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Why is running your second OS in virtual so much easier than Double Boot

(21 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by whs
  • Latest reply from rushunter
  • Topic Viewed 1852 times

whs
Posts: 17584

If you want to install a second Operating system on your system you have several options :

• Double boot
• Install in a virtual partition
• Install in a VHD
• And maybe some other options

The intuitive move seems to be to install with double boot. But that can be extremely frustrating. If the second OS is a Linux distro, you get your bootmgr clobbered by the Grub which will give you a lot of trouble the day you want to get rid of it.

If the second system is Windows 8, you may run into complications with the UEFI and have similar problems as with Linux.

In any case, a double boot is not very fluent for concurrent operation because you have to take down OS #1 and boot OS #2 if you want to switch.

None of those problems arise when you install in virtual. In fact there are a lot more advantages.

1. The installation of the second OS is completely isolated from the host OS. No impact on the bootmgr or anything else. The virtual partition ends up to be a folder which you can move to any partition or disk drive if you want to change the location of the virtual partition.

2. You can move that installation folder to an external drive attached via USB and run your system from there. That is how I run Windows 8 and Zorin (an Ubuntu based distro).

3. If you want to 'image' your virtual system at any given point in time, you just copy the installation folder to another partition/disk and you save the status of your OS at that moment. That beats imaging in simplicity and execution time. Did you ever try to image a Linux system?

4. You can run the virtual system and the host system side by side. That means you switch from one system to another with 1 click. No shutdown and reboot required.

5. You can move data easily between both systems because the clipboard is shared. What you copy in one system you can paste in the other system. Compare that to moving data in a double booted setup.

6. You can use facilities of the host system during the guest system session. E.g. I use a fancy snipping tool that I have in Windows 7 to make snips in my Windows 8 and Zorin windows. The same with my screen recorder which I start in Windows 7 but I record e.g. activities in Windows 8. No need to install such programs in the guest system - and in Linux they are not available anyhow.

7. You can chose to run the guest system full screen and exclusively (then you have no access to the host), but you can get back to the dual mode with 1 click.

8. You can run programs in one machine whilst you are working in the other machine. E.g. installing updates, or running your Webradio.

9. And if you are really bold, you install your second (third, forth, etc.) OS on an external drive - like I did. Then you can carry those systems to any PC and run them there.

10. And the day you want to get rid of that OS, you just delete the VMware folder. No bootmgr and MBR fixes or any other exotic operations.

I am sure I forgot a few advantages. But that should give you an idea.

The next question is usually performance. Here I see very little difference between running an OS 'native' or running it virtual. You judge for yourself when you watch my two demos linked below. And remember, I am even running from an external disk attached via USB.

Will I ever wrestle with a double/triple boot again - NO WAY. I have used Virtual Box in the past, but now I use the VMware Player which I find better suited. Here are the links:

Demo running Windows 8 in VMware Player
Demo running Zorin in VMware Player
Tutorial by Shawn on how to install an OS (Win8 as example) in VMware Player
My tutorial on how to install on the virtual system on an external disk
Tutorial on how to share partitions between Host and Guest

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
Posts: 5310

You did your homework on this one, nice job :)

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Thanks g-x. I hope it will help somebody.

Posted 1 year ago
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warlock
Posts: 4100

Very nice write up you spent some time on this. Thanks

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Yeah, Most of the work were the tutorials and the videos - except the 3d one which is not from me. But I thought it was worth it to give as good a picture of Virtual as possible. The Zorin video I have to redo. I had some 'studio' problems. But that can be fixed.

Posted 1 year ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

Post a link to this to this topic on "Sticky" Best of Breed Reference Sites Topic.

That way it want get lost as the Main Page progresses down.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Don't worry Rick, it will get lost one way or the other. The IT world moves fast.

Posted 1 year ago
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ispalten
Posts: 6259

As long as you know the drawbacks from using a VM, which virtualizes the host h/w. This can make running some video intensive apps (games) appear as if they are on old P2's. Not every program works well or even can be useable in a VM.

Irv S.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Irv, I think you are wrong. Maybe it is not the ideal setup for games. But look at my ratings in VMware on an external drive. I am sure it would be even better on an internal drive. You tell me a normal program that would not run - and I try it.

Posted 1 year ago
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presence1960
Posts: 280

Very nice indeed. Especially if one desires to run in a virtual environment. I do however disagree on a couple assertions. But first let's give credit where credit is due. As the other how to's I have seen from whs,this is another gem. He and Rick have become two of my favs in here. I specifically joined this forum to become more versed in Windows after having used Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, Sabayon & Zorin) for quite a few years in dual and multiple boot set-ups with Windows. I have not been disappointed by the wealth of knowledge, helpfulness and willingness to share info in here. I really like HTG forum.

On the points I disagree, that does not negate the fact that a virtual environment is a very viable option. I just think it is important to put another fact out there. In a dual boot or multi boot setup with GRUB it is not the fact that GRUB is used as the boot loader that is the cause of the problem when getting rid of Linux. 99% of the time it is user error. People are used to just removing or uninstalling things in Windows. However removing Linux from a dual boot or multi boot set up involves more than simply removing linux. There are a couple ways to remove linux safely and still be able to boot windows every time after removing Linux. The first is boot into linux. Install lilo either from the GUI Software center or from terminal. From terminal run [sudo apt-get install lilo] No [ ] in the command. This will install lilo. Ignore the warning and continue. Next you will install a generic windows bootloader by running this command [sudo lilo -M /dev/sdX mbr] again no [ ]. Where X=a if you have only one hard disk. This method works for XP, Vista, 7 and 8. Now reboot and you will boot right to windows. You can now use Windows Disk Management Utility or a third party bootable CD such as gparted or parted magic to take care of the linux partitions as you wish.

If you didn't have the above forethought and do as most inexperienced linux users do, which is remove the linux parttions BEFORE fixing the MBR, you can boot off the Ubuntu live CD and do the above or boot off your Windows CD/DVD/USB and restore the windows boot loader to MBR. Either method will work here.

My other disagreement is about imaging. Imaging and restoring images is very simple and way quicker than windows imaging. I use Clonezilla and have been for over 6 years. Works like a charm for both linux and windows.

As I have already said, whs has a very nice tutorial here for running in a virtual environment. It is well put together, and worded so that even a novice can follow along. I just believe that a couple points were not totally accurate, however those points have nothing to do with taking anything away from the overall tutorial. Like I have said a few times on here: I really like whs's tutorials especially his videos. Most of the ones I have seen I have bookmarked for future reference.

P.S. Thanks to all in here, you have helped me learn more about Windows in the short time I have been a member than I could ever have hoped to learn on my own.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

With your knowledge of Linux I am sure one can survive. But take the average layman/woman. What could be easier than deleting a folder when you want to get rid of an OS. Beats the way you described - I think.

Regarding imaging you got a point. I never used Clonzilla and forgot all about it. Unfortunately I cannot correct the write-up because on this HTG forum it is bedtime after 30 minutes.

Posted 1 year ago
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presence1960
Posts: 280

whs there is nothing to correct. That was a fine piece. And yes, the inexperienced do make those mistakes, as I did when I was new to linux. However people in Ubuntu forum took the time to help me out and sometimes literally explain to me like I was a child. That is how I learned the little bit that I know. Knowledge is useless unless it is shared. As I said I just thought those points were not totally accurate. Virtual is a viable option, just as viable as dual and multi boot set-ups with Windows. For those who want to learn how to dual or multi boot I just wanted to clarify that there is a way to do it and still remove linux and be able to boot windows. Each user should be free to choose what is best for them, either virtualization or a real installation. We will respect either decision.

P.S. These type of installations are my forte. If you look me up in ubuntu forum you will see 99.9% of my posts are in the installation and upgrade section of the forum.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Fair points. I have no issue with that.

Posted 1 year ago
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presence1960
Posts: 280

:)))

Posted 1 year ago
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ispalten
Posts: 6259

WHS, try running XP in a VM and then a 16 bit Windows game. Doesn't work well. One like 1985 or so Empire Deluxe, one of my favorite games. Video display is atrocious. Of course I was trying to get around the W7/8 16 bit app restriction, but that is why one would use dual boot option, no?

Take any program, do the same thing on the native OS and then on the VM. They do take longer on the VM. Yes, you can 'claim' it is the OS version that causes this, but it is partially true possibly, but some if not all of it is due to the visualization of the h/w. That is another layer of s/w that must be traversed. Want to test this, use the same OS in the VM as the host. That removes the OS as part of the reason for being slower.

You posted the WIE, is the HOST showing the same as the VM? Doubt it.

Try running the MS Flight in both, or FS X, you should see a difference if they are set to the same display options. FS X I know allows you to show frame rate. Don't have that installed so I can't test, sorry (and I can't find the CD's either?).

Irv S.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Irv, I don't run anything that depends on FPS. The toughest job on my machines is video conversion. And here I made this test:

I converted a 100MB video clip with Format Factory from .wmv to .avi.

The host system ran Win7 with 4GB of RAM from the internal disk.
The VMware system ran Windows 8 with 4GB of RAM from a USB attached disk.
CPU usage was 30% +/- in both cases.

It took 3 minutes 10 seconds on the host system and 3 minutes 40 seconds in the VMware system. Really not a big difference.

And here is the Host WEI (Windows 7)

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Irv,

Here I found another one of my 'speedy' example of virtual. This is booting Windows 8 CP in Virtual Box. The time from the fish appearing to the Start is appr. 12 seconds. Try to beat that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAJeKCeXlUU

Posted 1 year ago
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ispalten
Posts: 6259

WHS, like I said, the problem is usually the usage of the h/w, disks and CD/DVD are usually 'almost' as fast. However, the VM's use virtual video layers to access the real h/w. I think even if you install the correct video drivers. You go from client via a visualization layer to the host to the h/w.

I can get real sticky in the specific instance of a 16 bit program or one that needs DIRECT h/w access, you can't do that, and that takes longer. When do programmers try to do direct h/w access? When they need the performance.

I'm NOT saying VM isn't good, just that it isn't good at everything, and in some specific cases, you might need a DUAL BOOT system.

'nuf said.

Irv S.

Posted 1 year ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Yeah right. I am not dealing with vintage programs. I deal with contemporary vanilla programs that have 'normal' requirements. And with those I can do well.

I am not saying that there might not be the one or the other pathetic case where a VM solution does not fit. But it is like with everything - it covers 98% and the other 2% have to do something different.

Posted 1 year ago
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presence1960
Posts: 280

I tried Virtual Box from linux to run XP. Vista and 7. I am not a big benchmark person because most of those measurements that are faster than something else are measured and reported in imperceivable increments of time. I let my use of the software or hardware be the deciding factor. As far as my eyes could tell there was no or very little loss of speed in running basic functions from the virtual environment. Now benchmarking may tell me I am wrong, that say for example it took 215 nano-seconds more to open an HD video file in the virtual environment compared to a native installation. To me that means absolutely nothing.

Posted 1 year ago
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