Looking to try out Linux but not ready to give Windows the boot entirely just yet? Fear not, since there are many great ways you can install and use Ubuntu, or various other distros along with your existing Windows install.
Wubi Installer is a good option for this, but let’s go over some of the alternatives. If you want to try out Linux to see if all of your software will work, let us tell you how.
Bootable USB Flash Drive
You can download the ISO image for Linux distros like Ubuntu, use them to create a bootable thumb drive, and boot into Linux without touching your existing Windows install at all. Using a tool called Rufus, you can create a bootable flash drive.
Here’s a great tutorial on the whole process. This is a great method, since you’ll be running natively on the bare metal. The only drawback is that flash drives are much slower than SSDs that are common today, or even spinning disk hard drives.
A virtual machine is a program that emulates a full computer, running on top of your existing operating system. VirtualBox is a great free choice for creating and running virtual machines.
You can simply download the ISO image for your preferred distro, create the VM and mount the disc. When you boot the VM, it will show up as if you’d inserted a CD into a physical machine, and you can go the process like normal.
VM performance is not as good as running on bare metal, but modern hardware and VM hypervisors have gotten quite good, and it’s getting close to native performance.
Normal Dual Boot Install
Ubuntu’s installer can recognize that you have Windows installed, partition the hard drive, and install itself on the new partition. This will preserve your Windows install, and then you’ll be able to select which OS to boot into each time you turn on the computer. This is the best option if you’ve committed to using Linux, but still need a Windows install from time to time. If you’re just trying things out, we’d recommend another option, since this is less easy to reverse.
Check for Linux Alternatives
If you’re new to Linux, you may be tempted to find a way to get commercial software like Photoshop and MS Office working. We’d recommend you give FOSS alternatives like GIMP and LibreOffice a try. We have a full guide for gaming on Linux, and even a list of compatible free sex games for Linux.