Dual Boot Linux & Windows.

I hardly ever see anyone do it right. And there is just two tricks that make a completely new experience out of it. I am not sharing it with you to be nice, I am sharing because I am curious if you're already doing it.

1. Install on a second hard drive, not a different partition. Learn which button to hold on the boot screen to select the boot drive. You can still chain-load via Grub, but the major advantage, updates of neither OS will fuck up your boot loader. You can update it abso-fucking-lutely risk free. Second advantage, advice 2. becomes trivially easy.

2. Set up a virtual machine. Select as its hard drive the raw disk volume where you have installed your Windows. You can do this with VirtualBox, but QEMU with virtual machine manager make is far easier to set this up in. You can now start Windows under Linux as a virtual machine. You can always start a small application, but the big deal is installing. Start a Steam download, have it installed and ready without switching over. Running windows updates. And when you then have time to play the game, just reboot and you have it already installed.

I feel like many are not aware that you can start a virtual machine of a real hard drive. It's one of those things that improve usability of it enormously. It's something where many will just not think about it because they keep dual booting and virtual machines in two different categories in their brains, but immediately will think it is obvious as soon as they hear about it.

So, who already did this? Raise your hands!

  • 4
    Or just stop gaming. Games are for kids. No dual boot needed
  • 9
    @retoor Fucking hell, what a downer. You don't have hobbies? Is all fun for kids, or just one particular piece of fun. But you know, I will forget you ever said this while watching an episode of Darkwing Duck, because fuck it, the great thing about being an adult is being able to get a Happy Meal with a shot of Whiskey.
  • 5
    @TrayKnots I write an interpreter for a hobby
  • 3
    @retoor proton supports most steam games these days 🤓.

    but since the only game a real man needs is tf2 anyways..
  • 4
    Advice 1 never tried it because I always only had 1 hard disk until very recently. Now I have 2 but I don't use Windows anymore so there is less risk of a bootloader fuck-up. A Linux installation won't lock me out of the other one.

    Advice 2 is interesting! I've never thought about trying that.
  • 3
    I do a bit more. I have two disks on my laptop and quadruple boot. One Windows and three Linuces. I used to also play AOE2 using method 2 without even needing to boot into Windows. XD
  • 2
    you can play games on either OS. No reason to use dual boot.
  • 2
    @thebiochemic Besides the point. Replace game with whatever reason for a second OS there is.

    But anyway, why I game on Windows. So I have to reboot before I game. It's a commitment. The wallpaper changes. The feel changes. I am no longer in working mode.


    I forgot to give another tip. Raw disks VMs are great to install operating systems. First, the computer only sees one OS. It cannot even override your boot loader or hard drive. And you don't have to stare at the installer while doing nothing. You only reboot after it being fully updated. Very comfortable way of installing a second OS.
  • 1
    just PowerShell &


    wsl --update

    wsl --import <DistroName> <InstallLocation> <PathToISO>

    wsl - <DistroName>

    sudo nano /etc/wsl.conf




    wsl --shutdown



    now you have a virtual subsistem running a real unaltered linux with systemctl
  • 3
    @retoor video games was always an adult hobby.
  • 0
    I just use WSL 2 to have linux bash

    You can literally just install Ubuntu from windows Store lol now

    For me, GUI for linux doesn't make any sens when you already have windows. But command line is pretty cool some times
  • 3
    Or just uninstall windows. Problem solved.
  • 4
    @NoToJavaScript so your getting a slow ubuntu ontop of a spyware
  • 1
    Yup already using 2 separate drives for them. That's the only secret sauce for a successful dual boot.
  • 2
    Yeah, I game on wine/proton. Works surprisingly well once you find the right config.
  • 2
    Interesting take on point 2 and very solid advice to anybody that needs it.

    There is no windows on my house, so i don't use them.
  • 2
    You are so close to greatness OP

    Now if you just can get your hands on a spare gpu, you can do gpu passthrough.

    Voillà, you will never have to dualboot again: you can just live in linux, and fire up vm for gaming.
    The performance will be the same as bare metal, as well.
  • 1

    I actually have a spare GPU and got even an input switcher. But they are collecting dust in my cupboard for a long time. I tried to set it up, but I got an issue. I do not remember which issue. But I remember when I googled it, a forum claimed that this is a bug with my motherboard. And it just won't work.

    And I did run out of time and patience. Was planning for a long time to try it again. But hey, I am writing a bachelor's thesis right now. Having a 4 month old girl to take care of. Trying to build a company on the side. And freelance. And I got to a point where I dad-game (Fitting, I guess. I am a dad after all..) Eurotruck simulator and an audiobook is my current drug of choice, so improving on my gaming setup is not on the top of my todo list.
  • 2
    @TrayKnots damn, you got a lot of stuff going on :)
    The problem with the motherboard might be wonky iommu groups, that don't allow you to cleanly pass the graphics card without also including other random stuff.
    This can be fixed by patching the kernel, but it becomes a bit of an ordeal to maintain...
    Also fyi, you don't actually need a hardware kvm switch to do a windows vm: there is this a project called looking-glass that allows you to do everything in software, with very little overhead
    If you are interested in what the full setup looks, you might wanna skip through someOrdinaryGamer's video here: https://youtu.be/h7SG7ccjn-g/...
  • 0

    Looking glass sounds interesting...

    Alright... Dammit... I actually want this to work....

    I'll have to give it another shot.

    I added it to my todo list as one of the long-term items... I'll be looking at it after the semester.
  • 2
    my man @TrayKnots be sharin his voodoo and y’all be shittin on ‘em because the rant text contains the word “windows”? Ffs man. Nobody touches your goddamn linux, and there are people out there with actual real jobs that pay real money and have real obligations. They also have real friends (not linuxtards), and they have a lot of them. They do need to open an occasional windows-only file or play a windows-only game with their friends.
    I hate windows, windows 10+ is malware, but what y’all do is ain’t fair.
  • 2
    @kiki while not knowing other people’s reasons for how they came to this place, but mine is the need for venting about microcuck, among other bullshittery happening in tech right now. If I want real advice, I’d go somewhere else.
  • 0
    @kiki you missed the point.
    Unless you do some niche or arcane shit, you don't need to run more than one OS on your machine.
  • 0
    @thebiochemic I want the best of both worlds: I want to work on Linux because it's a better option for a dev, plus I don't want M$ surveillance BS. But when I need Windows, I need it URGENTLY, so I need it too.

    Just kidding. I have a Mac. But if I didn't was lucky enough to own it and a separate Windows PC for gaming, I would've definitely gone for the dualboot.
  • 1
    I feel like it's supposed to be an encouragement towards switching to Linux for people who tried it once and got boot loader issues. I exclusively use Linux for 20+ years (both professionally and privately) so I don't feel like it's directed at me in any way. But I also had experience with virtualization at work and while what you're talking about has a potential to work great when finally set up, it isn't easy to set up at all. Even people who did so for their home environments did it once and don't do it every few weeks, i.e. aren't proficient in doing so and would have issues doing it again. It's hard shit, man. No beginner Linux user will manage to do that on their own unless they dayjob as a server administrator.

    Also, I just play on Linux. Steam works great. Highly recommended.
  • 1
    @kiki Out of curiosity, what do people need Windows for nowadays? It used to be things like "I need to fix this AutoCAD file for tomorrow" but I think it's a thing of the past, isn't it? After all, tripleA games work on Linux out of the box, I see no reason why some less advanced software wouldn't.
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