May 9, 2011

To Dual Boot, Or Not? That is The Question!

I just got myself a new Lenovo Ideapad Y560 laptop. This thing is a beast. It has an eight core Intel I7 processor, and 8 GB of RAM (After a quick trip to Frys that is). It also has a 500GB hard drive. I’m pretty happy with it.

When I got it I decided that since there was plenty of disk space, I would go ahead and dual boot it with Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, and Bauer-Puntu Linux 11.04. That way I can have the best of both worlds on the same laptop.

I know what you are thinking. Who the hell dual boots anymore? Why not just pick one operating system, and use some sort of desktop virtualization software? And there is the million dollar question right?

Although I agree that virtualization is friggin’ awesome, and it is great for testing out operating systems without blowing away everything you have installed, there are times when dual booting is a better idea. For instance, lets say you need Windows for something like video editing (Like I do for Tech Chop). Well, Linux video editing sort of sucks, so I like to use Windows. I don’t want to have a Linux based OS, and a Windows VM running Sony Vegas because I don’t want to share resources with the host OS.

On the flip side, I don’t want to have a Windows host, and a VM running Bauer-Puntu because the VM won’t see the wireless card and I can’t do any wireless hacking using Grim Wepa. Just like above, I also don’t want to have to share resources.

There are times though when using virtualization is ideal. Maybe you just heard about a really cool software you want to test out, but you don’t want screw anything up with your laptop or workstation. Installing the software on the VM can be a safe alternative, and when you are done, you can blow away the VM and spin up a new one for testing something else later. It’s really convenient.

So basically it comes down to shared resources. If it’s not a big deal, then virtualization is the way to go. If you absolutely need all of the features of more than one OS, and can’t possibly share the resources, then multi-booting is the way to go.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

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