Back in 2009 or earlier, I was still using Windows operating system. That is when I discovered Linux had better support for PC hardware, so I had successfully dual boot using Wubi with ease. It was dual boot between Windows XP and Ubuntu 8.04.

The problem

Not long after that, I had attempted to set up traditional dual boot i.e. Install Windows first, then followed by Linux on a budget laptop. It was a bad decision. This time, I think it was Windows XP and Ubuntu 10.04 (or newer, can't recall).

Despite successful, I had trouble to work with the Wi-Fi card: one moment it worked in Linux, but later if I boot into Windows the Wi-Fi card is not detected. What I did after this was history:

  • I did a hardware scan manually from Device Manager, then I got the Wi-Fi back in Windows

  • Next time I boot into Linux, I lose the Wi-Fi connection and card is not present again; I didn't know how to perform hardware detection manually on Linux, so I reinstall Linux again

  • This time I boot into Linux, Wi-Fi worked properly again

  • Boot into Windows again, I lose Wi-Fi card again.

By the time I performed the fresh installation of Linux for third time, I totally lost the Wi-Fi card at all. It was never detected again on both Windows and Linux. I finally realized that I had permanently damaged the Wi-Fi card. This was first time.

Few years later, I repeated the history. I damaged again another Wi-Fi card, this time on different laptop with different hardware specification. At this point, I finally learned that setting up traditional dual boot has risk of permanently damage hardware components on laptops (I haven't experience on Desktop, since it relies on Ethernet/LAN interface rather than a Wi-Fi card).

Since then, I had totally migrated to Linux and I vow to never dual boot Windows and Linux again.

TL;DR (summary)

Set up dual boot between Windows and Ubuntu by partitioning works, except the Wi-Fi card detection was detected only on either system (never able to use Wi-Fi on both). Forced hardware scanning and repeated fresh installation had permanently damaged the Wi-Fi card on two different laptops.

The question

Today in 2015, is there any risk of damaging hardware by setting up a traditional dual boot of Windows and Linux? If yes, how to avoid the hardware damage when setting up dual boot and still able to use the same hardware components on both Windows and Linux?

Similar problems (remain unanswered as Oct 2015)

  • You cannot damage hardware by dual-booting the reason the device stopped working was likely for a different reason. Dual-booting is extremely easy. You install one operating system and leave unallocated space on the disk, you then install the second operating system on that unallocated space, you then fix the boot strap ( GRUB/Windows Loader/Ect). How you dual-boot Linux and Windows has not changed in the last 13 years.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:19
  • I had this problem a couple of years ago with dual-boot XP and Ubuntu in separate partitions (not Wubi). I found that powering off completely (disconnecting mains plug and battery) allowed each OS to boot successfully. Since then I've had no problem with dual Windows 8.1/10 and Ubuntu, but this may be due to different hardware rather than driver changes in the individual operating systems.
    – AFH
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 11:29
  • @Ramhound Are you sure..? Even just by booting Linux on a new laptop can brick a new hardware machine, why not the case with dual boot?
    – user109256
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 15:10
  • @clearkimura - The particular news organization you linked to cannot be considered a serious news organization. What you describe isn't "bricking" a device anyways. Bricking a computer would make it so it does not even POST, which isn't what you describe, you just indicate a single part in the device stopped working. You also admit you didn't know how to fix the problem, at the time, within Linux.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 15:46
  • @Ramhound The same news has been published on Ars Technica, PCWorld etc. so anyone can google it. Anyway, does that mean my question is now invalid?
    – user109256
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 17:17

3 Answers 3


Dual boot might not be the problem by itself, but could be a trigger to known issues.

Known issues

In one case, it is possible that dual boot could reveal a bug for existing driver of certain hardware, according to this Debian Wiki quoted below.

If your wifi interface is not available in Windows after you installed and booted Debian, this is due to a bug in the Windows driver of your card.

In another case, Windows is said to have disabled the wireless card when power off, causing Wi-Fi to be unavailable to Linux on a dual boot machine, according to this forum thread quoted below.

This is possibly due to windows having trouble to establish a wireless connection, then it shuts down the wireless card to save power. Unfortunately on some systems, bios/efi doesn't re-enable the card at next boot.

Workaround exists for both cases above.


Today in 2015, is there any risk of damaging hardware by setting up a traditional dual boot of Windows and Linux?

Yes and no. There are known issues when dual boot Windows and Linux on some machines. Dual boot by itself doesn't or very unlikely to damage the hardware, but it can lead to certain hardware i.e. wireless adapter to be disabled and inaccessible to another system i.e. Linux.

How unlucky of me back then, because these findings are dated late-2012 or newer; I'd migrated to Linux several years earlier than dated. Moreover, those laptops with damaged or disabled wireless adapter have been discarded since then, so I can't test the workarounds either.

Anyway, I'm glad that I'd discovered the relevant explanations with sources above.


I dual booted for a couple of year with Ubuntu at versions 11 through 12 and never experienced any hardware issues.

You could try avoiding the yubi option. You could try just dual booting. Start with Windows and add Ubuntu using a standard install disk. This might help avoid the bricking issue (should it still exist). With this approach each OS may be able to use it's own drivers without the issue.

It's also possible (though very unlikely) that you had two bad network cards.

  • wubi hasn't been supported or updated since 2012. I have no idea what yubi is.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 12:20
  • Both network cards were working perfectly when Windows was the only system on those machines. How can it become "bad" when it is used with another operating system like Linux?
    – user109256
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 15:12
  • @clearkimura - It can't. I suspect you just were not loading the correct device driver, in the question itself, you admit to now knowing how to fix the issue within Linux.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 15:48

1. it may be you're version of windows/mac (OLD/OUTDATED).

2. it may be the Linux version you're using.

3. it may be outdated drivers or you're pc.


1. Make sure you're drivers and pc/mac is up to date.

2. Make sure you're Linux is up to date.

Try one of those methods, if they don't work let me know.

  • -1 because this answer has no useful information at all. Also, the question has been answered back in 2015 with most details.
    – user109256
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 8:10

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