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My laptop: If there aren't any comparability or driver issues I'm considering installing Ubuntu. I think I still want Windows for some games and for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 C++.

How should I do this tough?

My preferred method is obviously have my OEM Windows back, but the disc costs $20 and I can't find a torrent anywhere.

Should I install windows, create a 2nd partition, install Ubuntu on 2nd partition? Should I install Ubuntu and use Wine for windows applications, or is my computer too old? Should I install Ubuntu, create another partition, then install Windows?

Or maybe there's a better way.

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You may want to read this answer on how to create a dual boot system with Vista and Ubuntu. – Stef K Aug 21 '13 at 21:53

If you really need to use windows then go for a 2 partitions. Using wine and/or virtualbox inside ubuntu will be ok for most of the cases, but heavy applications like games and visual studio, it will definitely be too slow.

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I've got Windows 7 dual booting with Ubuntu. IIRC I resized my windows partition without the need to reinstall windows, then created a second partition for Ubuntu. I think I used gparted running from a Linux live cd to do the partitioning, but not 100% sure. Was a little while ago. Take a look here for info on dual booting. It says you need your recovery CD, but that's probably only if things go wrong or for fixing the boot loader.

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the finding of windows torrent isn't that hard, but I guess it will be illegal to install it other than the test period. Other thing is that it isn't going to be oem, there are programs that can trick it into believing it is which leads to illegal.

Here is my opinion, if your laptop came with rescue discs like my Toshiba A305-S6905 use them to freshen up your windows(not sure if it will do the trick), but backup your important data first. After that you can make a small partition for Ubuntu and make a dual-boot machine (look here for some info on dual-boot). If you don't have rescue discs think what you want more and stick with it, for example you need to build a project with Visual Studio so better stay with windows.

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