I've been using Arch for a while as my daily driver and only OS. Same install over the last few hardware configs, worked pretty great. The only issue is that I accumulated a lot of packages over time, doing stuff, testing etc., and starting from a clean slate seemed easier than hunting down packages I don't use. I'm also switching jobs, and the new job will require some Ubuntu and Windows skills – I haven't used Ubuntu for years, and in a long time I only used Windows on company laptop for Office, Teams and WSL. Yesterday's freetype2 update breaking Steam Runtime gave me the perfect excuse to try something new.
So I decided to set up dual boot on my desktop PC, something I haven't done in a decade, with Pop!_OS 21.4 and Windows 11 insider preview (to get used to it, as I guess most companies will eventually switch to it, and some games if they don't work well in Linux). I also used this chance to redo my disks as GPT instead of MBR and go full UEFI instead of legacy, as well as try out systemd-boot instead of grub.
After preparing both USBs and backing up my home folder to my secondary drive, I went on to install Windows 11 first. That was a mistake, as the stick hung up during boot. Apparently, MS does messed up ISOs which don't work well with dd. After some duckduckgo-ing around, I tried out the woeusb tool from AUR, it was slower but also hung up during boot. Tried again with Windows 10 isos, and neither worked. After that I threw in the gloves and just used my son's Windows 10 laptop to create install USB – but I also remembered my secondary drive has some ancient Windows MBR bootloader on it, so I wiped the MBR just to be sure (that was prior to the GPT conversion). One or both of these apparently solved the issue, and soon I was installing Win10 21H1…
Many reboots later and it booted up – it had missing drivers! That got me back 20 years ago, and left me with the offline computer as it didn't even detect the ethernet adapter (on Intel B560 chipset, btw), sound hardware, and some other stuff. Something I never thought I'll see again, in this or previous decade. OK, my chipset is pretty new and I've seen it work out of the box on some older PCs and that a lot of people never had that problem, but still – I did. Even with minimal Arch boot that had almost nothing installed, I still had working ethernet to fix this, Windows gave me nothing. I had to boot Pop!_OS live USB to find and download drivers from motherboard manufacturer's website. I downloaded only ethernet drivers, installed them in Windows, and I got networking. Still, Windows Update did not find any working drivers. Updated to Windows 11 insider preview, other hardware still didn't work by default or from Windows Update, so I was back at manual driver download and install. In the end, I got it working – after about 8 hours of trying out different USBs, installing, driver hunting and updates. As well as fixing some weird stuff, e.g. Windows Terminal shows in programs but it's not actually installed and clicking it does nothing unless you pull it from the store. The one good thing I could say about it is that ssh is nowadays included in cmd by default. It was a longer OS install and setup process than any I've had in the last decade on Linux, apart from the first time Arch setup, and it was more buggy and less functional than it.
Pop!_OS worked flawlessly out of the box, it was setup in minutes. Far better hardware support out of the box and far more user-friendly compared to Windows. Pretty much the same for any regular distro.