Virtual machine vs dual boot

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travel27
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Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by travel27 »

Hello,
I prefer Mint for everything but still find I need Windows sometimes. I still use my Zune for music, old Carbonite subscription, and can't get my scanner to work with Linux.
Anyway, someone showed me their "virtual machine" within Linux, running Quickbooks. Currently I have dual boot - LXDE and Windows.
Wouldn't having a virtual machine be easier? Any pros and cons? Why dual boot anyway? Virtual machine vs dual boot.
Thanks

sagirfahmid3
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Re: Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by sagirfahmid3 »

Virtual machine
Pros:
  1. You don't have to dual-boot
    You don't have to restart every time you want to switch to a different OS
    You don't have to worry about viruses (for the most part)
    You don't have to worry about messing anything up (there is a snapshot option that's like Windows restore sorta)
    It's a great way of trying out different OSes without worrying about impact on the computer
Cons:
  • You are limited by memory. If you have less than 3GB of RAM, it won't be much fun.
    You are limited by processor usage. Running a virtual machine inside an already running OS takes up a lot of CPU%. Not fun unless CPU>2GHz
    Slow harddrive due to more I/O processes going on; your VM will be significantly slower at using processes that constantly read/write
Dual-boot
Pros:
  • You have a backup system in case one OS is hit by a virus *cough* Windows *cough*
    Resources. The full amount of RAM and CPU will be available. Meaning, if that Linux VM ran fast, with a dual-boot, its gonna be lightning fast.
    You aren't limited by disk speed (since there isn't another OS running; it's only 1 OS running)
    Makes you look and feel like a true geek. You can brag to your friends!
Cons:
  • You have to restart every time you want to switch. (This isn't a problem in Linux; takes only about 30 seconds to restart)
    You might mess up your computer (delete files from the other OS accidentally, etc, etc)
    You will take up disk space that the other OS cannot use
That basically sums everything up!

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DrHu
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Re: Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by DrHu »

travel27 wrote:Hello,
I prefer Mint for everything but still find I need Windows sometimes.
A VM may or may not require some wotk on your part in terms of system hardware support within the guest OS running on your Linux host
  • In that aspect, a multiboot (dualboot) is a better guarantee of a more straightforward setup for the windows OS, but if you are reasonably Ok with using Linux and working out or researching any issues that come up, it shouldn't matter much one way or another.
If you don't need games running, then a VM with a windows OS installed is just fine for almost all windows applications
  • After all, it is a real windows computer and the VM allows the guest OS access to the virtualized hardware (The VM vendor's choice of a reference machine, that CPU type etc)
    --if you also give it enough of your system RAM while the VM is running your window's applications, everything should be fine
    --you only have to have enough RAM to support enough of the host OS to work , but since I don't multitask and think that hardly anyone can really do it, instead they single task consecutively..
It is also possible with a VM to run in seamless mode, whereby you have the whole desktop active to one or the other OS, either the host (LInux) or the guest (Windows)
--and it is a simple switch back and forth to get to a Linux or Windows application

As to multiboot; that also works especially if you want to run games, since you then have access to the real hardware of your machine and not a VM vendor's reference hardware (virtualized) choices

I don't run many games, so I have no problem with a VM setup (Sun/Oracle virtualbox)
  • I have a 2GB RAM system, and run virtualbox for multiple windows applications under a windows XP pro guest install
  • Applications like..
    Mathematica
    Dreamweaver studio
    --and and various others
I also assign more RAM to the guest OS, leaving about 512MB RAM for Linux, since I don't like trying to multitask, I rather prefer to work on the application like a stand-alone process
--that said, as much RAM as possible for a VM and overall system helps immensely, you don't limit yourself as much, such as you might need for video or large photo editing or graphics rendering application
Just one final note:
If you don't have the machine resources, it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference whether you use a VM or the machines own hardware (disk speed isn't that much of a handicap), but the graphics GPU and the processor and the system RAM are more functional/abundant on the real machine's hardware
--but you do get the edge by using the real machine base

It's all a matter of what you have in terms of system resources.

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Lendo
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Re: Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by Lendo »

I like running VMs when I'm testing a new Linux Distro. Otherwise, when I decide I like it I just install it. I have 25 partitions on my drive so lots of room for the new Distros :D

When I want to run 2 systems with individual internet connections, that's where virtual box comes in handy for me :twisted:
Life is too short to waste it on Microsoft.

kijin
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Re: Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by kijin »

sagirfahmid3 wrote:Dual-boot
Pros: Makes you look and feel like a true geek. You can brag to your friends!
I beg to differ. Running an entire OS inside a window will make you look 10000% more geeky. Even better, run multiple OS's in multiple windows and switch between them with Compiz. "I haz 5 PC's in this PC!" :P

WinXP works fine inside a VM if you give it at least 512MB of RAM. That's probably feasible on any modern computer that isn't a tablet or netbook. Win7, on the other hand, needs a lot more resources. I wouldn't even try to run Win7 in a VM unless I had at least 4GB of spare RAM, which means the physical machine had better have 8GB of RAM.

sagirfahmid3
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Re: Virtual machine vs dual boot

Post by sagirfahmid3 »

kijin wrote:Running an entire OS inside a window will make you look 10000% more geeky.
Not really. Setting up a VM is too easy, even a newbie can do it with very little research. When you start partitioning for booting multiple OSes, that's where the fun starts! You need to have more knowledge about filesystems when different OSes are concerned. You have to do a few hours of research at a minimum I would say before understanding the concepts. For example, someone who isn't a technogeek isn't gonna know that you can't have Linux installed with a NTFS or FAT partition and that ext2/ext3/ext4 partition(s) cannot be seen inside Windows.

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