Dual boot with 2 partitions, good or bad idea?

Hi everyone!
My first post here.

I just bought Sandisk Extreme 120Gb SSD and thought about creating 2 partitions, one of around 20-30Gb and other the rest.

I have been thinking of installing Win7 on the smaller partition and booting into that one only when I want to do online banking, buying over internet etc. in other words, trying to keep it as malware/virus free as possible. So, that partition would be there purely for extra security as being as "clean" as possible.

The bigger partition (with another Win7 but, later, maybe Win8) will be used (booted in) for all else and will be, therefore, more exposed to all kind of threats. I also have 2 normal HDDs and storage is not an issue.

My concern is that maybe this will slow down SSD, being partitioned etc. Do you think this is a good idea?

Or, maybe, using Virtual Machine or some other setup would be better?

I'd appreciate any suggestions :) Thanks!
8 answers Last reply
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  1. I think you are being cautious to the point of near ridiculousness. You should just invest in a good antivirus program like the rest of us and not worry about it so much.
    If you want a dual boot for Win 8 though, yeah, you could do that. You need to reserve at least 30gig, preferably 50-60 for a Win 7 install. You should not have any problems doing this with your SSD, if this is what you want to do.
  2. Two different Windows installations will essentially waste a huge amount of your precious SSD space in the form of pagefile-system (twice) and hibernation-file (twice). I would use the SSD for the most frequently used Windows install and put the other on one of the regular hard drives. Then use the motherboard's built-in boot menu to select at bootup which Windows to use at any given time. Also, it is recommended to leave about 10% of the SSD as unallocated space in order for the SSD to function efficiently over the long-term.
  3. Thank you both for helping with your opinions.

    You've gave me some good ideas, so i was thinking and decided to go and experiment with a dual boot with Win7 and Win8 and see if that hampers the SSD performance visibly. I will try and optimise both; will turn off pagefile and hibernation file etc. In a few months, when Win8 comes, if i decide that i like it better than Win7, then I'll just start from the beginning, reformatting and creating a single Win8 partition on SSD. Then, as suggested by spankmon, I could install another OS onto regular HDD and boot it when needed.
  4. I agree with jitpublishe an antivirus should be enough.

    If you're still worried

    You could also setup your PC with a single partition, 1 OS, no dual-boot, and use a bootable DVD (such as linux mint) when you want to do online banking, booting from DVD means you'll always boot into a clean environment.
  5. Thanks dalaran, that with a DVD and linux is a bit new to me since I do not follow Linux development. I do have a Knopix bootable dvd though. Only ever used it once for troubleshooting friends PC.
    BTW, I do have a Kaspersky Int. Sec. and, of course, plan to install that on all OS instances. The trouble is, I do not like mixing everyday careless web browsing (my wife also uses this PC occasionally) and online banking and shopping. I think for the former, it's always safer to do it in a clean environment. I feel this way, since I had a bad experience a few years ago..
    I will have a look into Linux Mint as you've suggested. I guess Linux as an OS is less vulnerable to all sorts of online exploits anyway.
  6. Buy a smal HDD and load windows and your banking app on that.

    Put the drive in a mobile rack that fits into a 5.25" external bay.
    Something like this:

    ONly when you want to boot from it, turn it on. You can remove the drive for safekeeping too if you want to.
  7. Any bootable DVD would do as long as it supports your network card, I suggested linux mint because it usually comes preloaded with a lot of application (including a web browser) and it's simple to use. Since you already have one with Knopix you could try it first it might already have what you need.

    Only drawback of using a DVD is loading speed, if it's too slow for you then then one of the other hard drive based solutions suggested before should do the trick as well.

    Good luck!
  8. Have you heard of Qubes OS? It's an OS in development with the primary focus of providing "security by isolation" in a format that is user friendly. That is basically what you are trying to accomplish with a clean OS for secure banking. The developers are highly regarded in the computer security world. One of their developers was the one who recently discovered the security flaw with one of Intel's 64-bit instructions, that essentially affects every major 64-bit OS.

    I suggest you read the Tomshardware interview with the Qubes OS project manager Joanna Rutkowska. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/qubes-os-joanna-rutkowska-windows,3009.html

    And browse the Qubes website:

    Even if you decide not to use the OS, the documentation should at least make you more security conscious, and possibly give you some ideas on how to implement more computer security in your daily computing.
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