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UEFI - manually swap two SSDs with different OS

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HP Elitebook 840 G1

I have an HP Elitebook 840 G1 running UEFI.

 

The first SDD is running an encrypted Ubuntu install. I was unable to get dual boot Windows 10 alongside an encrypted Ubuntu install (I can with unencrypted Ubuntu install). Not the current issue I am looking to resolve.

 

The problem:

I have a second SSD lying around, on which I wanted to install Win10 on it. I removed the first SSD from the laptop and installed the second SSD. However, the laptop does not boot the new SSD under UEFI. As such, I am unable to install Windows 10 on the second SSD. When I turn the computer on, it presents a grey screen and suggests to turn off the computer.

 

Usually, under legacy BIOS you could swap hard drives with different OS's and it would work.

Is there a limitation on swapping the SSDs under UEFI?
Is there a solution to this?

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@Subaron 

From your description, it sounds like the second SSD is blank -- and a PC can not boot from a blank SSD.,  It must have boot loader files on it in order to boot.

 

Additionally, if you want to boot the second SSD in UEFI mode, then you need to format it using GPT not MBR and you need to have Windows install media that supports UEFI booting.

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@WAWood Thanks for the pointers. Yes, you are correct the second SSD is blank. I am trying to install Win10 on with a Win10 USB install media.

 

Follow up questions:

  1. I have an external enclosure for the SSD that I can connect to my laptop for formatting the SSD to GPT. How do I format the SSD to GPT under Ubuntu/windows? When I had installed Ubuntu in UEFI mode I did not have to perform the GPT format (the first SSD was blank as well).
  2. I am assuming the boot loader files will be installed on the second SSD during the win 10 installation process.
  3. How do I ensure that the Win10 USB install media I have is compatible with UEFI mode? I have used the same media in BIOS Legacy mode to install Windows on the same laptop before.

 

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1. I formatted the SSD to GPT format in "Disks" application in Ubuntu.

https://www.ubuntubuzz.com/2020/02/how-to-format-disk-drive-as-gpt-on-ubuntu.html

 

2. Installed the drive in the laptop and inserted the USB installation media (this media is had I had used on Legacy BIOS. Did not do anything special, it ran on UEFI).

 

3. Booted the laptop and pressed ESC, then pressed F9 and was presented the following options:

  • External USB Hard Drive
  • Notebook Ethernet IPV4
  • Notebook Ethernet IPV6
  • Boot From EFI File
  • ubuntu

I select External USB Hard Drive (which is the inserted Win10 Media USB). The laptop rebooted and the Win10 installation screen came up. I went through the installation steps and had a working Win10.

 

I was able to swap the SSD back to the original Ubuntu and log in without any issues.

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