Why Dual Boot?

Dual booting is dead. Or is it?

People have ditched dual booting for good and are moving towards VMs.

Today, VMs have come at par with an OS running on bare metal. But does that mean dual booting is totally dead?

I don’t think so. Dual booting can be a boon to the old hardware.

Experimenting with bleeding edge software, hopping between Linux distros, or compartmentalizing each aspect of your life…dual booting is an easy answer without compromising on performance.

I, myself, wouldn’t have entered the Linux world if it hadn’t been for dual booting. Even with decent hardware, I just couldn’t get my laptop to play nice with a virtual machine. The VM wouldn’t boot, would crash or simply be awfully slow. There was no telling what surprise it held for me each time.

Besides, I didn’t get the native feel of an OS in a VM.

And that is where dual booting came to my rescue.

Misconceptions about dual booting

Setting up dual boot is very difficult

Although I admit setting up and maintaining dual boot setup was quite cumbersome back in the days, now, with UEFI and other standards the situation has improved a lot better. Some OSs even automate it for you.

You need to wipe the entire disk to get rid of dual boot / Dual boot changes are destructive

That’s not true. The changes you make to your system to setup a dual boot are easily reversible and non-destructive.

You do not need a fresh start to go back to the previous state of having only one primary OS. Nothing changes on your laptop besides a boot menu through which you select the OS to boot into. Both operating systems run independent of each other and do not care about other’s existence.

If you decide, at any point of time, that you do not want it, just follow my article here to erase the secondary OS without leaving any trace.

Dual booting causes data loss

This turns to be a major reason most people avoid dual boot or learning a new OS at all. I used to think the same.

At the time, I was just 12 and the laptop I was using was the primary machine in the house. I knew that if I screwed up, there was no way I was getting that laptop back.

But, if done right, there’s absolutely no chance of data loss. There are only two key factors that might lead to a data loss. wrong partitioning, or inappropriately booting into another OS without completely shutting down the other. (Windows Fastboot, I am looking at you 👀)

Dual booting slows down your PC

The only thing that slows down is your boot time, which is used by the menu to choose your OS. It adds around 5 seconds for each boot, and you can change it if you prefer to.

Dual booting is unsafe

Eh…true but not true. With safe practices followed, all threats can be kept at bay. But there is a possibility that one might end up infecting the drives or exposing certain driver bugs.

So, should you dual boot?

If you have a spare machine at hand or you just like tinkering with stuff, and have enough patience to read wikis and forums, I don’t see why not to dual boot. Learning something is never waste.

For geeks like me, learning Linux is a no-brainer. But at the same time jumping off the Windows bandwagon isn’t easy. You have to re-learn almost every software and re-adjust your workflow from scratch. Dual booting is a nice way to test and break things, get comfortable with Linux ecosystem and/or reviving old machines.

These are just some of the points I wish someone had listed so bluntly while I was starting out. Ultimately, the decision is yours! 😉