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I want to run Windows Vista 64bit (Eventually Windows 7) and Ubuntu on the same machine.

I want to play games and do graphic design in Windows. I want to write code, surf the internet, check email, and do everything else primarily on Linux.

Windows obviously can't be hosted in a VM since I want to do intense graphics stuff, but I was wondering if it would make more sense to go ahead and run a VM with Linux on it, which would require me to boot into Windows and and start the Linux VM every time. Or, If I should just dual boot, and boot into Linux about 80% of the time, and just restart when I need to use Windows.

I don't have much experience in this area and I'm leaning more towards dual-booting at the moment. Can you guys shed some light on the subject? Is it better to dual-boot or just run a Linux VM?

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5 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Dual boot is a waste of time. I describe it to people as "the 5-minute alt-tab". It's a pain to configure, and because you can't run both OSes at once, when you need the one you're not running, you have to kill off every app and reboot.

I avoid dual boot like the plague. VM all the way.

Or, just use a single OS that does what you want. Windows with Cygwin provides a lot of the Unixy stuff that most people need.

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+1 that's a good point, what I would gain in performance from dual-booting would most likely be overshadowed by context-switching between Windows and Linux. –  Robert Greiner Sep 11 '09 at 17:37
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I totally disagree - if you're a gamer, having a stripped down windows install is definately the way to go. –  Phoshi Sep 11 '09 at 17:59
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Wouldn't running Linux in VM as opposed to naively take away one of the main benefits of Linux? You'd still have the system resources of Vista (even if stripped) pulling on the machine then, running the linux vm on top. I guess it depends on what your main concern is when using Linux. Also I don't know the answer to this but has anybody tried using WINE to run Windows games in Linux? I wouldn't imagine it would work but I could be wrong. –  Daddy Su Sep 11 '09 at 19:51
    
Wine is extremely buggy. I dual boot Debian and Vista, but I don't use Debian that much. I tried to play Starcraft on Wine and battle.net was a mess. There is a program (but it's not free) that works perfect. I can't think of the name of it. I think it's called Cedega. –  xxl3ww Sep 11 '09 at 20:06
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if you don't need the full potential of your graphics card for your Linux application, then Virtualization will certainly suffice. if you do, then native Linux is mandatory.

but don't let ZimmyDubZongyZongDubby scare you with his remarks. Wubi is a painless and easy way (and thus ideal for novices) to setup any flavour of Ubuntu in a Windows/Linux dualboot environment. install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way.

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I installed linux first. Then i tried VMing windows. Some of the products Virtualbox (Sun's i believe) don't support direct X. So if you're doing 3d modeling this may be an issue.

I ended up having to install XP in a dual boot and just mounting all the drives from linux when i want to access it.

I'm about to go through a install of 7 (tonight likely) and i will be installing windows and probably virtual machining linux. Though if you're just looking at console usage i would try "Cygwin".

One of the virtual machine programs did support directx 7 (VMWare) though i believe.

Edit: The ubuntu guide seems to have been taken down but heres a rip of it i believe. http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-499240.html

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Install windows, and run Linux in a VM.... but use an xwindows software like xwin-32 or similar to bring your linux windows forward to your MS windows desktop.

I think you'll like working this way, as you'll have terminal windows and be able to open more or less any non graphic intense linux app seamlessly. You'll be able to mix and match.

If you need more processor for running a game, you just shut down the linux VM..

VirtualBox, or VMWare Server should both work pretty well.

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I think you will find having your primary OS inside a VM to be awkward. It can't hurt to give the VM a try. Backup your /home directory to a location elsewhere than the VM and if you ever feel the desire to go native you can take your configurations with you.

If you do a lot of mixing where you are going from the tasks you'd use Linux for and the things you'd use Windows for VM might be the best since dual boot will require you to limit these switches. Personally I only use Windows for games, but I still have to configure it to be a little more homey since I do want to check my email without rebooting (luckily most of this web based).

If you have an Nvidia card Wine will run many newer games well. The name of the commercial branches are codeweavers and Cedega. ATi you might get games to work.

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