My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How to install Windows, Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux on the same Computer

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to install Windows, Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux on the same Computer

If you’re like me, a budding Computer Repair Technician with a background in Telecoms as laid out in my Engineering Resume and Diploma and Degree qualifications, you’d realize that you’re basically living in two separate worlds:

1.      Microsoft Windows
2.      Linux

Most BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) or RBS (Radio Base Stations) as they are also called at Cell Sites such as LIME’s and Digicel’s located in Rest Square, Milk River, Clarendon actually run on a slimmed down versions of Linux OS as their Firmware. Sometimes that firmware is written in C, C# or Java, making these Telecoms Equiptment much closer to your home appliances than you realize, as many of them have their firmware programmed using these Computer Languages.

Oftentimes, in installing the firmware on these devices, the Laptop that you use to connect to their Main Controller Module usually is running an older version of Windows, such as Windows XP. But from time to time, if you’re wary of viruses and the firmware installation you’re running is compatible with a Linux Environment, you’ll need to boot up in a Linux OS, which is often configured on your Laptop to Dual Boot.

So like it or not, as a Computer Repair Technician who used to work in the Telecoms Field as a NMT (Network Maintenance Technician) and later as a RF Technician, I’m am STILL literally enjoying the Best of Both World, Miley Cyrus Style, as I still use Linux to:

1.      Repair Computers
2.      Recover Data from Hard-Drives, Thumb Drives and SD Cards
3.      Remove Viruses

Fedora Linux and Ubuntu Linux – Juggling my two Favourite Girls

To that end, I’ve used Ubuntu Linux as well as Fedora Linux, my two favourite distributions of the Linux Operating System, in my repair of computers. Linux Distributions provide a secure environment to shop online as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online”.

In fact, I’ve detailed their use in removing Rootkit Viruses from computers in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to remove Rootkit Virus or Hidden Folder Virus using Bootable Rescue Discs”. You can also use Fedora Linux to recover files made invisible by Viruses or even to delete virus programs manually as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to recover files made invisible by malware using Fedora and Command”.

If you’ve used any of my advice above, you’d realize that what you’re really doing is booting up the Computers from the CD ROM Drive using a Bootable Linux Distribution. You can find a comprehensive list of these distributions on the LiveCD List. This is a great way to try out Ubuntu Linux or Fedora Linux without committing to having it permanently installed as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to boot or install Fedora Linux on your laptop or Computer from a Thumb Drive”.

But how do you install any of these versions of Linux so that your Desktop or Laptop can Dual-Boot into Windows or Linux? And can you Windows program in Linux? Also is there a way to Run BOTH Linux and Windows on the same Computer at the same time? I’ll attempt to answer all these questions in this article as simply as I can.

Windows and Linux – Dual-Booting Explained

To Dual-Boot in any Linux Distribution, be it Fedora Linux of Ubuntu Linux, it is as simple as installing their Bootable versions from within Windows as described in “Installing Windows and Linux On the Same Computer”, published Apr 12, 2012 7:47 AM By Lincoln Spector, TechHive.

This is no different from how one would upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 by booting the installation CD from Desktop. The machine will reboot twice and on the second reboot, at startup, you’ll be given the choice to boot the Computer in either Windows or the Linux Distribution you chose to install.

The next concern once you’ve installed Linux in a Dual-Boot configuration is how to run Windows programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop in Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux without rebooting into Windows every time. Granted, there are Linux compatible programs are a great replacement for their Windows counterparts both in Windows as well as in a Linux Environment as described in my blog article entitled “How to find great Freeware Replacement Software for Default Windows Software”.

Windows Emulation in Linux - Emulation Environments with a dash of WINE

But even as I’d pointed out in that article, a lot of Windows Programs are hard to beat. To get around this, you can install the Open Source program WINE (Windows Emulator) in Linux and then install your Windows Programs in WINE (Windows Emulator) as explained in “4+ Ways to Run Windows Software on Linux”, viewed July 6 2014, How to Geek. WINE (Windows Emulator) is especially great for Video Games but it can also allow you to run Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop in Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux that you Desktop or Laptop is running.

Before you run ahead and install WINE (Windows Emulator), it would be a good idea to scope out the Wine Application Database to get an idea of exactly which Windows Programs will work well under WINE (Windows Emulator). Then install the program on your Computer within Linux using the WINE (Windows Emulator).

Unfortunately, it’s not all smooth sailing if you’re a Business or Company using Windows Programs in Linux OS. Windows programs running in WINE (Windows Emulator) have a habit of freezing and crashing.

Thus you might want a more professional grade paid emulator that doesn’t crash. If you’ve got US$59.95 handy you can purchase CodeWeaver's CrossOver as described in “Run Windows apps on both OS X & Linux with CrossOver 12.5”, published August 14, 2013 -- 11:58 GMT (04:58 PDT) By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet.

As before with WINE (Windows Emulator), there’s a CrossOver Compatibility Database of programs that CodeWeaver's CrossOver is able to run. The advantage of CodeWeaver's CrossOver is not only does it run more Windows programs in Linux with less hassle, it also runs on Mac OS as well as automates the installation process.

Virtual Machines – Android and Windows, Wheels within Wheels, Thomas Crown Affair Style

An alternative to Windows Emulators is Virtualization. Akin to the above, mentioned software, they differ in that they allow you to install a slimmed down version of Windows inside of this Virtual Partition. Then you can open Windows OS as a mere folder on your Desktop and just go into Windows as normal and install your Windows Programs as explained in “4+ Ways to Run Windows Software on Linux”, viewed July 6 2014, How to Geek.

This is done by using one of the three (3) following Open Source software package installed within Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux:

1.      Oracle VM VirtualBox
2.      VMware Player
3.      KVM

All three Virtual Machines can be installed either on Windows or Linux but preferably not on a Desktop or Laptop Computer that already supports Dual-Booting, as that’s too many different versions of the same OS on multiple partitions within the same Computer. Such a machine is prone to crash easily, due to its complex Partition Table configuration. Thus you can have:

1.      Virtual Windows Environment in Windows
2.      Virtual Linux Environment in Windows

Possibly the only problems you’ll face is a slower Computer. To this end, it’s good if the Computer you’re running has at least 4 GB or RAM and a fast 500 GB or larger SATA Hard-Drive to handle having BOTH Windows and Linux running at the same time.

Android in Windows – Android Games at your Beck and Call

Finally, I have to put in a good word for Google Android, at least this once. You can Run Google Android Games in Windows using the BlueStacks App Player as described in my blog article entitled “How to use the BlueStacks App Player to play Android Apps on PC or Laptop - Bluestacks App Player is The Great Gatsby for Android”.

However, if you want the full Android experience, including support for Multi-Touch gestures on your touch Screen Computer and exact emulation of the Google Android environment, they perhaps you’d love to try Andy as described in my blog article entitled “How to use the Andy App Player to play Android Apps on PC or Laptop - Android and Windows Live-OS swappable Project looks more possible”.

Live Dual-OS Windows 8.1, Android or Linux – As soon as Microsoft and Google bury the Hatchet

The closest thing to Windows and Android running Live in a Dual-Boot configuration was the US$599 Asus Transformer Duet TD300 as explained in my blog article entitled “US$599 Asus Transformer Duet TD300 to launch at the end of March 2014 - Dual-OS Tablet Hybrid is the Muppets Most Wanted that gives the Best of Both Worlds, Hannah Montana Style”?

Had this machine been allowed to see the light of day, it could have marked Google and Microsoft burying the hatchet. Unfortunately they decided to bury it in each other backs by forcing Asus to kill this project as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “Microsoft and Google kill US$599 Asus Transformer Duet TD300 - One Love Kickstarter Project for Developers and Hardware Modders to Breathe life into The Art of the Steal”.

One day, dear reader, someone will develop a Linux Program that can allow Windows and Linux or Android to swap back and forth Live, just like logging in and out of multiple profiles on a Desktop or Laptop running Windows or flipping between multiple Desktop on a Desktop or Laptop running Linux.

Until then, these are the solutions available until the Better Angels of our Nature prevail.

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