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3. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I install Fedora on my computer, and keep Windows?
Q: Can I access my files from Windows from Fedora? What about accessing my Fedora files from Windows?
Q: Can I replace my unsupported Windows XP installation with Fedora?
Q: Can I install my favorite software on Fedora?
Q: Should I install Windows first, or Fedora?
Q: Can I have Windows installed in UEFI mode (the default for Windows 8 systems) and disable it to install Fedora?
Q: Can I use universal USB creation tools to create Fedora installation media?
Q: The Fedora installer says I don't have enough free space, but Windows says my C: drive has plenty. What's going on?
Can I install Fedora on my computer, and keep Windows?
Yes! Fedora can coexist with Windows, other Linux distributions, and more. Fedora provides a menu that lets you choose the operating system to use when you turn on your computer.
Can I access my files from Windows from Fedora? What about accessing my Fedora files from Windows?
You can easily access your Windows files from Fedora. The Files application in Fedora Workstation, and most other graphical file browsers, will show Windows NTFS volumes for you to browse.
Unlike Fedora, Windows does not have native support for most filesystems. There are third party drivers available that allow Windows to read some filesystems, like ext3 and ext4. Windows does not currently support virtual block devices such as LVM, which is used for Fedora installations unless you specify otherwise.
Can I replace my unsupported Windows XP installation with Fedora?
Of course! Fedora releases a new version roughly every six months, so keeping up with Fedora means you'll have a secure operating system with the latest open source software.
If your computer came with Windows XP, try out alternative desktop environments from https://spins.fedoraproject.org. Fedora has something to offer for older, less powerful computers that might be more suitable for you.
Can I install my favorite software on Fedora?
Fedora is more than just an operating system, it's a robust ecosystem of open source software. Word processing applications, spreadsheet programs, games, music and movie players, image viewers and editors, and email clients are just the beginning of the software Fedora provides.
Some of the software will be the same as on Windows, like Firefox. Some, like LibreOffice Writer or Calc, do the job you're looking for in a familiar way. Fedora's repositories offer solutions for almost every computing task, but it might not do it with the same program you're used to.
Should I install Windows first, or Fedora?
It's best to install Windows first. Fedora should detect your Windows installation, and set up a bootloader entry for it. Windows will overwrite the Fedora bootloader, and does not set up a menu option for Fedora.
On newer computers, this usually isn't as important as it was in the past. The system doesn't need to rely on the bootloader from one operating system or another, because they have information about each installed operating system stored in the UEFI firmware. You can simply choose your OS from the system boot menu.
Can I have Windows installed in UEFI mode (the default for Windows 8 systems) and disable it to install Fedora?
No, you should not do that. UEFI's job is to boot operating systems, and if you disable that, you will also disable the ability to boot OSes that need it.
You should be consistent about firmware settings when multibooting. If you have a UEFI system, use it for every OS you install. Fedora supports UEFI systems, with or without SecureBoot. If you use backwards compatibility settings to emulate BIOS installations, you should do so for every OS you install.
Can I use universal USB creation tools to create Fedora installation media?
In short, no.
To fully answer that, you have to understand what these tools do. In times past, Linux distributions produced ISO images in a format that made them work when burned to an optical disc. The same format doesn't work when the image is directly written to a USB drives, so tools were created to modify the images for use on USB sticks. Typically, this involved transferring the contents of the image to the USB drive, then installing a syslinux bootloader to the drive and configuring it to boot the drive's new contents.
Today, Fedora images are created in a hybrid format that's directly usable as an optical disk or USB disk, for both legacy and UEFI systems. A syslinux bootloader alone isn't compatible with UEFI booting. When the universal installation tools replace the hybrid booting configuration with syslinux, the image can't be used on UEFI systems. You end up with a USB drive that's only bootable in legacy mode, which conflicts with dual booting of other operating systems installed in UEFI mode, such as any laptop preinstalled with Windows 8.
For best results, follow the instructions in the Fedora Installation Guide for a direct write method of creating USB media.
The Fedora installer says I don't have enough free space, but Windows says my C: drive has plenty. What's going on?
Fedora needs it's own space, it cannot use free space on C:. You can use the installer to resize existing partitions and make room for Fedora.