This is my compilation of my questions regarding distro switching. To begin with, where are all my programs stored in linux?(like the c:/ drive in windows) If I switch distros (I know my files will be intact but..)will my programs be removed? Do I have to install them once again? As of dual booting: How much space would you recommend allocating for linux?(My use case: I will use linux for everything except ms office and games.) I know the file system of windows is NTFS and linux uses ext4. So will I be able to access my windows files in linux and linux files in windows? Will there be a performance degradation in doing so? If so, how much? How much swap area would you recommend? How do I install Windows alongside Linux? Will windows take over linux or will the vice versa happen? If so, how to prevent it? All in all I love linux but occasionally I want to use windows as well.

  • Only Ubuntu and official flavors of Ubuntu (ubuntu.com/download/flavours) are on-topic here, refer to askubuntu.com/help/on-topic. Your question doesn't even mention Ubuntu, but refers to distro's (not flavors as used in Ubuntu terminology) so I see no connection with this site. Ubuntu doesn't require you to re-install programs (if you install without format) however it'll depend on a lot of options, and this does not apply to non-Ubuntu systems in most cases. – guiverc Jul 7 at 6:32
  • A number of your questions as written are unanswerable (correct swap size is dependent on your hardware, your applications & end-use of your system, none of which have been provided). Yes you can use shared file-systems, and yes there are costs (better usually to have a shared area used by both rather than each use the other's, as NTFS is foreign to windows, the same applies to your unstated chosen fs used by unstated Ubuntu which has many options!) Your question is too broad (see askubuntu.com/help/dont-ask as well as the on-topic link in prior comment) – guiverc Jul 7 at 6:36
  • "will my programs be removed?" windows software is not compatible with linux. We have alternatives for about any sofwtare used in windows though – Rinzwind Jul 7 at 7:21

In the future, it is advised to stick to a single question and your question may get closed for asking multiple questions but I will go ahead and answer.

Personally, I would recommend using at least half your drive for Ubuntu but that depends on how much you plan on using Windows in the future and how much you plan on using Ubuntu. If you plan on primarily using Ubuntu, you may want more. If you plan on primarily using Windows, you might want to use less. If you plan on using them both equally, you might just want to use half and half.

Applications are not stored in executable .exe style packages the way they are in Windows. Applications are initially stored in compressed .deb files but they are expanded and the contents are distributed to different directories during installation. The bin files typically run the application and they are typically stored in /bin or /usr/bin or /sbin or /usr/sbin or other bin and sbin directories that may exist.

However, you don't have to worry about this stuff because installation and removal of applications are handled through a package manager. Similar to how we use the "play store" on Android operating systems, there is an application package that you will use to search for and install applications.

Alternatively, you can use the command line to install applications using the apt command. For example, to install gimp, you would run the command: sudo apt install gimp

Next, you will often hear that "everything in linux is a file." Also, what you call "folders" are typically referred to as "directories." Typically, your main drive is mounted at / instead of C:\. However, when you have an extra drive, it can be mounted anywhere in the filesystem that another drive is not mounted to.

For example, your main drive is mounted to /. You can create a new directory to mount a new drive such as /mount/ and external drives are often automatically mounted to a directory under /media/. However, you cannot mount a new drive to / because you already have a drive mounted to this directory. In other words, unlike windows which has an individual filesystem for each drive, there is one single file system and extra drives are mounted to directories under your main filesystem. So it functions more like a tree with branches and extra drive is like an extra tree that can grow from one of the branches.

As you probably know, partitions function like individual drives. However in windows, if you have two partitions they will be labeled as C: and D: etc. and the same applies to partitions of any additional drives which may be E: and F: etc.

On linux type systems, individual drives are labeled /dev/sda and /dev/sdb etc. and individual partitions are labeled /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2. These labels are not referred to when referring to your filesystem the way the labels are in Windows but we do use these labels for mounting purposes. So we may say that /dev/sda1 is mounted to / and that /dev/sda2 is mounted to /media/username/drivename/.

Swap space is typically added automatically on newer versions of Ubuntu and it is not recommended to mess with swap.

You can access NTFS from Ubuntu but you most likely cannot access ext4 from Windows. Here are some performance benchmarks provided by Phoronix.

Finally, just to let you know, your "home" directory is located at /home/username/

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  • What do you say about windows accessing ext4 using drivers? Like ext2fsd, etc !?? – Sujay R Jul 8 at 12:21
  • you say swap will be added automatically, right? What if I choose the "something else" option during installation? – Sujay R Jul 8 at 12:25
  • @Sujay.R Yes. Newer versions of Ubuntu use a swap file instead of a swap partition so it will add the file automatically unless you actually create a separate swap partition. – mchid Jul 8 at 16:01
  • @Sujay.R As far as Windows accessing ext4, I've heard that ext2fsd is not reliable and can sometimes lead to memory corruption so use at your own risk. – mchid Jul 8 at 17:10
  • @Sujay.R Also, as for accessing NTFS from Ubuntu, you will need to make sure to disable any fastboot option in Windows and make sure that Windows is not in any type of hibernated or fastboot state or you will have problems accessing NTFS. You will also need to make sure Windows is in no hibernated state or fastboot state during Ubuntu installation and this is important. – mchid Jul 8 at 17:14

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