What Is Dual-boot? How Does Dual-boot Work?

Dual-boot is a common topic in this PC world. Sometimes we need to make choices about whether to go for paid and proprietary software or free and open-source software. If you are a privacy-conscious person and want to have your freedom then Linux is the only way to go.

Linux is not a first-hand adoption when it comes to picking an operating system. Windows and Mac have the vast majority of the market share well over 97%. This means 97 out of 100 general users use Windows or macOS. Linux only has a 2.35% market share which is completely out of the picture.

Operating System Market Share
Credit: netmarketshare.com

But there is a catch. Linux is not what it seemed 10 years ago. Linux is evolving and people are adopting it. You can do almost anything you want on Linux. Free and open-source software is getting better and better over time. Even gaming on Linux is not cumbersome anymore. Steam and Lutris are working on making Linux gaming mainstream.

You can also use WINE to install Windows applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, or even games. Although many Windows applications are not 100% compatible with WINE. But if you are tech-savvy enough, you can make tweaks here and there to get things working.

Now if you are a Windows user or a Mac user and you want to switch to Linux, dual-boot will help you get started.

What Is Dual-Boot?

Dual-boot is the process of installing two operating systems on a single PC. It helps you to use two different operating systems like Windows and Linux on your laptop or desktop. If you want to switch to Linux or any different operating system, dual-booting is the perfect way to go. Unlike virtual machines, dual-booting allows your operating system to use all the hardware resources natively. This helps you to fully experience the performance of the OS.

Dual-booting can help you in a lot of ways. If you are a cross-platform app developer and want to test your app natively on different platforms, dual-boot is the only option. If you break one system down, you can carry your work with the other system. Or you can use one operating system to troubleshoot the other operating system. Or most importantly, if you want to switch to Linux without hampering your work, dual-booting is the only way to go.

You can dual-boot the same operating system or completely different operating systems. Windows and Windows, Windows and Linux, you can do it at any configuration.

How Does Dual-Boot Work?

Your primary operating system is installed on your PC’s internal hard drive. When you start your computer, the UEFI or the BIOS loads the bootloader from the hard drive. The boot loader is a piece of software that allows the BIOS or the UEFI to boot from a certain drive. You can install many operating systems on a single machine as long as you have enough storage to contain them.

You can use multiple hard drives to install multiple operating systems and set the boot order in the BIOS. You can also use a single hard drive to install multiple OS by using different partitions for each operating system.

Note that, Windows uses multiple partitions to function properly. The main summary here is, that you have to provide all the necessary partitions for a particular OS to function properly. As long as you have provided proper partitions, you are good to go.

Every OS uses its bootloader. Windows uses the Windows Boot Loader whereas Linux uses the GRUB Boot Loader. A single bootloader can contain multiple operating systems. This will help you to see all the installed operating systems links and lets you choose between them.

If you have multiple versions of Windows installed on your computer, Windows Boot Loader will show them. If you use Linux, the GRUB bootloader will do the same thing.

If you dual-boot Linux alongside Windows, the GRUB Boot Loader will show the Linux OS and the Windows Boot Loader in the menu. Choosing the Windows Boot Loader will boot you from the Windows partition.

Should You Use Dual-Boot?

The answer is no until it is necessary. Modern operating systems like Windows and macOS can handle any given task. If you only want to try different OS, virtual machines are a good choice. They are secure and will not risk any data loss if something goes wrong.

But if you want to make a full transition from one OS to another, dual-booting is better. As it allows you to use full hardware resources and the experience you will find is way better than a VM.

Dual-booting Linux alongside Windows will help you slowly make the switch without breaking your work apart. It is recommended if you want to experience both worlds.

Pros And Cons

Pros Cons
Dual boot allows you to install two different operating systems into your machine. Dual boot takes too much hard disk space.
It helps you to switch to Linux while having Windows 10. Windows will not read the Linux filesystem.
100% performance gain than VMs. Windows updates may sometimes break the GRUB bootloader and will not let you boot into Ubuntu. Repairing the GRUB bootloader is a bit of a hassle.
Cross-platform applications can be used with full hardware resources rather than virtual machines.


Finally, I would say that dual-booting is not for everyone. If you need to switch to Linux, I would highly suggest you dual-boot. Other than that, virtual machines can fairly do the job. These are my thoughts on dual-booting. What do you guys think? Do you prefer dual-booting? Or do you just stick to your current operating system? Let me know in the comment section below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 3 =