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To Dual-Boot or not to Dual-Boot? Windows + Linux: Pros and Cons

by Felix Omondi
dual boot

The choice of your computer operating system (OS) is critical. As the OS is the lifeblood of your work or gaming rig and will determine what kind of software you will be running and using to interact with the hardware you want to use. The biggest concern when it comes to software is compatibility; does your OS work well with that productivity tool software you use for work or that video game you want to waste bad guys on? Dual boot presents the best solution as it tends to give you more options on the same computer.

For most people, dual boot option is between Windows vs. Linux, or macOS vs. Linux. In rare cases you find users having to choose between Windows vs. macOS, since running a Hackintosh comes with its more than fair share of complication. You will have to find a way around Apple’s proprietary OS, given they don’t license it to run on any other machine other than Apple computers.

Now, back to the Windows vs. Linux or macOS vs. Linux option

Dual booting is essentially having two operating systems side-by-side during the boot process. You can only choose to boot just one of the OS at a time.

The Pros of Dual Boot

It’s easier on your machine than Virtual Machine: You can run one OS right on top of another OS using a virtual machine. However, running a VM usually takes a toll on your machines’ resources. If your computer is not that beefy on the hardware resources department, it will be frustrating to run a VM, and thus you are just better off with dual booting.

Old School Gaming as well as New Games: Though gaming on Windows is the best, the current version of Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) no longer support old school games that came in 16-bit. However, Linux can still run those old school games (the 16-bit ones), so if you dual boot both Linux and Windows, you can play both old schools and new games side-by-side.

It is always better on Linux: Linux comes with such a conducive platform for programming, with some of the most advanced programming languages including C/C++, Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP, and Java among others. Not forgetting the bash support alongside numerous coding apps, all available for free. The fact that you are comfortable around Linux makes for a killer resume when job hunting.

It’s quite easy: There are always these misconceptions that setting up a dual boot on a machine is quite complicated. Truth is, it simpler than you probably think. Plus, there are numerous tutorials online you can watch to make the process easier. However, as a rule of thumb, always install Linux as the second OS, after installing Windows or macOS on the computer. Installing Linux first often lead to problems during boot up.

Reasons why not to Dual Boot

Setting up dual boot is not tricky in by itself. However, if you want to share files from one ecosystem to the other, within the same machine. You might get frustrated because for one, accessing Linux files via Windows sometimes proves to be a bit tricky. That’s because Linux uses EXT4 file system, while Windows will need third-party apps to read such files.

Installing the dual boot is simpler, than uninstalling. When the day comes when you feel you no longer need the dual boot option, you will discover it is far much more laborious to uninstall the Linux from the machine than it was installing it in the first place.

A virtual machine offers you more and better options. Like we said earlier, a VM is an excellent option for running an operating system on top of another operating system. Provided your machine has the beefy hardware resources to match the demand of a VM.

At the end of the day, the choice to dual boot or not depends on your preference, need, and budget. Nonetheless, it makes a good start for someone who is starting to venture into the Linux world.

Related: Advantages And Disadvantages Of Rooting Your Android Phone

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