Multiple Boot, Virtual PC, or Live DVD: Which Is Best for Multiple Operating Systems?

Do you want to use two or more operating systems on your desktop computer? Then there are three options: parallel installation, virtual PC, and booting from a Live DVD or USB stick.

For example, do you usually use Windows 11 but just want to quickly browse a Linux distribution like Linux Mint, or boot into a rescue system to remove malware infections? Then using a Live DVD or USB stick to boot the system is a good choice.

Advantages: You don’t need to install anything or make any changes to the Windows configuration – so the live system leaves no trace: if you remove the DVD or USB stick, your PC will boot into the permanently installed operating system, such as Windows 10 or 11, after a restart.

On the other hand, if you want to properly test Linux Mint (or another operating system) and install applications, then the first step of using a virtual machine might be the better choice.

The behavior of a virtual machine is more or less similar to that of a real PC, and you can even exchange data with the host (usually your Windows computer) or other devices in the network. However, since the virtual Windows or Linux virtual machine is isolated by default from the host and network, it is mainly suitable for software testing and browsing potentially dangerous websites. Good: You can freeze the system state and return to a backup point later with a mouse click.

Another option is to parallel install two or more operating systems on a hard drive or SSD, called multiboot. After opening the computer, you can select the operating system to boot in the boot manager.

This allows you to use Windows 11 and Linux Mint on an equal basis and access stored data – whether the data is available locally or on a network share.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual PC


Hardware configuration as needed: Virtual machines configured in VirtualBox can be reconfigured at any time, such as acquiring more RAM or additional hard drives for data storage.

We want to take this opportunity to explain the main advantages: Since the 2000s, virtualization technology has become part of the daily life of corporate networks and data centers. It can reduce the number of dedicated computers and optimize the use of existing hardware. Many other virtual servers can run independently of each other on a host server. This saves energy and management costs.

For home users, desktop virtualization solutions provide a sophisticated way to test different operating systems without the need for a large PC base, allowing you to use Linux on Windows, or even use Windows on Linux.

But virtualization also has its limitations: While virtualized environments can convert commands from client operating systems to CPU and memory with minimal speed loss, it’s not as easy for other hardware components. Graphical performance is insufficient for complex games. Memory in virtualization software is typically limited to 128MB—even if more memory is available.

The biggest advantage of virtualization: Regardless of what you do with it, you always have a clean client system. Ideally, even if the virtual machine crashes or gets infected, your host system remains unaffected.

You can also change settings within the virtual machine and try out prompts according to your preferences. With just a click, you can return to the original state—on a real PC, major crashes can sometimes lead to expensive repair measures.

Advantages and disadvantages of multiple booting


Installation: If Linux Mint is installed alongside Windows, you can choose the desired system at boot time.

With dual-booting (whether it’s a live system or a permanently installed operating system), you can make use of the available resources on your PC. The processor, RAM, and graphics memory are all available without restriction, and all other hardware components (such as printers, webcams, and scanners) are also accessible.

For example, if a lack of hardware requirements leads to a failed installation of Windows 11, a dual-boot system can be used in conjunction with Windows 10 and Linux Mint. Additionally, typical tasks on the PC can be separated, and the PC can be clearly divided for personal and business use. The downside is the need for dual management.

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