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  1. #1

    Dual boot or virtual machine?


    I just bought my mom a cheap-but-serviceable laptop (she's a very light user) and am going to put Xubuntu on it for her. Her old Windows 7 machine had been choked into near-immobility by malware, bloated antivirus software, Windows updates, and God knows what else. I'm chomping at the bit to give her the gift of a Linux workhorse.

    If she just doesn't like Linux, I won't force it on her, but if she decides to go back to Windows, I plan to dual boot, run Windows as a virtual machine, or in some other fashion give myself the ability to use Linux to kill Windows at any time. Are there options other than these two that I've not stumbled on yet? If I run Windows as a VM (which is my first choice because I'm somewhat familiar with VB and not at all with dual booting), how strong is the chance that I'm going to run into problems in the VM that would not have arisen if I'd installed Windows the normal way?

    Oh, also--silly question to ask when I've already bought the laptop, I know--how much RAM and what CPU do you think are the minimum necessary to *comfortably* run a Windows 7 VM in a Xubuntu host for a very light user? I might do the VM thing at some later time when I get her a beefier machine.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    You need memory. Either RAM for a VM (you will need 4GB for Win7 to run reasonably well, but it can limp along with 2 if you have adequate swap space), or disc of you dual-boot. The good thing about a VM such as VirtualBox is that you can take regular snapshots so if MS screws up the system with an unwanted update (disable them in any case), or it gets a virus, you can roll it back to the last known good image in a couple of seconds. Also with VirtualBox you can set it up with a dynamically allocated virtual disc image that will only grow as needed to accommodate new software and data. That all said, what does she use it for primarily? Email? Word processing? Facebook? Native Linux tools for that stuff are readily available, and more reliable than Windows.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
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    From another perspective:
    If your mother likes linux, you do not need a windows VM or dual boot.
    If your mother doesnt like linux, you do not need linux and starting the VM is an unnecessary obstacle.

    My suggestion is to install a linux, let her try it and then go from there.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

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  5. #4
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    Just Dual-Booted my laptop with Debian alongisde Win 10 always been a windows user, university studies has flung a spanner in the works and now im going to be using linux for the next few months hopefully its fun.

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