Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04: Dual Boot vs Wubi vs Virtualization

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It can be a big question for some, “to Wubi or not to Wubi” :P? So what is Wubi? It is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Do you really want to install Ubuntu inside Windows? Let me list out the pros and cons of using Wubi as well dual booting. and to make things more interesting let us throw in the Virtualization option (Sun VirtualBox or Vmware Player) in the mix. You can then decide whats the best option for you.

Wubi

Pros

  • Biggest plus is its simplicity! It is as simple as it can be.
  • Full fledged Ubuntu! It is effectively same as dual booting, except that Ubuntu shares Windows boot loader and file system.
  • No need of modifying partition, therefore least chance of messing up with your computer.
  • Easy to install, like any other windows application, don’t have to put your I’m a Geek hat to get it done.
  • Don’t like using Ubuntu? You can uninstall it with utmost ease like a standard Windows application.
  • Runs on Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista and 7.

Cons

  • You don’t have access to Windows applications, to access them you would have to reboot.
  • Virus affecting windows file system can affect your Ubuntu files too which are on Windows partition inside Windows file system.
  • Fragmentation associated with Windows file system, and everything else that you don’t like about Windows would get associated with your Ubuntu installation as well.

Virtualization

Pros

  • You can continue to use your favorite Windows applications while running Ubuntu, did I hear a sigh of relief.
  • Easy to install and mange, no messing with existing Windows installation, only need to install the application of your choice for virtualization (VirtualBox, VMware Player etc.)
  • Entire OS can be moved just by copying or moving or cloning the virtual machine files to your new machine.
  • Practically no lag on modern multi-core machines with fast (7200 rpm Hard drive or better).

Cons

  • Performance may not be ideal on old hardware as you have to share processor, RAM, and resources with Windows, performance may not be on par with standalone Ubuntu.
  • 3D video acceleration limited or unavailable: you possibly cannot use eye candy like Compiz and Emerald.
  • May not be suitable for full blown production usage.
  • Once again you need Windows working and running to access Ubuntu, implying that “Virus” may have a say.

Dual Boot

Pros

  • Full fledged Ubuntu with complete control. Dual booting is not as intensive as you might think. You don’t have to take my word, check this post out for yourself.
  • No compromise in speed or quality.
  • Once you get hooked you can virtualize Windows inside Ubuntu for those few applications which are not available for *nix.
  • Best way of learning to use Ubuntu is to dual boot, as you get to devote all your attention to it.

Cons

  • Dealing with partitions can be intensive for some.
  • You cannot use most Windows applications simultaneously, at least without virtualizing Windows inside Ubuntu or without via Wine. To access Windows you have to reboot.

Let me know if you think I missed something. I think now one should be in a position to make educated choice when it comes to choose your way with Ubuntu.

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has written 1285 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

One Comment on “Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04: Dual Boot vs Wubi vs Virtualization”

  • Mahesh wrote on 5 August, 2010, 9:21

    I’m using Ubuntu 10.04 with Windows 7 dual boot on my Dell Inspiron laptop!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    [Reply]

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