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I have both Linux and Windows installed in my laptop. I want to know whether it affects my computer's performance to have multiple operating systems. Can this reduce performance, or is it fine?

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    How is this in any way opinion based? There is no question of opinion here: of course there is no effect other than disk space used, the OSs are completely independent of one another.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 9:55
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    Does this answer your question? Multiple OS in a Laptop or Desktop
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 16:29
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    @C.S.Cameron no, of course not. But that would be a very different situation. Since the OP clearly stated "installed" and did not mention VMs, I don't see why we would assume they ment to write something completely different to what they actually wrote.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 16:30
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    @terdon I'm reluctant to close as this question seems clearer, more specific and has more detailed answers
    – Zanna
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 18:07
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    In the olden days of spinning hard disks, read speeds in the outer and inner sectors were different, see e.g. here. So installing your OS in a different location on the disk could affect performance. In particular, this affects dual-booting, since one of the OSes has to reside in the outer partition of the disk. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 19:00

5 Answers 5

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No, it only affects your Disk Space.

While you are using an OS, the other OS is just a bunch of folders and files, often in an unmounted partition, to it does not affect performance

Performance is controlled by CPU, GPU, RAM, and Disk I/O speed, and ONLY the active OS has access to it.

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  • Thank you :) Your help is appreciated! Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 3:47
  • Well, while "CPU, GPU, RAM, and Disk I/O speed" determine the overall computer speed, the question was obviously whether a second OS uses some of those resources even when not in use, resulting in less performance being available for the current OS. Your answer is correct, but the last sentence is misleading, or rather, misses the question. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 17:35
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    This is not true for an HDD. If the new OS is installed on the slower section of the HDD, performance will be severely affected. An HDD read/write speed can vary by 20-50% depending on where it is reading/writing. This can cause the OS to be more sluggish, because everything takes a lot longer to load. If things are bad, this can cause the whole system to lock up a lot more, just waiting for all the I/O to get done. Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 18:33
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If you are using a virtual machine to provide multiple operating systems running at the same time, they must share system resources.

In that case both OS's performance may suffer.

If you have a traditional dual boot system there should be no drag on performance.

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If one of your systems is a reasonably modern Windows, it has a feature known as "Fast Boot", which may prevent you from accessing Windows drives from other systems, and in some cases may even cause trouble when booting. See Is there a way to make Windows Fastboot and Ubuntu work together?

On the other hand, disabling the feature will make your Windows boot longer, although I've got no data on the exact timing. See also "Is it necessary to disable Fast Boot in Windows to dual boot with linux(EFISTUB)?" over at Unix&Linux.

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  • Note that this applies to systems installed on bare metal, and not to virtualisation software such as VirtualBox. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 11:55
  • Fastboot also causes a number of other issues even without dealing with multiple OS installations, and is a rather questionable feature in the first place, IMO.
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 4:48
  • I haven't heard of other issues, what are they? Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 13:57
  • Fastboot doesn’t (at least for all purposes) really count as a proper “reboot,” which means some of the time you think you’re restarting your computer (to allow some update, to fix some problem, whatever), but you’re actually not.
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 15:08
  • That makes sense Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 15:10
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No.

No matter how many operating systems you have installed on a drive, only one of them can be loaded at any given time, with the others simply sitting on the drive doing nothing.

Thus, as others have noted, the only resources having extra operating systems would consume is disk space.

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  • I generally agree with this except that if the drive were a traditional hard-disk drive with spinning platters and moving heads, the location of the individual OS files on the drive (outer edge vs middle vs inner) can change performance due to how fast the platters are moving and how fast they can be accessed. These days, this isn't a problem, but OSes still offer to put themselves somewhere fast or slow leaving the slow or fast remainder to the user. I don't think there are any locale specific issues with solid-state media that are really measurable and matter.
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 16:28
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It would be better to have one computer with one OS, so you can manage it better, but what I did, was I got an external hard disk and I install Linux on it while my main hard disk was on the computer. In that, I can manage my hard disk space and use the same hardware e.g. CPU, GPU, etc,

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  • I don’t think many people will agree that it’s ‘better’ to have one os per computer - dual boot is used to good effect by many people.
    – Will
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 6:22

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