Setting up new (2nd) HA - and totally bewildered

I have experimented with HAOS on a RPi4, but it only had 1GB of RAM and I used it as a bit of testing and familiarity playground so when I moved house I planned to upgrade what I was running things on.

I ummed and ahhed about getting an RPi 5 with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and whether to get an NVMe drive and add ons that I eventually gave up and impulsively jumped on a deal for an N100 miniPC I saw (16GB RAM, 500GB SSD) which cost less than a Pi with all the necessary gubbins added. I now have this thing but don’t think I’d fully appreciated the increase in difficulty getting this thing to run HA the way I want to e.g. I hadn’t really registered that add-ons don’t exist in the docker container version, and anything I’ve read about how to get add-ons in such a setup has been utterly bewildering to me. Is it possible to do either of these things below? The concept of HAOS seems much less intimidating to me. The only hardware beyond networking for now is a I plan to use a zigbee radio with HA, which I had working on the RPi4 playground version.

  1. Partition the drive on the miniPC, leaving 250GB for the existing Windows install, say, and 250GB on another, and install HAOS to that new partition, and set it to boot to that drive? Is this simple (I’ve dual booted to Linux distros before) and what would the shortcomings be?
  2. Run HAOS as a VM on the existing Windows install OR within a user-friendly Linux distribution. What are the shortcomings here?

Also, any advantages of them would be great, or putting the N100 machine aside and just going with the Pi5 and the familiar.

Why have Windows at all? You wouldn’t do so with a Pi5.

Someone more knowledgeable than me can probably give you a more detailed answer, but option 1 has the disadvantage that you can’t run both systems at the same time.

Personally I’ve gone with option 2. Installed Ubuntu and run HA in a VM. That means HA is chugging away happily in the VM and I can use Ubuntu at the same time. Only disadvantage is that it’s a bit more work setting up the VM - network bridge and passing through devices.

There’s plenty of guides how to do this; it’s not that hard…plus you might learn something :smiling_face:

I agree with jerrm. I would go with this because it is easy, simple, and you can get into the more advanced VM stuff later if you want.

Your mini PC is way better than a RPi5, so stick with it.
I would recommend installing Proxmox on it and then install HAOS in a VM.
HAOS will not use much of the power the mini PC use, so having Proxmox means you can install other VMs when you in the future need that.

Proxmox is a Linux hypervisor, which means it is a Linux distro that is made specially to run VMs and containers.
It might seem confusing in the beginning, but it has a GUI and lots of guides on the net, so you will quickly learn it.
Proxmox is actually a paid program, but it can be run in a free try-out version that only have a single nack popup window at login, and since you rarely needs to login, then it is little annoyance.


+1 for Proxmox and that nag screen can be disabled.
Snapshots, backups, running VM’s and Linux containers becomes very easy to do.

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If I come up with other uses for the machine later. I’m not wedded to Windows, mind, it’s more having a more all-purpose ‘master’ OS that I could have doing other things beyond HA appeals to me. I’m quite happy for it to be a reasonably well-documented Linux distribution.

Your plan would make an awful system as home assistant would would not work when you are using windows.

What in earth do you think windows can do that Linux can’t. It’s more likely the other way round.

Then I would probably go the proxmox route, but a vm setup under Debian/Ubuntu/etc would be OK too.

Disclaimer: Other than the occasional desktop/notebook, I haven’t run anything on x64/86 bare metal professionally or personally in well over 20 years. I was a bleeding edge adopter of the first VMWare GSX and ESX beta’s circa 2000.

If you start using home automation and change vital functionality of your house, you want HA to be available all the time so there is no purpose for dual booting that system.

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If you want a Master-OS, do as I suggested. Install Linux and run HA in a VM. There’s no reason to go the Proxmox route in that case.

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Why the combative tone? I don’t think Windows can do anything Linux can’t – I’ve used Linux distros as a daily driver before. I’m aware if you don’t boot into it, the HA instance would be absent/dormant and unusable. I was simply asking whether it was possible to use HA in a partition so I don’t have to totally nuke the OS the device came with and could revive it later without reflashing stuff, that’s all.

That is possible, of course. I’m guessing the Windows installation, it came with, has a digital license, so even if you nuke it, you’ll be able to reinstall and activate Windows.

Like you say, plus there’s often a small recovery partition, so if you just leave that, you can normally recover by using the BIOS (or rather UEFI) to boot again from it. Or something like that. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on that level with Windows.

Microsoft provide image downloader apps free on the internet for digital licens installations.
You just need a USB stick of 8Gb or more.