Dual boot LibreELEC w/ Win10

  • I have been trying to install LibreELEC with Windows10, both on separate partitions on my laptop, but with no success.
    I installed LibreELEC on my HDD, shrank the storage partition using gparted for some unallocated space. But when i tried to install Win10, the installation procedure didn't complete with an error message showing up " Windows could not prepare the computer to boot into the next phase of installation. To install Windows, restart the installation". Surprisingly, Windows was installed just fine when i deleted both LibreELEC's system and storage partitions.


    I don't know where the problem lies :( but i am pretty sure Linux/Unix OSes are pretty flexible to be multi booted with Win OSes.

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    • Official Post

    It would be easier to just run LE from a USB stick; at the syslink boot prompt (before the installer runs) type "run" and it you'll end up with a bootable USB with persisitent storage. There are threads elsewhere in the forum if you search for them which explain the sequence and bootloader changes needed to dual-boot. It's not something we support (and have no plan to support) as it's not a straightforward process.

  • I don't know where the problem lies :( but i am pretty sure Linux/Unix OSes are pretty flexible to be multi booted with Win OSes.

    To save you going down several of the many rabbit holes that get generated by the other "dual boot" threads ...


    You have two main issues to contend with

    1. Windows 10 installer is much more "grabby", in terms of the disk control it demands, than previous Windows versions so a lot of the older XP/Win7/Win8 info is now defunct.
    2. The LibreELEC installer, from the "USB-SD Creator" tool, sidesteps the issues of the squillion different disk layouts and filesystems it might encounter by ignoring them all and demanding the whole target disk. (This is really the only sane approach - trying to make an installer simple enough for the vast majority of use cases *and* cope with the vast number of weirder edge cases would be a never ending struggle.)

    So ... to work around these behaviours :-

    1. As you did previously, run the LibreELEC installer to create the flash & storage partitions
    2. In gparted resize storage to whatever you need then move both partitions to the end of the disk.
    3. Still in gparted, create an NTFS partition in the free space at the front of the disk.
    4. Execute/write the gparted changes to the HDD then shutdown.
    5. Now run the Windows 10 installer. Instead of finding an unfamiliar disk layout and trying to re-partition it to suit its own preferences it should discover the premade NTFS partition and allow you to use that instead.

    There you have a choice to make, depending what you want to have as your default behaviour when the laptop starts up ...

    You may have to fiddle with a tool like BCDedit in Windows to add LibreELEC to the list of available options in the Windows boot menu, if you keep that as your primary bootloader.

    You will need to add Windows to the extlinux.conf in /flash if you wish to keep *that* as your primary bootloader.


    If you choose the latter (syslinux) option as primary then you will run into a problem every time there's a Windows Update major patch. The update will seem like its installing but then fail and roll it back after it reboots to complete the update - the Windows Update process ignores your existing bootloader setup and always assumes *it* has full control of the disk. In this case run gparted before starting the update and use the partition's flags setting to mark the Windows partition as boot, instead of the LibreELEC partition. Then start Windows, let the update install and reboot itself back to Windows. Once complete you can then run gparted once more to reset your LibreELEC partition flag back to boot as normal.



    ( N.B. You *can* mess around in the bowels of both Windows & LE installer configurations to alter the default disk management behaviours but you'll have to extract/edit/rebuild a bunch of large monolithic disk-image/filesystem files and its a huge pain in the fundament - on the whole its a lot more trouble than its worth for just a single install.)

  • What I've done for years now is to take an existing windows drive, resize it to leave space at the end, make an ext4 partition there to use as storage and boot from a usb pointing at that. I can't see any advantage in having the LE boot partition on a windows pc - maybe it boots 10 seconds quicker is all.

  • I can't see any advantage in having the LE boot partition on a windows pc - maybe it boots 10 seconds quicker is all.

    It would certainly be a simpler solution - that or run Kodi as a native Windows application (Win32 or UWP flavour) ;)


    On the other hand Kamal may have a very particular reason for wanting LibreELEC dual boot and/or may not want to dig out and plug in a USB device every time he wants to use Kodi, or tie up a laptop USB port by leaving it permanently plugged in. Or some entirely different reason... Speed isn't always the primary motivation. Who knows? /shrug

    • Official Post

    I'm running dual-boot Win10 / Kubuntu since a couple of years. I always install Windows first, and the Linux OS after that. Should work with LE, too. Sometimes one have to re-select the Linux bootloader at the EFI menu when major updates overwrite the EFI settings. But that's not very often the case.

  • It would certainly be a simpler solution - that or run Kodi as a native Windows application (Win32 or UWP flavour) ;)


    On the other hand Kamal may have a very particular reason for wanting LibreELEC dual boot and/or may not want to dig out and plug in a USB device every time he wants to use Kodi, or tie up a laptop USB port by leaving it permanently plugged in. Or some entirely different reason... Speed isn't always the primary motivation. Who knows? /shrug

    I'm not sure what kodi on windows has to do with it.

    LE booting from usb / HDD are indistinguishable when running

    Advantages of running from usb:

    - no need to touch windows loader

    - can be easily set up on top of a running windows install

    - much quicker to set up

    - can be easily removed (unplug usb / remove ext4 partition and it's completely gone)

    Disadvantages:

    - it needs a 512MB-plus usb stick / sd card

    - one less usb port / sd reader while using LE (it can be left in or taken out when using windows).


    I checked on my laptop (I actually have LE on the HDD for once since installing mint) and boot times are actually about the same.

    For someone who's not that comfortable in a linux environment and doesn't really like messing with windows bootloader (ie me!) there's a lot less to go wrong using usb. For linux afficionados it's probablky an inelegant solution.

  • I found this thread looking for a way to dual boot Windows 10 and Libreelec. My Libreelec was installed on an 32Gb SD card on a SATA adapter. I had an unused SSD so I wanted to move my Libreelec onto that, but I also wanted the option of Windows 10. I wanted to use the Windows Boot manager as I only know how to edit the BCD. Besides using the Linus bootloader would only cause me trouble every time Windows 10 updates. This also means the disk would have to be MBR/BIOS which is limited to 4 primary partitions. Libreelec needs two partitions, System and Storage, and Windows wants 3, System, Windows, and Recovery. I see a fight coming.

    I tried installing Libreelec first as per Kamal and Windows refused to install " Windows could not prepare the computer to boot into the next phase of installation. To install Windows, restart the installation". I tried a Windows 7 install and I got the same result. Then I tried it as per Kurai, installing Libreelec, moving it to the end of the disc and then installing Windows. I still got the same result. ;( It appears that Windows 10 will not tolerate the presence of the Linux boot partition.

    I then used a GPart live boot disk to delete these partitions and recreate 2 empty ext4 partitions the size of my Libreelec installation at the beginning an empty drive (that way the Libreelec would remain in dev/sda1 and dev/sda2 like my existing Libreelec). Then I installed Windows 10 in the remaining space. Windows 10 will then install in only two partitions combining the System and Recovery as one and the Windows partition as the other. Once in Windows, I installed Mini Partition Wizard Free and EasyBCD. I used the Mini Partition Wizard to copy the Libreelec off of my existing SD card on to their respective ext4 partitions. Then I used EasyBCD to create a boot entry for the Libreelec (use the Linux/Syslinux option). Set which boot option I want to be default and it 's done. Now it a basic Windows 10 installation with an option to boot into Libreelec. I actually have mine set with Libreelec as the default boot.

  • thx for all this Input! But I have the same Problem! After the Gparted Point Windows cancel the Installation Process with this Message "Windows could not prepare the computer to boot into the next phase of installation. To install Windows, restart the installation" any Tips what I can do now!?

  • You need to create two empty ext4 partitions at the beginning of the disk as placeholders for the Libreelec. then install Windows in the remaining part of the disk. Windows will then install in the remaining disk space as two partitions. The ext4 partitions must be empty. If there is a Linux OS in the ext4 partition then Windows will not install. Windows 10 installation needs to control booting.

  • You need to create two empty ext4 partitions at the beginning of the disk as placeholders for the Libreelec. then install Windows in the remaining part of the disk. Windows will then install in the remaining disk space as two partitions. The ext4 partitions must be empty. If there is a Linux OS in the ext4 partition then Windows will not install. Windows 10 installation needs to control booting.

    Thankyou for your solution but I have a question as I'm not very tech-savvy...


    ...and then can you put a clean installation of Librelec into the ext4 partition after windows is installed ? Or does this only work if you are copying an already working copying of Librelec as I saw on your other post?

    INTEL NUC 3050

  • Hi mwake. Yes you have to copy an already working LibreElec from one disk/drive to the reserved ext4 partitions of your new drive otherwise a new installation of LibreElec will just overwrite your entire disk. The presence of the ext4 partitions will make Windows install after them. Once the Window 10 has installed it will ignore the ext4 partitions as the boot record will tell it to start at the third partition. Now you can copy your LibreElec to these ext4 placeholder partitions. I used MiniPartition Wizard. It's probably easiest to have Minipartition Wizard empty the ext4 placeholder first and then you can just copy the first ext4 partition to the empty space and then the second ext4 partition to the remaining empty space.

  • INTEL NUC 3050

    • Best Answer

    I then used a GPart live boot disk to delete these partitions and recreate 2 empty ext4 partitions the size of my Libreelec installation at the beginning an empty drive (that way the Libreelec would remain in dev/sda1 and dev/sda2 like my existing Libreelec). Then I installed Windows 10 in the remaining space. Windows 10 will then install in only two partitions combining the System and Recovery as one and the Windows partition as the other. Once in Windows, I installed Mini Partition Wizard Free and EasyBCD. I used the Mini Partition Wizard to copy the Libreelec off of my existing SD card on to their respective ext4 partitions. Then I used EasyBCD to create a boot entry for the Libreelec (use the Linux/Syslinux option). Set which boot option I want to be default and it 's done. Now it a basic Windows 10 installation with an option to boot into Libreelec. I actually have mine set with Libreelec as the default boot.

    Hi mwake. You are starting with a blank drive on your new computer. It's easiest to use the GPart live boot disc to create the 2 empty ext4 partitions. Linux/LibreElec will refer to these partitions as dev/sda1 and dev/sda2. Now insert your Windows 10 disk and install Windows 10 on the the remaining part of the empty disk. If you are using a Windows 10 USB make sure it is formatted as MBR and not the new GPT style (Rufus is a good program for doing this). Once Windows 10 installation is completed, download and install Mini Partition Wizard and EasyBCD. Connect the drive holding your functional Libreelec installation. Open Mini Partition Wizard and delete the ext4 partition placeholders on Windows 10 drive. Now copy(clone) the two ext4 partitions from your Libreelec drive to the empty space you just created. Now you have a functional Libreelec on your new drive. Now use EasyBCD to create a second boot option (use the Linux/Syslinux option) to point to the Libreelec. The next time the computer boots you will see an option to boot to Windows 10 or Libreelec (you can set one or the other as default)

  • Hi mwake. You are starting with a blank drive on your new computer. It's easiest to use the GPart live boot disc to create the 2 empty ext4 partitions. Linux/LibreElec will refer to these partitions as dev/sda1 and dev/sda2. Now insert your Windows 10 disk and install Windows 10 on the the remaining part of the empty disk. If you are using a Windows 10 USB make sure it is formatted as MBR and not the new GPT style (Rufus is a good program for doing this). Once Windows 10 installation is completed, download and install Mini Partition Wizard and EasyBCD. Connect the drive holding your functional Libreelec installation. Open Mini Partition Wizard and delete the ext4 partition placeholders on Windows 10 drive. Now copy(clone) the two ext4 partitions from your Libreelec drive to the empty space you just created. Now you have a functional Libreelec on your new drive. Now use EasyBCD to create a second boot option (use the Linux/Syslinux option) to point to the Libreelec. The next time the computer boots you will see an option to boot to Windows 10 or Libreelec (you can set one or the other as default)

    Ah this is awesome thankyou for taking the time to write this out again for me I really appreciate it.


    PS: The internet can be such a great place to receive help from kind strangers, I wish there was a system whereby we could tip people for patient kind and clear replies like this..I'm a real noob at this I would never have figured that on my own... hopefully next time I report back it will be to say I got it working thanks again 👍

    INTEL NUC 3050

  • Good luck with it mwake. This is best configuration for my LibreElec. I know it can be done with Grub2Win but I wanted to keep the Windows bootloader. Windows 10 updates twice a year and it tends to re-write the MBR. I didn't want to have to deal with recovering GRUB each time. I'm not really that versed with Linux. This way Windows 10 is free to do what it wants and neither OS interfere with each other.

    • Official Post

    Windows 10 updates twice a year and it tends to re-write the MBR. I didn't want to have to deal with recovering GRUB each time. I'm not really that versed with Linux.

    I'm using separate SSDs for each OS at the moment (perhaps overkill, I know, but some of the smaller SSDs are quite cheap). Running Ubuntu / Windows / LibreELEC for now on the office PC. I didn't know about Windows rewriting the bootloader with each big update. I'm using Ubuntu as my daily driver along with its GRUB loader, so I guess I dodged a bullet there.