I've been considering running elementary OS as my primary OS instead of Windows, but I do have a couple of questions regarding virtualization (or even dual-booting).

Let's put this into context, I've finished my bachelor's degree in IT and I'm proceeding for a master's degree (also IT). I'll be mainly focussing:

  • Office-documents (not necessarily Microsoft Office)
  • Most likely C-programming (or C++)
  • OpenVPN, and ownCloud in the near future.

Is it adviseable using elementary OS for this use-case and just virtualizing my Windows machine, vice versa, or stick to dual booting?
I've got quiet a powerful laptop, so virtualizing shouldn't be a problem:

  • i7
  • 8GB Ram
  • 250GB SSD

Now regarding the virtualization of machines, which program is most adviseable, I've read that Xen is quiet the powerhouse as it's a type-1 hypervisor but I'm personally more experienced using VMWare Workstation or Virtualbox (I do understand that VMWare and Virtualbox work on a different layer), but the main reason I'd use Windows is because of Visual Studio and/or Microsoft Office.
Another question to avoid any confusion, do I run Xen on Elementary OS or vice versa?

Thanks in advance,


1 Answer 1


I've been running a similar setup for a couple of years. I have elementary OS as my primary OS. Windows 7 as a virtual machine using VMware Workstation. I also have VirtualBox installed for use with vagrant environments. I'm running this on a i5 with 8GB and non-SSD.

For the Windows VM, I have it set to use 2GB of RAM. I use it mainly for Office and Visual Studio. There haven't really been any performance issues using it this way, but it depends on the size and complexity of the projects you are compiling in VS.

As far as hypervisors go, I haven't looked at Xen in a while, but from what I remember it was a bare-metal hypervisor that is basically KVM at the core. If that is still the case, you are left with VMware Workstation or VirtualBox. I like both, but for me VMware seems to perform a little better plus I can use it to access my ESX clusters. Either one should work well though.

For my workflow, I usually use two workspaces with a web browser and terminal in one, and VMware Workstation in another. The only issue that occasionally bothers me is when I attempt to use elementary shortcuts while in the Windows VM.

Overall, I really like the workflow. Try it for a week or two and switch back if you don't like it.

  • Hello Michael, thanks for you response and sharing your experience regarding (the almost) similar situation, I will try this setup and I'll get back to you when the academic year is going and how this setup is running. As for now, I'll mark your response as an answer to my questions, thanks! Aug 25, 2015 at 17:01

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