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What does it mean to dual-boot a computer?

In simplest terms, it means that you have two different operating systems (OS’s) installed, and can choose which one you want to run when you start the computer. The two OS’s have no communication with each other. When one is running, the other is effectively dead. But both, when running, make use of the same set of hardware. The same processor, memory (RAM) and storage devices.

Operating Systems use RAM to do all their work in. It’s like the work table of the OS. It might get cluttered because OS’s never tidy up. When the table gets full, the OS simply overwrites any old, obsolete data that might still be sitting in RAM with new data being used now. Technically, if one could boot up into the other OS without losing power (because RAM needs power to keep data in memory), it should be possible to access fragments of data that was used by the other OS when it was running. But the longer an OS is running and working in RAM, the more of the previous data will be overwritten and lost.

Which finally brings me to the point of all this: Dreams.

When I wake up, I can remember varying amounts of detail from my dreams, but they soon begin to fade. Am I not just accessing my short term memory (RAM) and catching glimpses of the old data still sitting there? Sometimes they make no sense, but they’re fragmented and being overwritten even as I think about them, so that is understandable. Or perhaps my dream OS – the one that runs when I’m sleeping – is a completely different one, like Linux in stead of Windows. It uses another language altogether, which is why I can fly in my dreams. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It works the other way round, too. Many times a dream incorporates fragments of waking experiences – retrieved, of course, from memory. And sometimes very weird things seem to happen. That is because you have a situation of trying to make sense of a dream that was trying to make sense of a memory.

All this fascinates me, but what I would really like is to get my dream OS to store my dreams in long-term memory (the hard disk, so to speak) so that I can get to them when awake. Might need a special “reader” to translate the dream from Linux to Windows file formatting. Any programmers out there who’d like to give it a try? 😉