.
 

brickwizard

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TheProf

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If you google windows 10 broke my linux there are plenty of examples


I am sure something can go wrong when doing major Windows 10 updates which is what a lot of these articles mention.

I also feel it has to do with how you install both Windows and Linux and where you host GRUB, etc... For me, since I separate everything, I think it makes it easier for updates, but I can't speak to every use case, just going by what I experienced.
 

wizardfromoz

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@Terminator_3420 welcome to linux.org :)

If you install Timeshift on your Debian 11 and take a current snapshot (include home if it is not too large), then you can relatively easily restore Debian if Windows breaks it. All you'll need is a Live Debian USB stick, or better is Linux Mint Live or Linux Lite Live as they have Timeshift already installed.

If you have questions on Timeshift, see me here.

Wizard
 
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@Terminator_3420 welcome to linux.org :)

If you install Timeshift on your Debian 11 and take a current snapshot (include home if it is not too large), then you can relatively easily restore Debian if Windows breaks it. All you'll need is a Live Debian USB stick, or better is Linux Mint Live or Linux Lite Live as they have Timeshift already installed.

If you have questions on Timeshift, see me here.

Wizard
Can i get a link for live debian ISO? And i heard that live debian ISO has boot repair thing.
 

brickwizard

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Thunderpants

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This is a useful tool to have on hand for fixing dual boot problems.
I sometimes make a pig's ear of rolling back an OS from a backup disk and this has always saved the day. Presumably, it would also work if Windows update should knacker up a dual boot system as well.
 

Thunderpants

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Yes, if you cannot boot one or the other OS for any reason, boot up the boot-repair-disk software from an external USB stick or CD, click the 'recommended repair' button and it will fix the GRUB menu and MBR, it also works with UEFI.
 

KGIII

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wizardfromoz

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Can i get a link for live debian ISO?

You have already used one to install. It is always useful to keep it, as it can be used for both diagnostic and repair purposes.

Wiz
 

Atlantean

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I also feel it has to do with how you install both Windows and Linux and where you host GRUB, etc...
No first hand experience here, but I read reports of windows updates overwriting grub even when linux and win are installed in two separate physical drives. Is there any place grub should go to prevent this from happening?

And sorry if this sounds dumb, but I noticed that in my encrypted ubuntu installation only one partition of the drive, sda3, is actually encrypted. The other two, sda1 and sda2, which are file sytem partitions, are not. I suppose that's where Grub goes. Can boot partitions be encrypted at all so as to stop them from being overwritten? I have space for an additional drive, and if I ever install windows on it I'd like to have the equivalent of a 'KEEP OUT" sign for it around the drive where linux is installed.
 

gvisoc

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No first hand experience here, but I read reports of windows updates overwriting grub even when linux and win are installed in two separate physical drives. Is there any place grub should go to prevent this from happening?

I often read some stories like that, but never happened to me. It definitely can happen if, for whatever reason, you need to run the rescue or restore functions of Windows in its recovery partition, but because Windows Update? Never happend to me.

I always end up having a configuration like this, where everything is encrypted (windows with Bitlocker, Linux with LUKS et al.):
SSD.png

Truth to be told, I am not using GRUB to boot Windows, but rather the UEFI bult-in boot menu, as GRUB interferes with bitlocker all the time. Once I select Fedora, then the UEFI passes the boot sequence on to GRUB, which silently selects Fedora with no timeout. Check a bit more detail in this thread if you're interested on how and why.
 

TheProf

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No first hand experience here, but I read reports of windows updates overwriting grub even when linux and win are installed in two separate physical drives. Is there any place grub should go to prevent this from happening?

And sorry if this sounds dumb, but I noticed that in my encrypted ubuntu installation only one partition of the drive, sda3, is actually encrypted. The other two, sda1 and sda2, which are file sytem partitions, are not. I suppose that's where Grub goes. Can boot partitions be encrypted at all so as to stop them from being overwritten? I have space for an additional drive, and if I ever install windows on it I'd like to have the equivalent of a 'KEEP OUT" sign for it around the drive where linux is installed.
The installation location of GRUB depends on the type of partition table format you're using, i.e MBR or GPT.

If you're using MBR, then GRUB might be installed somewhere between the MBR and the first partition, this area might be referred to as the MBR Gap, or the core image can be installed in a file system and a list of the blocks that make it up can be stored in the first sector of that partition.

In the case of GPT, GRUB has its own partition, and typically, this is supposed to be safe from being overwritten.

I have a feeling (I am not 100% certain though), that a lot of folks who experience the issue with Windows updates overwriting their GRUB configuration might be running their configuration using the MBR partition table format.

In my case, I am using GPT and have separate hard disks to separate Linux from Windows. Recently I did an in place upgrade of Windows 10 -> Windows 11 and didnt have any issues at all booting into Windows from GRUB after the installation. I would consider upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 as a major update.

Source for the information about MBR vs GPT: https://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/grub/html_node/BIOS-installation.html#BIOS-installation
 
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Atlantean

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Thank you for your detailed replies. I found online that in order to find out whether you have GPT or MBR you have to run this command:

Code:
sudo gdisk -l /dev/sda

I got the following result:

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.5

Partition table scan:
MBR: protective
BSD: not present
APM: not present
GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.

So I can assume GRUB is in a GPT partition with *something* in MBR playing a protective role?
 

captain-sensible

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GPT reserves the first sector of a disk for a "protective MBR" so that programs which only understand MBR don't think the disk is unformatted and corrupt it.
 

brickwizard

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found this..
If you want to install your system on a GPT disk, you must enable the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) by going through the bios configuration setting in your system.

If you want to check if you are using the GPT partition in Linux, use the gdisk -l command.
 
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