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I currently own a Dell Vostro 3446 Laptop that came with Windows pre-installed. After a year of using Windows 8.1, I am thinking of switching over to Linux (most likely Fedora). My friend has Ubuntu installed on his laptop. I like the interface and am comfortable with it. I also have the Windows recovery disk that came in the box. So I am pretty sure there shouldn't be a problem if something goes wrong. But still, I want to know what are the risks if I install Linux on my laptop (clean install/overwrite Windows)?

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    There are no risks. As long as you know what you are doing when you install Fedora you should be just fine. One piece of advice: if you have a dedicated nVidia card and an integrated Intel card make sure you research about bumblebee and how to make optimus work on your laptop.
    – Alex
    Sep 8 '15 at 9:56
  • The worst that can happen is some combination of the kernel or driver refuse to activate power saving and you end up with hot CPU/GPU that you continuously ignore and permanently damage the hardware in the very long run. Of course being a laptop you wouldn't ignore if the keyboard become too hot to type and would've solve the problem long before any permanent damage.
    – Martheen
    Sep 8 '15 at 10:06
  • Most Linux installs will natively allow you to dual boot between windows and linux at startup - So you can always switch back to windows. Sep 8 '15 at 10:21
  • Don't worry, Linux is not particular. Sep 8 '15 at 10:21
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The only real risk you are taking is both loss of data and the inability to go back to Windows. If you didn't get a recovery disc or do not have a Windows OEM disc, reinstalling Windows will be a little harder. Other then that, you should be good to go.

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If you are unsure perhaps try VirtualBox. This allows you to run the OS on a sandbox virtual computer. It is not exactly the same as having it installed on your computer but it might flag any potential compatibility issues e.g. I have known incompatible drivers that might stop you using certian input devices.

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