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Guidance Help in Building Dual Boot System

Posted on 2014-04-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I am looking for advice at the moment rather than help/support.

I am interested in assembling a high performance system using an Asus motherboard with the following features:

1) I want to be able to dual boot into either Ubuntu Desktop Linux or Windows 7.

2) For speed considerations, I wish to consider the use of a SSD drive as the system drive for both O/S.

So, the questions are, do I install Windows 7 first, and only partition a part of the SSD under the Windows 7 installer? Or, do I install Ubuntu first? If I install Ubuntu first, are there options to leave a partition vacant for the Windows 7 installer?

My idea is to get off the Windows 7 system as much as I possibly can. I feel it may be better to use Linux as much as possible for the things that it does just as well as Windows, like Web browsing, email, etc. And, only use the Windows 7 system for the less often times I need it for applications I use such as Vegas Pro video editing and the other associated apps in a video edit suite.

I have a high performance Dell T7500 workstation running Xeon quad core processor with 12 GB of memory for the distinct purpose of a video editing suite. Now, this system has "bogged" down with all sorts of "mysterious" behaviors that are immune to the virus scanner, malware tools and "crap cleaners" that I know about. It matters not what one does to keep a Windows system "tuned up". Eventually, they slow down, and the only option to correct it is to reinstall from scratch. Reinstalling is a HUGE hassle. Microsoft has never done much to prevent this from happening. Their diagnostic tools and help are mostly worthless. Of course Linux is not immune from everything (just most of it).

Any suggestions, advice or comments are greatly appreciated.
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Question by:RayRider
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by:John Hurst
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ID: 40016354
My advice is that dual boot is pretty much old school.

Figure out your most used system (probably Windows 7). Install that. Get VMware Workstation (or Player) and then make an Ubuntu Virtual Machine.

This is better because (a) both can run at the same time and (b) you can learn more (network the two systems).

I use Virtual Machines and have about a dozen of them, Ubuntu amongst them, although I need to get a newer Ubuntu system.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40016361
On your subject of viruses. This never happens to me. It normally comes from dodgy sites or from clicking on some "I can help" button. In any event, people are not hapless victims. Viruses and malware are almost always invited in.

Get a good name brand Anti Virus suite, scan with it and then download and scan with Malwarebytes.

Another use for virtual machines is to make one, make a copy of it, load the copy and use it for sandbox testing. Delete it when done. I do this as well for testing software.
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by:SunBow
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ID: 40016417
Main rule of thumb is to not trust windows as much as linux where you have more personal control.

For question as asked, then it would be windows 1st then linux (Ubuntu).

My preference is to completely separate partitioning by using a separate disk drive. Use the windows partitioning to separate your data from the OS programming.

Concerning slowness, there are very many drawbacks to relying on antivirus. While some recommend defragging as ultimate resolution, I prefer using two applications to provide better clues and views, although offloading data and rebuilding OS are more optimal.

While use of Administrative tools is best (more control and options) that requires a higher learning curve.


Instead, try to run program MsConfig, Select and review StartUp. Windows should be able to work without any, but focus on those that seem suspicious like unknown or unfamiliar manufacturers. It is simple enough to exclude one, reexamine slowness, and include it back again if desired.

More importantly is to find out what is hogging resources. For that the task manager is very useful. Either select by right  click on taskbar or <ctl><alt<>del>.

The column for applications should be easy enough to read to uncover unwanteds. More often the column for processes will identify culprits. First configure to sort by cpu usage. Having a process running at 100% is not quote 'bad' - if you are knowingly running something that is very time consuming. Likely you are not, so anything that has substantial usage that you cannot easily identify is likely a culprit, and is easily testable by selecting it and then the 'End Process'. While some 'good' programs are not easily identifiable (without google) they won't be dominating the cpu - AND do know that should you make a mistake and delete a process you learn later that you want, a simple reboot will restore it. While I am inclined to agree with your comments on MS support, my Win 7 machine has remained rather stable, while my copy of Win 8 remains unloaded as it appears to demand use of an entire drive for install.

You can also identify resource hogs with other columns such as for memory and I/O, and I concur with John Hurst that "..malware are almost always invited in. "

Among the programs that cause the most problems including slowness are the ones loaded that are intended to reduce problems, beginning with anti-virus (invited in, run in background), not limited to just email checkers. You may need to revisit whether you have any programs 'scheduled', such as for seeking updates (including O/S & A/V). I don't and while I am not that safe in searching, I have yet to get slow or infection (remains to be seen what results are to come as MS removes support for its vulnerable products)

Should one suspect compromise as surrogate, its hard to beat ZoneAlarm for managing outgoing packets, and they still have a free version. And if you want best control, unplug it from internet completely, and you'll never get infected - you did say windows is mainly for video edit, so (I agree?) use linux for all internet activity. You then need not use software to defend windows from malware. And note that since linux is not so much bloatware, you can use it on other machines that have been upgraded from.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40016429
I can run a machine for 4 or 5 years without having to rebuild it (5 for XP, 4 for Windows 7 before I retired the machine, and 1 so far with Windows 8 and zero need to rebuild).

I keep everything in one partition and things are easy to manage.
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by:SunBow
ID: 40016546
I am unable to claim much if any difference, but more because I've been more lazy with reduction in physical ability and lack of major data (eg video) to maintain. While I've intended to rebuild 7 it is more because I wanted to have a pure build where I purchased OTS containing too much bloat in so-called freeware to discover, including unwanted deleterious ware from mfr. but store refused to sell OS with claim they support well enough themselves (for fee) and there's never a problem anyway. Its been well over ten years for me to be rebuilding as test for multiboot, where among only other issues found where linux unable to manage specific infamous NIC (resolved with alternative).

Experiences from former workplace were rather different, for they used only validated/tested 'standard' S/W & H/W, with multiple opinions on what that meant. Led to regular rebuilds. Main problem: too much wares and 'support'. Result of numerous failures, including outages for weeks, even with on-site MS support (big company). Workstations & servers alike.

It really depends more on the wares, how many, and compatibility, what is upgraded when, where same company can be found incompatible with itself (a competitor?) (not just MS, but adobe and others). Older OS even more 'issues'.

Back to asker and similar q's:

Beware of neighbours and wireless.

 > "bogged" down with all sorts of "mysterious" behaviors

Let us also be clear that while I may fail to ever practise what I preach, one should ever reserve use of administrative ID for installs and upgrades, while normally using a second non-privileged (like a guest ID) for normal usage, especially when connected to the wilderness of the internet.

Supplemental: the more recent vast losses of customer information from large companies has shown many people are using same ID and password or PIN for multiple systems. Try to not do that, for once one is compromised at one location, it is attempted for accessing other systems on a massive scale.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40016556
I buy commercial machines and 75% of the software they installed is driver software (necessary) or decent utilities (power and like management). The rest takes 2 minutes to uninstall. The result is a reliable machine that runs less than 5% CPU more than 95% of the time.

@RayRider - go with what suits you best for a main operating system. Either Linux or Windows supports VMware and that (with virtual machines) is better than dual boot or triple boot and provides built in sandboxing in addition.
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by:ThomasMcA2
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I agree with the VM suggestions. I have a similar setup to yours, and I have used both VirtualBox and VMware.

I suggest installing Linux as the host OS, then install Windows in a VM. I do that on my Dell laptop that has an i7 processor. It also has 2 drives, and one of them is an SSD. The Windows VM lives on the SSD, which helps the VM to be quite snappy when it comes to performance.

Using Linux as the host OS also gives you 2 firewalls that cage, I mean protect, Windows. (Both the host firewall and the guest/VM firewall block traffic to/from the guest/VM.)

Another advantage to running Windoze in a VM is that you can backup the entire Windoze system by backing up one Linux folder. When a Windoze Update breaks your system (which has happened to me twice), fixing it is as easy as restoring that backup folder.
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by:serialband
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ID: 40018119
If you're actually installing for dual booting, it's easier to install Windows first, then install linux to partition everything and set up the grub boot manager for you.  If you install linux first, you'll have to edit boot.ini correctly to be able to dual boot back to linux.  Windows likes to take over the disk.

The VM idea is ok if your secondary OS is used occasionally.  If you want or need speed, you really need to dual boot.  Which system do you need to run faster?  That should determine which you run in a VM.  No matter what system you have, you can still get hacked.  The casual user will just have more virus and trojan problems in Windows, because that's the most targeted system by a long shot.

While linux doesn't get the Windows viruses, you still can get hacked.  It mostly won't be a root level hack where you have to reinstall the entire system.  If you run linux as mainly a personal desktop, you should stop most of the unused services.  If you do enable remote connections or run servers, you'll need to enable your firewall and limit the damage.  If you enable ssh for remote connections, you should change the default to stop the script kiddie brute force ssh password attempts, otherwise your logs will grow.  The main attacks on linux are brute force attempts and password stealing in order to install IRC bots that control the Windows spambots.  I have actually seen and fixed a lot of these because same "admins" and many users really didn't know what they're doing.  Just having linux does not mean you're completely protected.

You can run windows without ever getting a virus.  Don't click on unknown links.  Type in links and block all your spam.  Turn off, or block, all scripting in your main browser.  Install adblock, flashblock and noscript.  Use a separate browser just for your banking (quite easy with all the variants of Firefox, Pale Moon, Waterfox, Opera, OperaNext, Chrome, SRWare Iron, etc...).  Set your main browser to never load scripts, cookies, etc..., so that if you ever do click on a spammer link by accident, it won't do anything to you.  If you get a virus on Windows, then you weren't paying attention.  I've been able to viruses off the many Windows Workstations that I control.  It's only the personal systems that users bring from home that get viruses and trojans.
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by:John Hurst
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I protect my systems properly so I have never been hacked. Accordingly I still believe the most used system should be the host system.
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serialband earned 200 total points
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That was also my point.  Put the less used system in a VM, but if you need speed in both, dual boot.  VMs will always be slower.

Don't switch just because of viruses.  Change your behavior on the internet.  My Windows system always stayed fast.  They only slow down when I actually run stuff that will slow it down.

You can search for services that you don't need and disable them.
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by:ThomasMcA2
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Has your issue been resolved? If so, please click one of the Accept buttons above to close this issue. If it has not been resolved, please reply with additional specifics regarding your problem so that an expert can assist you further.
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by:RayRider
ID: 40031872
So much great information to consider. My apologies for being away for a few days and not responding.

In relation to the comments on the system being polluted with malware, etc., I follow the standard techniques to avoid invitation of invaders. I daily run antivirus and malware scanners which show nothing. That doesn't prove to me that I am totally clean. From time to time, I run Wireshark to see if I can detect some trojan sending out data, or something getting in through my router/firewall. I don't claim to be a guru in this field. However, I have been in the IT industry since the 80's at many levels from system admin to software development. I am not into this daily as I once was. However, I think I am fairly savvy and can solve most of my problems without outside help. But, I do like to get opinions and suggestions from others for issues that I may not be as familiar with, such as this request.

I still stand by my opinion that Microsoft Windows (all versions) do have a maintenance issue with keeping the system robust as time marches on. Maybe someone with a MSCE degree that works full time with access to all the highly technical information sources because of a daily need, will be more successful in finding these hidden problems. I don't work in that role anymore, therefore a bit of a struggle to keep abreast.

I have heard of VM. Maybe wrongly, I always felt it would be a bit slow if not running from the "bare metal". It is cheap enough for giving it a try.
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