What is duel booting, and is it right for you?

Dual booting is installing an operating system alongside an existing one and allows the user to choose which one they would like to use each time the user powers up their machine. So is it right for you?

It’s common for new users to Linux to fall head over heels and decide to remove Windows and run Linux full time, but then find they are needing to use only software that Windows supports and soon find themselves installing Windows back onto their system. If you inevitably find yourself in this situation, there is a solution: Dual booting!

Dual booting is an easy process to complete but can be a hassle to reverse, so we are going to cover how to create a dual boot within an existing Windows environment and then how to remove it. Note that if you are just wanting to play around with Linux and see if you like it, then I recommend using a Virtual Machine. If you have played around with Linux and are ready to experience using it on your hardware, then follow along.

Creating a Duel Boot

Creating a dual boot can vary in difficulty depending on the distro you are planning to install. For example, most of the common distros like Ubuntu and Mint offer an easy option called “Install Along Side”

Choosing this option will do all the partitioning for you, and will then carry on the installation like any other install of Linux Mint.

Once it reboots you will see you now have an option screen to select which operating system you wish to boot into.

And just like that, you now have a dual boot for Windows and Linux.

Now what happens if you want to remove Linux and just have Windows? Now that is where it can become a headache, especially for new users to Linux and dual booting.

Removal of Dual Boot

To remove Linux, first you need to boot back into Windows and then go into “Disk Management”. Here is where you can create and remove partitions within your hard drive.

If you are new to partitions it can be tricky understanding what partitions are Linux and what are Windows, so what you need to keep an eye out for is the ones that look like this.

The main points to look out for is that Linux will have a 300MB EFI partition and it will not display any drive letters, for example this is what a Windows Partition looks like.

Once you are sure you have found the Linux partitions you are free to delete them by right clicking and selecting “delete”

Once the volume has been deleted you can then extend the volume into the “unallocated space”

Now at this point two things can happen, you restart and everything goes smoothly or you get this screen.

Image result for grub rescue

This happens when your system is looking for the Linux boot loader which is the screen that allows you to select Linux or Windows, and now that is missing your system goes into whats called “Grub Rescue”

How To Fix Grub Rescue

There are a few ways to fix Grub Rescue but the easiest way is the following.

  1. Go into your BIOS and remove all Linux boot options (This alone may fix the issue)
  2. Insert a Windows install media into your system to boot into
  3. At the Welcome screen, click Repair your computer
  4. Choose Troubleshoot
  5. Choose Command Prompt
  6. When the Command Prompt loads, type the following commands:
  7. bootrec /FixMbr bootrec /FixBoot bootrec /ScanOs bootrec /RebuildBcd
  8. Press Enter after each command and wait for each operation to finish
  9. Remove the media from the system
  10. Type exit
  11. Hit Enter
  12. Restart your computer and check if Windows can now boot

Conclusion

Dual booting can be fantastic, and a great way to integrate Linux into your system without removing Windows, but as explained it can come with a few issues as well so it’s up to you to decide if it would be worth it.

If you are just wanting to tinker with Linux, I highly recommend sticking to a Virtual Machine as they are easier to manage and if it breaks it does not affect your current system like a dual boot could.