07 March 2011

Install Another Operating System Alongside Windows

If like me you've been using Windows but you'd like to try out another alternative without ditching it entirely then you have two options:
  1. Run it inside Windows: e.g. Ubuntu has its own Windows installer.
  2. Install another OS as a dual boot.
The trouble with the first option is that it will cloud your judgement of the new OS: you’ll only ever be using it ‘on top of’ Windows, so it will never have complete use of your system’s resources.
If you’re feeling adventurous you could try your hand at dual boot. With this setup when you start your computer there is a quick menu to decide which one you want to load, it automatically chooses whichever is set as the default option after a short period (e.g. 3 seconds). This way it will run alone and be free to use the computer’s resources fully.

In order to do this you need will probably to resize the disk partition so as to leave space to create a new partition for your new OS. This sounds scary and indeed does have the potential to eradicate your disk and everything on it so do exercise the usual precautions and do a full system backup before proceeding.

To Resize a partition I use a Linux distribution but you can use any OS that will boot from the CD/DVD, USB or another drive: anything so long as your not booting off the drive you want to resize. The process is simple:
  1. Create a bootable disk
  2. Boot into the chosen OS (e.g. Ubuntu or OpenSuse) from CD, DVD or USB
  3. Use the OS’s disk management program (e.g. GParted) to resize the partition. It has good instructions in it's own Help.
I detailed the process in another post.

NB You should install Windows first if you require it.

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