Linux Distribution to use.

Inoordna

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I am planning to buy a laptop within the next month and it has Windows pre installed on it, and I was wondering if I could duel boot Linux. I also want to know if windows will be able to see my information by duel booting Linux too, and would want a distribution similar to windows. Also could you provide the information on how to duel boot Linux and install the distribution. If I said anything stupid in here then sorry I'm not particularly techy.
 


tom777

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Yes you can install another OS like linux alongside windows.
windows being able to see data about other OS depends on a couple of things like encryption, partitioning format used to install linux like whether it's NTFS(which windows uses)or EXT4(which only linux can view this and not windows) and etc.

For information on how to install linux I will have to point you towards youtube because it's the best and easiest way to learn how to install linux .

If you want to have a windows like exprience on linux and also since you are a beginner you might want to use "linux mint" or "kubuntu" (it's ubuntu with KDE)
 

MatsuShimizu

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I also want to know if windows will be able to see my information by duel booting Linux too
You can encrypt your home folder if you want to avoid Windows from spying your Linux home folder. Choose ext4 as the file system during installation. ext4 is for Linux.

and would want a distribution similar to windows.
Linux Mint 20. System requirements is 1GB RAM, 2GB RAM is recommended. Details here.
Kubuntu. System requirements 4GB RAM. Details here.
Xubuntu requires 512MB RAM, 2GB RAM is recommended. Details here.

Also could you provide the information on how to duel boot Linux and install the distribution. If I said anything stupid in here then sorry I'm not particularly techy.
You can choose whether to install Linux Mint alongside Windows, or erase the entire disk or do something else during installation. Other distros are basically the same.
 
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Vrai

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I also want to know if windows will be able to see my information by duel booting Linux too
windows being able to see data about other OS depends on a couple of things like encryption
You can encrypt your home folder if you want to avoid Windows from spying your Linux home folder.
Actually, when using an encrypted home folder or even an entire encrypted disk it must be unencrypted with the password or key in order for the user to use it. At that point Windows, or any other entity/person can easily read it. Unless you are really quick and Windows doesn't notice :)

If I were that concerned about Windows snooping on my Linux partition (a rather far fetched scenario) I would just get rid of Windows and install solely Linux.
 

KGIII

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My understanding is that Windows doesn't have native capacity to read Linux file systems (ext4, Btrfs, etc).

So, unless you install something to enable that on the Windows side, it shouldn't be a problem.
 

MatsuShimizu

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My understanding is that Windows doesn't have native capacity to read Linux file systems (ext4, Btrfs, etc).
Yeah, from my experience, if my USB flash is in ext4 format and then I plug it into a Windows computer, Windows cannot read it, even though it is not encrypted. But, it is best to encrypt it.

Further reading here.
 
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KGIII

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I know you can install something that will allow you to read ext3/ext4 from Windows. I don't know if it adds write capacity.

I'm not sure I'd want it to write to the drive as Windows won't really know how to deal with the permissions.
 

gvisoc

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That depends what the malware targets. An exploit on windows that gives access to the hardware can be used to compromise the whole system, and damage or ruin your Linux installations. Also, allowing ramsonware to run on a Windows or Linux box can end up encrypting all the network shares, no matter where they are mounted.

For local OS running on the same machine take into consideration that Windows 10 fully understands now the different filesystem formats of Linux as it includes WSL2 (a different issue is that they're not available through Explorer, but they're in the OS). Vice versa is also true, although viruses in Linux were very scarce, malware is not, and you can compromise your Windows installation if you allow a malware to run under Linux. *

My advice would be, no matter what, be one step ahead to the malware by means of your behaviour by double-checking what you click, download and run in any OS, back up regularly and, if you want to go beyond, encrypt your filesystems independently between systems.

* A virus self-replicates, malware is a more general term that includes also the ill-intentioned software that tricks the user to elevate permissions in order to get access to the operating system, for example, inputing the sudo password. These affect all Unix variants and Linux distributions are not exceptions.
 

MatsuShimizu

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Ok thanks guys, but lets say I get malware on windows or on Linux would it spread between systems?
On Windows, malware usually in .exe format. And, .exe files on Windows doesn't work and cannot run on Linux, unless you activate in on Linux with the WINE program. But, WINE program is not needed if you want to do dual boot Linux with Windows.

Further reading:
Can malware spread to Windows from Linux on a dual boot setup? - Reddit
Can a Windows virus transfer to Ubuntu - AskUbuntu
 
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MatsuShimizu

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You also mentioned that Windows wouldn't be able to see my files but what about browser searches and apps used etc.
It cannot.
1. If you choose to install Linux with ext4, then Windows cannot read that. Because Windows naturally cannot read ext4 file format. (Details here). But, you must choose ext4 only during installation for this to work. Do not choose NTFS or Fat32.
2. Your browsing history, cookies let say on Firefox will be stored on home folder. If you choose to encrypt this folder during installation, then it can't.
 

gvisoc

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It cannot.
1. If you choose to install Linux with ext4, then Windows cannot read that. Because Windows naturally cannot read ext4 file format. (Details here). But, you must choose ext4 only during installation for this to work. Do not choose NTFS or Fat32.
Yes, it can.

That situation is changing rapidly, if it hasn't changed already. As per current versions of windows, you only need a piece of malware able to gain admin privileges and then run wsl --mount. Check this, from september 2020: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/09/wsl-2-access-ext4-from-windows-10
If you want to be absolutely sure of that not happening, encrypt your linux partitions.
 

Inoordna

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So if I were to get my laptop, duel boot Linux on it using the install .ext4, and then encrypt the Linux partitions and files I would be fine? Safe from windows eyes?
 

Condobloke

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Yes, I believe so.

Keep it simple. Practice safe browsing, dont be 'click happy', backup your important stuff to an external hard drive. (There are some excellent add ons to run in firefox browser that will keep your privacy quite safe)

On the practical side, set up Timeshift, and keep the snapshots also on that external hard drive. This will resurrect Linux if you screw it up)

Linux is meant to be enjoyed. It is not meant to have you hiding under a rock.

In time, you may decide to blow Windows away and just run Linux on its own. I did that nearly 7 years ago and have not looked back....not once.

Think positive. Act carefully.
 
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