Bad Security 201 – Dual Boot   Leave a comment

Dual Booting is bad. If you do it on the public internet, you’re a bad sysadmin. No biscuit. No excuses.

I get a lot of traffic (almost 2/3 of the visits to the site) on my post about Fat and Vista. Most of these visitors are looking to hook up some ginormous external hard drive to their Xbox and their PC, but some significant portion of those people who are visiting are looking for file systems that can work with any OS. They want to run Windows and Linux, or Mac OSX and Windows, or they’re straight crazy and they want to run FreeBSD, Windows, and Mac OSX (you know who you are).

Don’t dual boot. Really. Don’t do it. It’s just a bad idea.

Yes, I know. You’re a Linux user, but one of your favorite games doesn’t run under WINE. Or you’re a Windows user, but at heart you’re a command-line junkie. You’re just so used to some tool or set of tools that works much better under Xorg than under the Windows GUI. You don’t like Cygwin (I don’t blame you, I think Cygwin is horrid too, but that’s a topic for another day).

Here’s the thing: if you’re running the Windows operating system, and you’re connecting to the Internet, you either observe Patch Tuesday or you are going to be excommunicated. And by excommunicated, I mean your machine is going to become one of the zombie hordes, and when you die and go to the Pearly Gates, St. Peter is going to hand you a print copy of every spam your machine ever sent out and make you eat it before you get through the doors.

Dual boot machines don’t get patched. You can promise yourself that you’ll be good, and that you won’t click on “install later”. You can promise yourself that you’ll *always* patch your machine before you do anything with it. You’re kidding yourself.

If you’re stuck with one set of hardware and an absolute need to run more than one operating system*,you need to virtualize. Virtual machines (whether they be VMware or Parallels) run inside your parent OS. They’re not immediately exposed to the big bad Internet. Plus, they force you to have some sort of data discipline. You can keep a virgin copy of your VM around and throw away your working copy if it gets hacked. Not too much fuss, very little muss.

* Come on, you can buy a decent computer for $400 nowadays. Are you *really* stuck with one set of hardware?

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Posted October 16, 2007 by padraic2112 in freebsd, linux, mac osX, OS, security, software, tech, Windows

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