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Thread: Windows and UBUNTU

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    Windows and UBUNTU

    My PC has two separate hard drives. Is it possible to to have Windows on the one and UBUNTU on the other so that when I boot up I have a choice to which drive I can go to. I like working on Linux, but sometimes I have a program which needs a Windows OS and does not prefer working on two different machines.
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    Faan Kruger
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    Junior Member alan_martin's Avatar
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    Yes it is possible, I did it once and found it safer to use two hard drives than having a dual boot setup. I used the primary hard drive for Ubuntu and the secondary hard drive for Windows. Just remember that when you want to change the operating system e.g to boot up from Windows instead of Ubuntu Linux, you need to go to the Bios and disable one of the hard drives first. I n my case I had to disable the primary hard drive Hope this helps!

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    Thanks Alan, i'll give it a try.
    May I ask what you are doing now?
    Faan Kruger
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    Junior Member alan_martin's Avatar
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    Hi Faan, I am maintaining my database and tweaking a website. Why do you ask?

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    I was wondering which OS you are using now and if only one why not the other one anymore?
    Faan Kruger
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    Junior Member alan_martin's Avatar
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    Hi Faan at the time I was always a windows user until I heard about Ubuntu. So I installed Ubuntu onto my second hard drive so that I could play around with it without interfering with my windows stuff. I liked Ubuntu Linux so much that I found that I was booting more from it than windows. That is why I think it is a good idea to have a primary and a secondary hard drive on your machine. I have since migrated to Apple Mac and am loving it!

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    There are variations in setting up a dual boot system.

    The most common way is to use Grub. This will show a menu at startup, and you can choose whether to load Ubuntu or Windows.

    There is no need to disable a drive in the BIOS.

    The Ubuntu system will be able to see all files and folders on any drive by default.

    The second way is to load your second operating system in a virtual machine (VM). That way you can run it like you do a program in windows. It will have its own space and be independent. You can easily swap to windows that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Affront View Post
    There are variations in setting up a dual boot system.

    The most common way is to use Grub. This will show a menu at startup, and you can choose whether to load Ubuntu or Windows.

    There is no need to disable a drive in the BIOS.

    The Ubuntu system will be able to see all files and folders on any drive by default.

    The second way is to load your second operating system in a virtual machine (VM). That way you can run it like you do a program in windows. It will have its own space and be independent. You can easily swap to windows that way.
    I presume Grub is the window that opens when you boot up.

    I am not sure whether Ubuntu will show in the opening window whatever are on both drives? If it does then one can have Windows on the one drive and UBUNTU on the other?

    I have tried the VM way, but is very slow. I was told for a VM to be effective you have to have lots of RAM.
    Faan Kruger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faan View Post
    I presume Grub is the window that opens when you boot up.

    I am not sure whether Ubuntu will show in the opening window whatever are on both drives? If it does then one can have Windows on the one drive and UBUNTU on the other?

    I have tried the VM way, but is very slow. I was told for a VM to be effective you have to have lots of RAM.
    Grub is called a boot loader and starts up just after the BIOS POST. It gives a simple menu with options and is included with all Linux releases.

    You can tell the PC where to install Ubuntu. Grub will be given the identity of the HDD and sector etc.. I haven't tried it on another drive, but noticed that this was in fact the default option during the install on my PC (which has two drives on separate SATA controllers)

    Yes, a VM would need extra memory. There are options to set RAM allocations during setup, as well as video memory. I prefer the multi-boot scenario, and have Ubuntu, Win7 and Solaris (UNIX).

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    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Affront View Post
    Yes, a VM would need extra memory. There are options to set RAM allocations during setup, as well as video memory. I prefer the multi-boot scenario, and have Ubuntu, Win7 and Solaris (UNIX).
    I concur. The reason a VM needs lots of RAM is because you're actually running 2 OSs at once - i.e. each using a portion of RAM and thus taking it away from the other. So you'd need at least 2x the amount of RAM as you would with a Dual Boot setup. Even then you'd still not get the same performance out of the VM - remember it's sharing resources with the host OS, and to date they've not implemented any form of decent graphics acceleration in any of the VM's I know of (Apple's Parralels, Microsft's Virtual Machine, Oracle's Virtual Box, or VMWare). They all have a "software" graphics card which maps onto your hardware card - but usually has a lot less performance. To the point where some 3D programs/games will simply not run inside a VM, no matter what the PC's specs are. Then of course you also note that the CPU is shared between the 2, the VM setup allows you to give one or more cores to the VM OS - but then the host won't be able to use these cores.

    There are even other ways of booting into other OS's. E.g. having a USB external disc / flash-disc with Linux could also work. You'd simply restart the PC with the USB plugged in (some once-off Bios setting to first try booting from USB, then HDD). Previously I've actually done it this way - if the USB is unplugged my Laptop would boot into WinXP, if it's plugged in the Grub screen appears and defaults to Ubuntu.

    And if you're very careful, you could even run a dual-boot / VM combination. A non-recommended feature (I know of VirtualBox VM having this, so probably the others as well) is to link to a physical HDD or Partition instead of the default VM image. That way you can have a dual-boot working through Grub, while also allowing you to use the exact same Linux installation inside a VM on Windows. Though, I'm warning you - this can very easily corrupt discs (as both Windows & Linux try to work on those discs at the same time). If you do go this route, then make sure that Windows doesn't try to mount the Linux partition while the Linux VM is running. Other way round would be a similar story.
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