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I'm running windows 8 on top of a computer that came with windows 7 and I'm wanting to get Linux to run well on my computer.

I've installed Ubuntu on my computer as a Virtual Machine, but it doesn't seem to have the power that I'd like it to have.

I've partitioned drives for Linux and I've had problems in the past of loosing my windows installation due to a poor boot system.

Should I even try it again, if I loose it, I may have to go without windows 8 for a couple of weeks?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you're installing a modern Linux distribution, the Ubuntu installer should recognize the Windows partition and set everything up automatically if you choose the dual boot option when running the installer. As long as you install Linux after installing Windows, you should have no problem.

The other way around is usually the source problem, if you install Windows after installing Linux then the Windows installer will overwrite GRUB and Linux may not boot. You'll need to boot into a Live CD and reinstall GRUB to fix that.

Having said that, there is always a danger when resizing partition if you lose power, etc. In general, resizing from Live CD is safer than resizing from inside the OS installed on the disk, although the harddisk operation tools in both Windows and Linux are very mature and danger is quite minimal. If this is on a laptop, make sure you're connected to the main power AND that the battery is fully charged.

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I've been using Linux since 2003, and have yet to accidentally kill a Windows partition, so in my experience it's not that dangerous. Still, you should make sure you have a backup of anything on the drive before you resize partitions. (Or before you do anything else.)

If you don't want to do that, but still want to try Linux natively, you could install it to a USB drive. Disk access will be somewhat slower, but you'll have native hardware access - particularly video, which is the only thing that's still rather imperfect in all the VM software I've used.

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