Ubuntu – Is it safer to install two OSes on different hard drives or just different partitions?

dual-boothard drivepartitioning

If I dual boot install both Ubuntu and Windows, is it safer to install them on two different hard drives than different partitions on the same hard drive?

What risks may be involved? For example, one OS does not recognize the files of another OS. One OS accidentally wipes out the other OS by some system operations?

Best Answer

In general, they should leave each other alone. If you do the install correctly (Windows first, then Linux, as a rule, because Linux is more 'considerate'). As far as I am aware, there is no additional risk involved in sharing a drive.

Having said that, here are some gotchas to watch out for.

  1. Windows will not be able to see the contents of your Linux drive or partition, unless you install additional software. ext4fsd works for me.

  2. Shared storage partitions. If there is a partition which both OSes can see natively, meaning FAT32 or NTFS, then there can be issues with data loss. If Windows goes into hibernation, and another OS makes changes to the shared partition, Windows will tend to undo the changes when it is resumed. I recommend either external storage, or disabling hibernation on Windows, or both.

  3. UEFI. This is new with Windows 8. There are two types of firmware interface, BIOS (older) and UEFI (newer). Both operating systems need to be installed using the same one. You can find a much more in-depth explanation here.

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