Question about upgrading to 7 from Vista with dual boot

  1. I'm going to be upgrading from vista home premium to windows 7 next week. I'm in a command line class for Windows/Linux so I also need to set up a dual boot for Linux. My main question is, should I wait until after I upgrade to set up the dual boot? I'm getting the windows 7 upgrade from a teacher and I asked him but he didn't know whether installing it would overwrite both OSs or just vista. It would be very helpful if someone could tell me whether its safe to install Linux now or if installing windows 7 will wipe it from my computer with vista, making me have to reinstall Linux again. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

    BTW, I'm going to install windows 7 from an ISO on a usb drive. Not sure if it makes a difference, just trying to provide as much info as i can so anyone who wants to help me has all the information.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    Yes you should wait until you have installed Windows 7 before proceeding with an installation of your chosen Linux distro -- Its not essential, but it will make your life easier as dependant on where you install the bootloader on Linux, Windows could overwrite it meaning you need to re-install it in order to reuse Linux. That is not a Linux newbie step and will result in a full re-install for most new users. So do it the easy way, W7 then Linux, or my alternative suggestion below.

    I would recommend you run Linux as a virtual machine until you are used to the way in which it works though. This would ensure you don;'t create any issues with its booting and end up with an un-bootable system you have no way of resolving.

    I would highly recommend Virtualbox to install the virtual machine through.

    A Virtual machine enables you to run a guest OS (linux) inside a window on your host OS (W7), without affecting any of the physical disks or the hassle of running dual boot which can be problematic over time. I highly recommend it for new users as it offers you a way of enjoying the OS whilst ensuring it remains in a sandbox and away from your Windows OS. You can create a system image of the VM (virtual machine) and then just restore to that should you totally mess up the VM. All with the guarantee that it won't affect the operation of Windows.

    If you choose the VM method using Virtualbox, you can install it today and use Linux today. Just make sure your VM data files are backed up before you format your hard disk to install W7.
  3. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 37

    Thank you for replying Leeky. That info was very helpful. I'm brand new to linux cause I have an older laptop that I was unwilling to push too hard, but now i have to do it. As for setting up a VM, I'm supposed to use that as a last resort with VM Workstation because its "not realistic enough" according to the teacher of the class. Thanks for the response, I'll wait til next week to set it up.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    It is true that Linux installs generally work more flawlessly in a VM than they do if you install them on physical hardware, but in terms of there operability there is little to no difference.

    I use VM's all the time for web development, software centric tasks etc, and I can assure you they work as well (provided the right resources) as they do running on physical hardware. Virtual machines are very popular commercially now as well due to their inherent isolated structure, and they make for an ideal tool for those learning Linux.

    Dual-booting does not come without its own problems. My advice would be to learn Linux in a VM, then move over to a physical install. If Linux is that serious a requirement you should be running it as your sole OS, you're never going to learn enough about it unless you use it day in and day out.

    What distribution of Linux is your teacher recommending you install?
  5. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 37

    He's recommending Linux 11.10. Right now i have the iso on a usb drive so its ready for install. Linux is a serious requirement for the class, but so is Windows. That's why he suggested that the entire class do a dual boot with Linux and Windows. He gave us a free license for vmware but suggested we don't use it. But from what you said, running Linux on a vm is hardly different from running it on the physical machine.
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    I'm assuming you mean Ubuntu Linux 11.10?

    Linux is the kernel, there are many flavours of it. Might be worth checking out distrowatch.com in order to understand them all in more detail.

    Is your teacher going to support every student that experiences problems with dual booting then?

    If I may ask, what is your exact reasoning for needing to learn Linux?
  7. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 37

    I'm a computer networking major. The class i need it for is a command line class that focuses on both Windows and Linux. From what the teacher said, the class that is basically an intro to Linux should be a requirement for the command line class but the school hasn't made it one. He expects us from going from never using Linux before the class to being having our Linux certs in 16 weeks. I highly doubt he's going to offer support for dual boot issues, he's not a very hands on teacher.
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    Good luck, I've been using Linux for 7 years now and I still don't have it all covered.

    If networking is the main focus then I can understand the requirement of an installation as a dual boot. But, 90% of your education will be just fine inside a VM.

    What Linux Certificate are you expected to obtain? Sixteen weeks is nowhere near enough time for someone without previous experience to grasp the complete inner workings of Linux. I wish you luck, you are going to need it. :haha:
  9. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 37

    I have no idea what cert we are supposed to get. He said "certs" as in plural. I have no illusions that I'll pass that test with flying colors. Hopefully I can just stumble through it blindly and get a high enough score to get my cert from it. Thanks for all the help Leeky.


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