Dual booting Ubuntu from another hard drive

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I want to dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu.

I’ve read threads and forums and have got a lot of tips. It came to my mind to buy another hard drive for Ubuntu on my laptop in the range of about 160GB-320GB. I already have Windows 7 installed on my 500GB hard drive.

I’m scared that my Windows 7 hard drive will be messed up by Ubuntu. Is it okay to add another hard drive then put Ubuntu on there? Or should I just partition my 500GB hard drive?


I have a love/hate relationship with dual-booting Ubuntu with Windows. The first Ubuntu I installed was 9.04. I installed it along-side Windows XP back then. That first time was a sweet discovery of what one can do with dual-booting. Let me share my experiences with the modes suggested here.

Installing Ubuntu Inside Windows via Wubi. This is the best choice if what you want to do is get a feel of Ubuntu first. But Wubi only allows you a storage of 30Gb inside Windows. As a newbie to Ubuntu and Linux back then, I was used to seeing a graphical report of my disk usage in Windows. I never had that feedback at first with Ubuntu. There was a day when I could no longer log in to Ubuntu. After Googling about my problem, I found out that I might have exceeded my 30Gb Wubi storage capacity. Also, you can’t use the full capability of your computer if you just run Ubuntu inside Windows. This last reason was the reason that made me decide to install Ubuntu directly to my hard disk.

Installing Ubuntu Alongside Windows with one HDD. This is very much okay since that you can easily switch between Ubuntu and Windows using only one computer. Gamers, users of softwares that have no satisfactory open source equivalent in Linux, and people who work with Windows in their offices do this. I used to do this, too. There was a time, though, that I messed up during installation of an upgrade (from 9.10 to 10.04). I could no longer access my Ubuntu files and I did not know a work-around back then so I ended up backing up my Windows files and re-installing both Windows and Ubuntu again since I did not want to end up not being able to use the other half of my hdd. That was indeed some learning experience, one which I would not recommend especially if you want to maintain a day job.

Installing Ubuntu in another hdd. That is why I totally agree with wolfo9999 in this one. Hardware does not come cheap but at least you will not be troubled with messing your entire work in the other disk just because of a bug or an error that cropped somewhere during installation.

There is no need for buying another hard drive. You can have four primary partitions at a time each having different OS on each of them and they will not mess up. After all this is the advantage of partitions.

You can also install Ubuntu separately or within Windows – it is up to you. However installing within Windows is the easiest way; you can also uninstall it easily when you don’t require it.

Alternatively you can install VMware and then run as many OS that you want on your host operating system.

One more thing to remember:

Installing Ubuntu onto a second drive (the first being Windows 7) will not automatically guarantee your drive will not be corrupted. However that if one fails (say Ubuntu), you still have Windows 7 intact.

If you need more space you could buy an additional hard disk. If you are comfortable with 500GB, you can install Ubuntu side-by-side with Windows 7.

You can even install Ubuntu inside Windows 7 just like a program (using wubi.exe from the Ubuntu CD) which can be uninstalled. You may also install Ubuntu inside VirtualBox.

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