2.9 Can I have MS Windows and Linux installed on the same computer?

Yes, you can. Many Linuxers use a dual boot. This is typically achieved by installing MS Windows on one hard-drive partition and Linux on another partition. Linux comes with a boot manager called GRUB (some, particularly older distributions may contain another boot manager called LILO). The boot manager will let you select, at boot time, the operating system you boot. Install MS Windows first and Linux only afterwards or else the MS Windows installation program will disable your access to Linux. Have a Linux boot floppy ready if you need to re-install MS Windows--MS Windows will surely disable your access to Linux and you will have to boot Linux from the floppy and then re-run the command lilo to be back in business. The best is to use MS Windows 95 because it interference with Linux is unsophisticated and workarounds are well known. Installation of the latest MS Windows offering is sure to introduce trouble into your dual booting system (obviously on purpose), e.g., insist on its own boot manager that will surely refuse to run Linux. Although it is amazing that a convicted monopolist (Microsoft) can keep interferring with another operating system, one may need to learn to live with it.

From under Linux, you will be able to read from and write to your MS Windows drive partitions so that the data exchange between MS Windows- and the Linux-based program is seamless. You will also be able to use your existing MS Windows-based resources: sound files, backgrounds, pictures, fonts, etc. (First check if it does not violate your license agreement though, smile. For products that are on rent to you from Microsoft, it probably does. With my Linux computers, I can be proud to have no pirated software on my system whatsoever.)

MS Windows will have no notion that Linux exists on your computer--it will just see that

* a boot manager is present,

* a non-Microsoft partition(s) is present on the hard drive.

MS Windows does not interfere with neither of them during normal operations (but mendles badly during installation, hard-drive re-partitioning, etc.)

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