Dual boot or VM (...and encryption)?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by dogbite, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Guys, I am torn.

    I have a laptop with Win8.1 which I cannot remove because others in the family are not familiar with Ubuntu and they do not want to learn it.
    But, I want to use Ubuntu as my primary OS of this PC.
    What do you think is the best solution?
    Dual boot (maybe with a third partition where to store all data, documents, etc) or Ubuntu running in a VM with Windows as host?
    Another problem is how to secure the data (which either OS should read/access) with some encryption....

    Thanks much.
     
  2. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Dual boot with full-disk encryption would be hard, I think. Running Ubuntu as a VM would be simplest.

    If both OS need access to the data, you could have a TrueCrypt etc file container in the Windows host, and mount it as a shared folder in the Ubuntu VM.
     
  3. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Thanks.
    Actually I am thinking to set up like this (500GB HDD):

    Win8.1 Partition 50-70GB, no encryption
    Ubuntu 14.04 on the rest of the HDD, with full disk encryption.
    So basically no Data/third partition.

    90% of the time, I will be the only user of this PC. When the family uses Win8 and and then I need to work on their files, I can either move them to Ubuntu with a USB stick or via dropbox or similar. I know it's not really comfy but maybe it's one of the best compromises.

    The other second option is doing as you (mirimir) said, but with a little change: FDE with Diskcryptor (being Win8.1 Home I am not sure it has Bitlocker..) and then VM with no container, being already inside a full encrypted disk.

    EDIT: indeed Win8.1 Home does not have Bitlocker.
    EDIT2: forget about Diskcryptor dual booting with Win8.
    https://diskcryptor.net/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=h1mo6j0rnhn1s7cheib2deub11&topic=4697.0
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  4. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Maybe simplest, you could dual-boot, with only your Ubuntu Home folder encrypted.

    -https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EncryptedHome

    this option affords maximum performance on Ubuntu as opposed to using a vm setup.
     
  5. Yuki2718

    Yuki2718 Registered Member

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    Surely, it's simplest way.
    On Ubuntu installation, you'll be asked if you want to encrypt home directory, so no hassle needed. One possible problem for dual boot is if in the future if you remove Win8 Ubuntu before Ubuntu Windows, you'll get into boot problem.
    Depending on your machine power, VM can cause significant slow down. IMO it is more suitable for testing or development purpose.
    Also if you plan to use Truecrypt, make sure to choose FAT format as Linux can't recognize NTFS.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014
  6. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    That could be...I'm not sure about booting differences between Win7 and Win8. Would it not depend on the Active partition and where Grub is installed, especially if it's installed on the /root partition?

    In my most recent setup on really old hardware (2003), I had a h/drive failure the other day, so I scrounged up a spare sata drive that had some data already on it, then re-partitioned it using Gparted and created a 30GB extended partition for Manjaro. I like Extended partitions because they use up only one partition, yet you can have up to four partitions within it. /root is the Active partition in my case where Grub is installed and the system boots from it. I've no other O/S installed on the drive as of yet.

    EDIT

    I forgot to mention to dogbite, make sure to image your current setup before embarking on any changes you decide to make to it.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  7. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Thanks for your valuable input.

    Just some more info: This PC has 6GB RAM and an AMD Quad-Core A4-5000 CPU (1,5 GHz, 2 MB 2nd level cache). Thus it should handle quite ok Win8 but I do want a lean and fast OS, not having Ubuntu to slow down in a VM because all the junk of the host system.
    I've read something about /home encryption in Ubuntu, maybe this is the best way to go...still I am freshman with linux.
    Are all personal data (files, documents, etc.) contained in the /home? What about applications (browsers, other software)?

    This PC has no data in, yet. So I just can try what I want without even backing-up (well...hopefully I do not mess Win8 up..:D:D)
     
  8. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Home folder is where your Documents and Downloads folders, amongst others, are located. Your browsing data will be in there as well, so it will be secure from prying eyes. Applications are outside of it, but they should not be anything to worry about, as far as privacy is concerned.
     
  9. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Ok great, I am going for that.

    Now I have a question about size of partitions.
    What is the recommended size for the /root with Ubuntu 14.04? Some 10GB?
    Then I'll make Home around 400GB and the rest for Win8.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  10. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    10 GB is probably a minimum, so if you have the available realestate you might want to go for 15-20 just to play it safe. Mine is already at a bit under 6GB used on my spartan Manjaro setup.

    There's a nice guide here on dual-booting Ubuntu and Windows 8. I've no experience with Win8 so unfortunately I can't offer advice on this arrangement, although this guide i'm sure will steer you in the right direction.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  11. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    Yeah, I've already read it.
     
  12. Yuki2718

    Yuki2718 Registered Member

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    Sorry, there're some mistakes. Firstly problem can occur when you firstly uninstall Ubuntu before Windows, this is because Ubuntu overwrite MBR by Grub. Next, Linux actually can recognize NTFS, though some distro requires additinal component. I had to remember I can mount Winodws partition from dual-booted Ubuntu.

    And I also don't know much about Win8 boot especially UEFI + GPT, so please take what I say/said as a grain of salt.
    Yes, the problem is where the grub is (as to active partition, AFAIK it can be problem only when you install more than one Windows), if you install Ubuntu w/out configuration it will overwrite MBR with Grub and it boots directly from there, and also Grub includes configuration info, those things cause problem on multiboot environment because each OS' boot are not independent.
    The best solution is install Grub on PBR, not MBR, and install other boot manager such as Multi Boot Manager to MBR, thus each OS' boot become independent.
     
  13. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    I think in this case Win8 is already installed, which is ideal. When Ubuntu is installed, the Grub2 bootloader should be installed to /dev/sda just as the tutorial shows. Earlier I mentioned the possibility of /root but that is not actually recommended.
     
  14. dogbite

    dogbite Registered Member

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    After some further thinking, I am going to set it up in this way:

    1st Partition with Win8.1 (pre-installed), no encryption
    2nd Partition with Ubuntu 14.04, no encryption
    3rd Partition "Data" for Documents, Pics, etc, ntfs formatted, accessible by both OS. In this partition I will create a Veracrypt container where to put confidential files.
    Having VeraCrypt installed on both OS, I should be able to open that container with either OS.

    Am I missing something?
    Thanks.
     
  15. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    That should probably work fine. I've got Veracrypt installed in Manjaro but I haven't used it yet.
     
  16. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    I'd rather stay with Truecrypt v7.1a for now. It passed the initial audit and no back door was found. The same can not be said for Veracrypt.
     
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