Installing both Windows and Linux on your PC will let you enjoy the best of technology. But it’s not always smooth sailing. Dual Boot can lead to problems, risks are hard to see.
Is dual boot safe? Does it affect performance? Here are 10 risks when using Dual boot that you should know before installing a second operating system.
1. Dual boot is safe, but significantly reduces disk space
Let’s tackle this first: Dual booting, if done right, is safe. Your computer won’t crash, the CPU won’t overload, and the drives won’t spin wildly (except for SSDs).
However, it has one important shortcoming: Your disk space will be noticeably reduced.
For example, if you’re running Windows 10, it uses about 11GB of SSD or HDD space on a 64-bit system. Also, this is the space used to install software, the swap file, and the page.
Dual booting, say, a standard Ubuntu installation uses at least 5 GB of space. After that, it requires a minimum of 10-15GB more to work (install apps, swap data, update, etc.).
If you plan to use both Windows and Linux partitions frequently, you can use more storage space per partition. As a result, the disk space will fill up quite quickly.
2. Overwrite data/OS
If this is not the most important thing, then it is definitely a risk that can hit you before you even start. Overwriting your existing data or even the main operating system will lead to nasty problems. Sure, you can use recovery tools, but your chances of recovering all your data are slim.
Fortunately, most operating system installation wizards can detect primary partitions. This means that if you are installing Windows alongside a Linux distribution, the wizard will mark the partition as existing. You will get a choice of what to do next. Meanwhile, Linux operating systems also have similar smart features.
But risks can still occur, so be careful when installing. Make sure you install the new operating system to the correct drive and partition, without accidentally losing your data.
3. Dual Boot can reduce productivity
Running multiple operating systems on your PC is a great way to maximize productivity. But sometimes it can backfire. If you want to dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu, to easily switch to both operating systems.
But do you really need it? You need to make sure the applications in Windows are also available in Linuxx. Likewise, you should make sure you have the right options in place if you’re switching to another operating system. Dual boot is something you should experience and enjoy the whole new operating system environment.
Reminding you again, you may not even need to install Dual Boot because you can run Windows on a virtual machine in Linux.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best operating system for the tasks available.
4. Locked partitions can cause problems
Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of dual booting is not being able to access your data. Most of the time, this is not a problem. If you’ve organized everything efficiently, your important personal files will be available through whatever operating system you’re using.
You can use a cloud storage solution, or use a dedicated hard drive partition for personal files.
However, problems can occur. If you’re using Windows and the system shuts down unexpectedly, any dedicated partitions used for personal files will be locked. This means that trying to access the drive from your Linux partition will fail. You will see a message like this:
Error mounting /dev/sda5 at /media/karma/data: Command-line `mount -t "ntfs" -o "uhelper=udisks2,nodev,nosuid,uid=1000,gid=1000,dmask=0077,fmask=0177" "/dev/sda5" "/media/karma/data"' exited with non-zero exit status 14: The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0). Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount. Failed to mount '/dev/sda5': Operation not permitted The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting), or mount the volume read-only with the 'ro' mount option.
This is probably the most frustrating problem of Dual Boot.
Fortunately, it can be fixed, but it can take a few minutes (depending on hard drive speed). You have two choices:
- Follow the instructions in the error and start the device as read-only
- Reboot into Windows, then go to the boot menu and switch back to Linux
With both of the above, the files will be available with full access again.
5. Virus can affect the security of Dual boot
Linux-based operating systems are powerful, for the most part they are still free from viruses and other malware. Although there are some exceptions, this is largely due to the relatively small user base. Many Linux operating systems collectively represent only a small fraction of the operating system market.
Obviously, scammers will target Windows computers because it is more effective. However, many websites get hacked or even crash due to viruses and malware, and most web servers run on Linux.
Therefore, if you are using Dual Boot, the possibility of malware affecting the Linux environment increases.
Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a suite of internet security software when running Windows. In your Linux operating system, running malware scanners like ClamAV on a daily basis will also give you peace of mind. Don’t just focus on the operating system when scanning for viruses. You should also scan your personal data files.
6. Driver errors can be detected
A major risk of dual booting is hardware problems that seem to happen randomly. However, they are often associated with Windows device drivers and are becoming increasingly rare.
Probably the most common hardware problem with dual booting is the built-in wireless network card. These devices can be disabled in Windows and therefore cannot be launched in Linux.
In some ways, a disabled Wi-Fi card is reminiscent of the problems with locked partitions discussed above.
The solution is to research your wireless card (or other device) before installing your operating system. You should also make sure the drivers are up to date on both operating systems. Also, take a moment to check your device’s status in your PC’s UEFI/BIOS.
7. Dual booting can affect Swap . drive space
In most cases, you shouldn’t have too much hardware impact from Dual Boot. However, one problem that you need to be aware of is the Swap drive. Both Linux and Windows use hard drives to improve performance while the computer is running. However, by installing additional operating systems on the drive, you reduce the space available for this.
The solution here is: Do not install additional operating systems if there is not enough disk space left. If you want to dual-boot on your PC, then just buy a new HDD or SSD. Once installed, you will have space for more operating systems.
8. Dual Boot can affect the performance of the drive and the PC
When Windows dual-boots and Linux, Windows is usually the primary OS. Whatever your dual-boot scenario, the primary partition will be better optimized.
On the drive first, the main OS is faster overall, from boot speed to drive performance. This means Windows will start up faster; Applications will load faster; The page file and the swap file are more efficient. Meanwhile, the secondary operating system will start up slower, the software will load slower, etc.
Basically, Dual boot will slow down your computer or laptop.
While a Linux OS can make more efficient use of the overall hardware, as a secondary operating system, that is a disadvantage.
9. Windows Update and Dual Boot
Updating your operating system is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a powerful and secure computer. Unfortunately, it can lead to problems when using Dual boot.
Running Windows Update may result in the Master Boot Record (MBR) being rewritten, leaving you with a missing Linux partition. Failed updates, or even simple driver updates, can cause problems with PCs using Dual boot.
In this situation, you should use Windows 10 recovery tools. Although time consuming, if you really need to get Windows running, here’s how to get it working again.
For the best Dual boot experience, make sure that your computer’s boot order defaults to Windows, rather than your Linux OS.
10. Using the same app twice is a waste
One more shortcoming of Dual boot compared to the risk it brings is that using the same software on two different operating systems is a waste of space.
Do you install 1 software on both operating systems to use? Don’t you find it a waste of time and storage space? If this is the case, it’s time to decide on your primary OS.
It is very unlikely that you will be affected by ALL of these risks. However, at least one, perhaps two, is likely to happen at some point. But nothing here can make you disable Dual Boot feature. Making sure your system is set up correctly is important and can help minimize or even avoid these problems. Backing up data on both partitions is advisable, but you should take precautions anyway.