Originally Posted by ruthie84
So I am obviously completely new to Linux. I have Windows 7 (avoiding Windows 8 as long as possible) and am not sure if I should do a dual boot or run it as a VM. If I choose the latter, which virtual server app should I use and is there an open source alternative?
"It's time for some thrilling heroics."
I had very good experiences with virtualbox so far. I run windows xp in it for the (by now very few) tasks I need a windows environment for, but I'm sure W7 will run fine, too. It's typically available in the repos, so installation is convenient.
The advantage of using a virtual machine is that you don't have to reboot everytime you want to switch to the other OS. Virtualbox supports common folders on the host and the guest, so moving files back and forth is not a problem.
Note that you will split RAM between the two, so if you have old hardware your machine may slow down quite a bit while running the virtual windows.
If you decide to go for the virtual windows I'd still recommend to leave the original windows install on your computer when installing the Linux of your choice. If you have difficulties to get everything up and running as expected you may need this fallback option... Once everything runs smoothly you can still wipe the windows partition later.