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DroneBot Workshop
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Step-by-step instructions for building a dual-boot workstation with Ubuntu Linux 22.04 & Microsoft Windows 11

Article with code: https://dronebotworkshop.com/dual-boot

The workstation in my office that I use to develop code is on its last legs, so I’ve decided to put together a new one. This time, instead of just Linux, I’m building a dual-boot computer that will run both Ubuntu Linux 22.04 and Microsoft Windows 11.

I’m starting from scratch, with a “bare-bones” Intel NUC 11 that I’ve configured with two SSDs and memory, however, you can also use these instructions to modify an existing Windows 11 device. I’m installing both Windows and Linux onto the same SSD, but you can also use independent drives for each operating system if you prefer. And, if you wish, you could use a different distribution of Linux.

Dual-boot machines are not perfect, you can also elect to use virtual machines or WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), I’ll go over those options in the video.

Once I get the two operating systems installed, I’ll also create a shared drive that is visible to both Linux and Windows. Then I’ll demonstrate how you can configure your Arduino IDE to use the same shared location for storing sketches and libraries.

Here is the Table of Contents for today's video:

00:00 - Introduction
02:43 - Dual-Boot Workstation
08:12 - Dual-Boot Alternatives
09:47 - Obtain Ubuntu & Windows
13:40 - Bootable USB Utilities
15:42 - Windows Licensing
19:58 - BIOS Settings
21:58 - Install Windows 11
26:20 - Prepare Windows for Linux
32:44 - Install Ubuntu 22.04
37:07 - Bootloader Choices
39:23 - Using Both Operating Systems
49:24 - Conclusion

Hopefully you will find the video and the associated article useful if you’re putting together a dual-boot system of your own.

😎

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Inq
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I'm sure your video is well done as usual and I'll look at it the next time I get to the library to adequate Internet bandwidth, but I'm curious... is there a good reason to use a dual boot anymore?  As you mentioned in the options, using a virtual machine seems far more convenient. 

I use my machine native on Windows and just use Oracle VM Virtual Box.  I used to have several programs that only ran on Linux, but most of them added a Windows version or I simply don't use them anymore.  Almost all of the programs I use run on Windows.  I loaded up a VM just so I could run the Raspberry Pi OS version for x86 so I could use the same tools for Raspberry Pi, but with faster hardware.  But with the advent of Raspberry Pi 4, I don't even use that anymore.  It's easier to just use VNC Viewer to a headless RasPi4 and simply program that way... especially if I need to program with the pins.  

Just wondering if there is some benefit, I'm missing to make it worth waiting while the computer is rebooting and not having access to both OS's program at the same time.

... or is this like a retro thing... like running a Commodore 64?  🤣 

3 lines of code = InqPortal = Complete IoT, App, Web Server w/ GUI Admin Client, Access Point Manager, Drag & Drop File Manager, OTA, Performance Metrics, Web Socket Comms, Easy App API, All running on ESP8266...
Even usable on ESP-01S - Quickest Start Guide


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Ron
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@inq I also use a VM on my Mac to run Raspbian and Win11. I don't use either enough to warrant a dual boot and like you use VNC most of the time for working on my PI4. I think the reason for the dual boot is a bit more speed, and the certainty that any bugs encountered are not being caused by the VM software as unlikely as that may be.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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frogandtoad
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@zander

Posted by: @zander

@inq I also use a VM on my Mac to run Raspbian and Win11. I don't use either enough to warrant a dual boot and like you use VNC most of the time for working on my PI4. I think the reason for the dual boot is a bit more speed, and the certainty that any bugs encountered are not being caused by the VM software as unlikely as that may be.

As good as Bill's video on dual boot system is, the truth is that the days of dual and triple boot systems are long, long gone (Sorry Bill) - I think the last time I used a multi boot system was back in ~2000. These days I use VMWare, VirtualBox, Proxmox and DOCKER... VMWare is my favorite, but Proxmox is becoming more and more popular as it matures.

As for performance costs, these days it's very minimal, and the only thing that really matters in these environments is mostly RAM - I note in Bills video the NUC had 64 GB... more than enough, so not an excuse for performance - I have only been using 16GB, and only last week after many years upgrading to a new system with 32 GB - More than enough!

Using virtual environments for many years now, there is no situation I have found that performance was a factor, unless you're heavily into 3D rendering and video editing, it's not a problem at all for today's modern machines.

Besides, why boot into something else in isolation, when you can run many O/S's dynamically at will, in parallel with many other systems at the same time.

 

I even network my virtual machines together for testing in isolation... something you can't do with any multi boot systems.

My 0.02 cents

Cheers


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codecage
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@dronebot-workshop

If BalenEtcher complains about the image not being bootable and gives you two choices, Change or Continue, when trying to burn the Win11 image onto a USB memory stick, what should we chose, Change or Continue?

SteveG


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DaveE
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Hi @codecage,

 I havent tried loading Win 11 yet, so this may also give trouble. but my usual fallback for Win 10 and Linux images, is to use Rufus .. which is a free Win only application.

Good luck, which ever way you fix it!

Dave


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frogandtoad
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@davee

Posted by: @davee

Hi @codecage,

 I havent tried loading Win 11 yet, so this may also give trouble. but my usual fallback for Win 10 and Linux images, is to use Rufus .. which is a free Win only application.

Good luck, which ever way you fix it!

Dave

One of the advantages of using a Virtual Machine, is that you don't need to burn anything... you can run the ISO using the Virtual CD Rom; the Virtual environment provides.

Cheers


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DaveE
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Hi @frogandtoad,

  I gave one of the free virtual machines (maybe the free one from Oracle??) a quick go some years ago, but suffered performance and compatibility problems, which put me off. Nevertheless, I think the time to revisit this technology is approaching. Thanks for the prompt.

If you have a spare moment, maybe a short note of what to do, and not to do, as well as the pros and cons, in a new thread would be appreciated by a number of people watching this forum? Also which processors, and how much memory, etc., are needed to make it work properly .. in my case previously, much of the downside was probably down to insufficient 'horsepower'. I realise such questions are in the 'How long is a piece of string?' category, but shared experience is always valuable.

Best wishes, Dave


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hobbyfun
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Very nice video about dual booting. I always enjoy listening to your videos. Thank you.

I am wanting to do something similar and have a few questions I hope someone will be able to help me with. I work with scientific/engineering programs mostly (finite element, CAD, dynamics, simulation, etc.) sometimes with large files if that matters. These programs deal with binary as well as ascii(text) files. I am not very familiar with operating systems, file systems, and other computer stuff. I am just a retired engineer user having fun doing some analysis.

I would like to dual boot Windows and Linux Mint (or possibly Ubuntu). I will have 2 ssd drives. On one drive I will have Windows and on the other drive I will have Linux. My question stems from sharing files between the two operating systems.

Would Mint or Ubuntu both be the same as far as file sharing with Windows?

My understanding is that the Linux file system is ext4 and Windows is ntfs. I will be doing nearly all my work in Linux but there are some programs that only run in Windows.

If I partition a portion of the one of the ssd's for an ntfs file system, will Linux be able to read and write to the ntfs partition without any problem? (i.e. S: <---> /home/shared or something like that)

If I copy files or directories from the shared ntfs partition to a non shared directory under Linux will it convert the files to ext4 format? If I copy a Linux ext4 file to the shared partition will it be converted to ntfs?

What issues if any are there in working with the two file systems?

I don't understand where the converson between file systems happens or even if it happens. Can someone please clarify how this all works?

Thanks, Don

 


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Ron
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@hobbyfun The only way 'conversion' will happen is if you get a piece of software for the Linux that understands NTFS and then it can write to EXT4. Windows AFAIK can't do anything.

I thought Bill said he would be using a FAT32 shared drive. Also, MINT is a 'special' version of Linux, I would not recommend that distro for your use, just use UBUNTU.

I could be wrong, but re-watch Bill's video and see what he is using for all 3 file systems, Win only, Linux only, and shared.

If my memory is working (a rarity now) the Linux driver for NTFS is Read Only, but it's been a few years since I played hard in that arena. 

The video has a chapter on shared drives. FAT32 will work, NTFS might.

Screen Shot 2022 07 23 at 16.55.23

 

 

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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YurkshireLad
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VirtualBox works pretty well on Windows. I used to use it at work for a while as our PCs ran Windows  it we developed on Linux. You need to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack to get the best performance. I think VirtualBox might have a menu or start menu item to install the pack. It's been a while since I last used it and I don't remember.


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TheOutlander
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I am a VM fan-boy, and I am fortunate to have multiple Windows and Linux desktops in my lab. So I would not really consider a dual boot machine but I can see the appeal for certain use cases.

That said, I will go back and review file sharing as I am trying to find a graceful way to share sketches between platforms. I have NAS solutions in my Homelab, I just need to be clear in my architecture to avoid confusing the machines & sketches! 

Regardless, each video teaches us something even if we don't run out and build things exactly like Bill does!

"Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works." - Michael Hartung


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frogandtoad
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@davee

Posted by: @davee

Hi @frogandtoad,

  I gave one of the free virtual machines (maybe the free one from Oracle??) a quick go some years ago, but suffered performance and compatibility problems, which put me off. Nevertheless, I think the time to revisit this technology is approaching. Thanks for the prompt.

If you have a spare moment, maybe a short note of what to do, and not to do, as well as the pros and cons, in a new thread would be appreciated by a number of people watching this forum? Also which processors, and how much memory, etc., are needed to make it work properly .. in my case previously, much of the downside was probably down to insufficient 'horsepower'. I realise such questions are in the 'How long is a piece of string?' category, but shared experience is always valuable.

Best wishes, Dave

Hi Dave, as I don't know how far back it was when you last tried it, or your computer setup, it's hard to respond to any performance issues you may have had in the past, however, I can say that virtual machines (at lest the type 2 ones (Oracle VirtualBox and VMWare for example), love memory the most.

Btw... this is a huge topic, and I don't feel I can really do it justice as I would only be scratching the tip of the iceberg!  Nevertheless, I'll throw in some of my experiences that may help you and others reading if they wish to delve into this magical world further.

First of all... I use 4 different types of virtual machine hypervisors (DOCKER, OracleBox, VMWare and proxmox) - DOCKER is the odd one of the bunch here, as it specialises in virtualising Operating Systems on top of your native hardware, that's why it is super fast, and mostly suited to virtualised applications (widely used in DevOps teams in the IT world).  On the other hand, the other three virtuaslise your native hardware, and allow you to install different operating systems onto that virtualised platform.

VMWare is one of the most popular industry wide standards, and I own a licensed version of VMWare Workstation, but VMWare also offer a community version for free called VMWare Player for pretty much all platforms, I think, and it doesn't have much missing from the paid version, nothing that the home user/experimenter would miss at all, so a pretty good deal.  OracleBox is also free, and a good alternative as well, and some even prefer it over VMWare - I just think VMWare has a better management interface, otherwise, they are probably quite equivalent!

Now, proxmox is pretty much an enterprise level virtual machine hypervisor and a competitor to VMWare ESXI enterprise level product, but it is absolutely free open source, and very powerful.  Even though I have a licensed copy of the more capable VMWare Workstation, for the new machine I am building I will most likely just use proxmox, as I am finding it to be more user friendly than my current VMWare Workstation solution.

Of of the major problems I've always had with VMWare (not it's fault to some degree), is that if you run out of disk space while taking a backup/snapshot etc... the VMWare configuration files are easily corrupted and render your machine broken - There are some tools available to recover broken machines, and I have done it several times, with a 75% success rate, however, as you can see, I lost as well and could not recover, which meant a full re-installation of that O/S - So backing up virtual machines is very important if you care enough about their content.

proxmox also works a little better with networking between machines, so it's a great technology to have on hand for your homelab, even along side your main daily driver if you can't afford a dedicated machine for it or any other virtual platform for that matter.

I'll hopefully get my new machine up in the next week of so, and report back with the difference in performance (current 4 cores 2nd gen i7, 16GB RAM + standard SSD, to 12 cores, 32 GB, current generation + SSD NVME ~7000/~5000 RW).

So as far as performance goes, you can get away with 8GB if you only want to run a couple virtual machines in parallel, but you will have to limit their RAM size when you set them up (you can change this at any time too), to something that allows your main O/S to function properly and not starve it of RAM - Again... the more memory and hard disk space you have, the better you will be.  Also, the hard disks contribute greatly to performance - IDE's are not the best, but they still work, however, install an SSD, and the difference in performance is in magnitudes, just as it is for basic O/S copying files from one location to another - The faster the better.

Hope this helped somewhat, but please feel free to ask more questions and I'll try to clarify.

Cheers


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frogandtoad
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@zander

Posted by: @zander

@hobbyfun The only way 'conversion' will happen is if you get a piece of software for the Linux that understands NTFS and then it can write to EXT4. Windows AFAIK can't do anything.

I thought Bill said he would be using a FAT32 shared drive. Also, MINT is a 'special' version of Linux, I would not recommend that distro for your use, just use UBUNTU.

I could be wrong, but re-watch Bill's video and see what he is using for all 3 file systems, Win only, Linux only, and shared.

If my memory is working (a rarity now) the Linux driver for NTFS is Read Only, but it's been a few years since I played hard in that arena. 

The video has a chapter on shared drives. FAT32 will work, NTFS might.

Screen Shot 2022 07 23 at 16.55.23

 

 

Linux can understand the NTFS file system and others, but you will need something like SMABA Server installed.

Since when is "MINT is a 'special' version of Linux" ?
It's a fantastic distro loved by many, and based on Debian like many other distros.

File sharing is no problem between Windows and Linux, as long as you have the right services installed.

Cheers


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DaveE
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Hi @frogandtoad,

  Thanks for your info on virtual systems.

  It was quite a whie ago, and very short of 'horsepower' of all computing varieties, so I had presumed things have changed.

----------

More recently, I briefly started to read about Docker .. and quickly got very bored and lost ...

I got the impression it was more of an 'industrial server'  packaging system .. great if you wanted to run three different bits of stable software on the same large server box for 100+ users, assuming you liked spending your life as a 'Butler' managing and feeding servers, and presumably getting paid "adequately" for the pleasure/misery.

As someone who likes to flit around etc, is the only user, ...  and not looking for a new career .. I moved on.

Maybe a mistake on my part ... did I miss the obvious, perhaps read the wrong stuff?

---------------------

VMWare and Oracle I was 'vaguely' aware of .. I think it was Oracle I tried. They would heve been on my list if I decide to try VMs sometime, though the commercial strings to both give me a slightly uneasy feeling, eventhough I realise they have versions in my budget range (£0)

 -----------

proxmox hadn't registered on my radar .. and your comments make it look attractive ... I hadn't presently planned to reach the horsepower heights you are moving to, but I will be interested to know how it goes.

-----------------

I am aware, but by no means keeping up with, the way in which each generation of Intel and AMD devices are not only quicker, and sometimes have more cores, but also they sneak in extra instructions and capabilities. Have you had specific problems because your processor didn't have a "capability" that came with a later generation? I think you will be about 6 generations in front of me, to say nothing of a lot quicker!!

(Again, please don't go any trouble .. just if something occurred to you.)

--------

Once again, thanks for the info ... I hope others will find it inspiring as well.

Dave


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