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Dual boot

Hello, me again, I am wondering does anyone consider a dual boot a good idea or a bad one? I wanted to get rid of windows vista but I have some files and other items I wanted to keep on there.So I was considering a dual boot instead, considering I could let guests, family and friends use the windows side to do what they wanted and I have a linux OS that I could do the things I wanted to.As my own personal space I guess. I was also wondering if anyone else has done this? Lastly if someone could explain the pros and cons that come with Dual booting, that would be awsome.

P.S. Sorry if this is in the wrong spot for the forums.I really didn't know where else to put this particular subject.

Comments

  • asedtasedt Posts: 96
    Only go for dual boot if you need it. I have not much personal experience from Vista but I have not heard much good. If you are a gamer I guess it can be a point of keep Windows because there is a lot of Windows only games. Most of them can be run in Linux with Wine etc but it means more work. (I dual boot with XP and use XP when I run some games, only because it was included on my computer when i got it).

    This is my experience:

    Pros of dual boot:
    You can still jump back to the other OS if you need or want to.
    You can test Linux more before you are sure.
    A software developer can test software on both platforms if targeting multi-platforms.

    Cons of dual boot:
    Less space for each OS/personal data.
    You have to choose (in Grub) at each startup what OS to start.
    You have to restart the computer to use the other one.
    You have your personal files in more than one place, harder to keep order.
    (With XP I can't access my Linux files from XP but my XP files from Linux)


    Check out some Live CD's or DVD's and choose the distribution you like. Test that hardware work, drivers for sound, graphics and network etc. Backup the files you need to keep from Windows and go Linux only is good solution.
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    The only cons would be during the setup. If you follow the instructions for whichever distro you intend to install, once it's set up I don't see any cons. While in the past I used to wipe Windows off of my machines, I now leave it on, so I can help if others have problems with it.

    I use EasyBCD when I dual boot, it's Windows approved, so it doesn't interfere with the Windows bootloader. On this link here, at the bottom of the page, there are detailed instructions on how to use it with Fedora and Ubuntu.
    http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Linux

    Some distros set up their own bootloader and allow you to boot Windows from that, many do it automatically for you. You should read the link I gave you, then, read whatever instructions come with the distro your going to dual boot with before you start your adventure.

    The pros are that you get to keep both operating systems on your computer, although, the only time I boot up the Windows side on my laptops is to keep Windows up to date. Oh, and one of my business associates likes using Go-To-Meeting, which is a Windows only program. There are Linux alternatives, but he's stubborn.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

    BTW - "Getting started with Linux" might have been a better forum, but, here's good too. If you have more detailed questions, we could move it to that forum, it might get more responses.

    Edit: I see Aron beat me posting, he's got good pros and cons and has good advice also.
  • The other thing to remember is that if you're going to have 2 OSs on the same drive, make sure Windows is installed first. Installing Windows second tends to mess up an existing Linux installation. Much easier to install Linux after Windows than vice versa.
  • Why thank you for the replies everyone.All of you have been very helpful :) . Just one question for goineasy9. Will that EasyBCD work for online downloaded OS? Or disk only?
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    EasyBCD gets installed inside Windows. After you install your linux distro, whether it be from a CD, DVD or netinstall, before you make your first boot into the new distro, you boot into windows, open EasyBCD and let it configure the bootmanager to find the linux distro (which it does automatically, it searches the partitions for instances of grub).
    Then, when you restart your computer, a boot manager appears asking whether you want to boot into Windows or Linux.

    The only tricky part is when you're installing your Linux distro. During the disk partitioning, you have to make sure you don't write grub to the MBR (Master Boot Record). Actually, this is the tricky part whether you're using EasyBCD or not. If you write grub to the MBR, then you overwrite the Windows boot manager. All is not lost however if that mistake is made, since the Windows recovery disk will allow you rewrite the bootmanager.

    I've done this process a bunch of times and have had problems myself, which is why when I'm making a dual boot I always have the Windows disks close by so I can fix what I break. Right now I'm planning on dual booting an Asus EEE laptop that I just bought, but, since the laptop doesn't have a CDROM drive, I'm making sure that I have recovery programs written on bootable USB sticks in case I have a problem. This is not to scare you off of dual booting, but, one must read and know all the steps beforehand. You have to know how to make room and partition your hard disk, you have to know what partitions contain your Windows install and you have to know what partitions are empty so you can install Linux to the correct partitions and not the partitions containing the Windows install. Finding out all this info is easy, and, we can help you through it, step by step, but, it's up to you to familiarize yourself with the steps before you proceed.

    Hope this helped.

    BTW - It's not as scary as it sounds, and, even though I use the EasyBCD method, some distros set up the dual boot automatically, they just use the Linux bootloader instead of the Windows bootloader. It's not my choice, but it is the choice of a great many Linux users that dual boot. If you want to go in that direction, maybe others here can chime in with their experiences.
  • RSimsRSims Posts: 146
    Easiest way is to pop in a ubuntu disk and run wubi.exe, this installs ubuntu like a application on windows without needing it's own partition space on your hard drive. However I would not recommend this, for best performance, I have my own method which is this:

    **FIRST BACK UP ANYTHING IMPORTANT**


    1. Pop Ubuntu or your preferred Linux disc into the computer
    2. Press "Full install" if using Ubuntu, follow the steps if using different distro
    3. Choose specify something else/Custom partition
    4. Delete current partition/s
    5. Create your partitions in this order : Swap (2-5GB, Logical drive and at the beginning), Then create a new partition: ext4 Linux primary and size it as large or small as you would like.
    6. finish install
    7. install windows in the free space left over
    8. recover Linux by popping the Linux cd back in and doing a recovery because windows wiped out grub from your master boot record.
    9 update and secure both.
    10. Your done!

    The reason I do it this way is that the speed of Linux regardless of distribution is highly dependent on SWAP being the very first partition on your hard drive. Even if your computer has plenty of physical RAM you still need SWAP to be in the beginning and the very first partition. This has made a huge difference in my performance.
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    That's a very interesting point about swap, I''m going to have to look at that.
  • saqman2060saqman2060 Posts: 777
    You should turn this into a manual for all easy-doers.
  • saqman2060saqman2060 Posts: 777
    This was a crazy setup I had a while ago when I was trying to dualboot 2 linux OSs with windows. They way it was setup was by using a harddisk for each OS, and installing without having the disks connected. Then, in bios, choose the disk with the desired OS the system will boot. I'm going to set this up again. It actually worked good.
  • spixxspixx Posts: 9
    Would like to see the any and all information on the lvm swap on first partition? In any case I will try this :)
  • RSimsRSims Posts: 146
    One off thing I noticed regarding ubuntu/debian and fedora install is that when your setting up your custom partitions and make the swap, then the ext4 in that order to make SWAP first; for some reason fedora changes it so that the ext4 is first. Debian and ubuntu however leave it how I originally did it like I wanted.

    I don't know if someone more familiar with fedora would also have this problem or not.

    I believe I was able to get around this however with fedora, by setting up my partitions using the ubuntu disk, then installing fedora.
  • Goineasy9Goineasy9 Posts: 1,116
    I've seen the switch in partition order. Even though I have yet to put swap first, I usually set it up last, the order still changes. It was annoying but I never tried to find out why. This may call for an entry into the redhat bugzilla.
    I'm doing a dual boot install soon and may watch how the partitions are created a bit more closely this time. All of a sudden I don't want to accept that they switch, but, want to know why they are switching.
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    RSims wrote:
    The reason I do it this way is that the speed of Linux regardless of distribution is highly dependent on SWAP being the very first partition on your hard drive. Even if your computer has plenty of physical RAM you still need SWAP to be in the beginning and the very first partition. This has made a huge difference in my performance.

    That is not true.

    Besides... who uses SWAP nowadays?

    Ram is so cheap that if you ever reach the point where you really need the swap then... GET MORE RAM!!!

    :)

    Regards
  • saqman2060saqman2060 Posts: 777
    Swap is another reason to utilize all of a hard drive.
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    saqman2060 wrote:
    Swap is another reason to utilize all of a hard drive.

    I don't understand what you mean :S
  • saqman2060saqman2060 Posts: 777
    marc wrote:
    saqman2060 wrote:
    Swap is another reason to utilize all of a hard drive.

    I don't understand what you mean :S

    Basically, you are using leftover drive space that is not being occupied. Instead of purchasing new ram, you can use what you already have a lot of. ;)
  • marcmarc Posts: 647
    saqman2060 wrote:
    marc wrote:
    saqman2060 wrote:
    Swap is another reason to utilize all of a hard drive.

    I don't understand what you mean :S

    Basically, you are using leftover drive space that is not being occupied. Instead of purchasing new ram, you can use what you already have a lot of. ;)

    Yikes :S

    RAM is like a gazillion times faster than swap....
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