I start a new job soon at a pre-revinue startup. Computer programming. I need to work on my own laptop when I'm there. I fear that when I'm at work, I will be distracted by all my personal accounts; the tabs I had open at night, files sitting on my desktop,... I don't know!

So, I was thinking that I could duel boot my computer with Linux (which would be beneficial as Linux is great for installing packages), but this would decrease my system performance and I'd have to turn it off and on again if I realized I needed something on the windows side.

Is there another solution? Am I just too paranoid?

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    " I fear that when I'm at work, I will be distracted by all my personal accounts; the tabs I had open at night, files sitting on my desktop,.." and worst of all, browsing SE . . .
    – peterG
    Aug 6, 2016 at 23:26
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    Dual-booting with another operating system shouldn't reduce your system performance. After all, only one operating system is running at a time. (Perhaps you were confusing this with installing a virtual machine, which might have some impact.)
    – mhwombat
    Aug 6, 2016 at 23:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a better fit for Productivity.SE.
    – Jim G.
    Aug 7, 2016 at 14:29
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    While this seems to be in Scotland based on the OP's profile, it's never really a good idea to use personal devices for work, for a variety of reasons that have been reviewed here and on other SE sites before. The best solution for you may be to buy a cheap linux laptop for work if your employer won't provide one.
    – Lilienthal
    Aug 8, 2016 at 8:41
  • Virtualisation technologies may be of assistance. Set yourself up a "work VM" and use it for work stuff. Keeping work and personal separate is hard.
    – Criggie
    Aug 8, 2016 at 9:55

3 Answers 3


What I'd suggest is just creating a second user account on the computer for work. Make sure that all your work related stuff is done using that login. That way all your personal accounts and tabs are under a different login and not as easily accessible. Of course you still can, but at least it's not just... there.

In any environment, it takes self discipline and focus to concentrate on the task at hand. It's important to set yourself goals and milestones during to achieve, and that can stop you getting distracted, especially if you keep them fairly tight. As an employee being paid to do work, it's your responsibility to ensure that you do that. No amount of shuffling around accounts or dual booting can take away from the underlying issue that you need to manage your time appropriately and keep focused on what you're being paid to do.

But by making a separate account, it at least takes away the immediate accessibility of your normal stuff and perhaps can help to keep you focused on what you should be doing.

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    While I agree that a 2nd user account is a good first step, before heading down that road I'd want to find out what the employer's requirements for data sanitation are when you leave. If they're going to want to wipe the drive to make sure all their proprietary data is gone, separate user accounts to the same OS install would still destroy any of your data that's not backed up elsewhere. Separate partitions give much better separation between personal and work data; making it much less likely that your own data would be caught in the crossfire. Aug 7, 2016 at 0:42
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    @DanNeely It seems from how the OP frames the question that it's more about how to keep focused at work rather than data separation. So yes, I agree if that is what they are trying to achieve then dual boot is a good option, but that doesn't seem to be OP's issue.
    – Jane S
    Aug 7, 2016 at 0:50
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    Agreed. I mostly wanted to make sure they were aware of potential pitfalls of BYOD that might make a different implementation a better way to achieve their original stated goal. Aug 7, 2016 at 0:55
  • @Dan, good point and one of the reasons I would never consider working anywhere that expected me to use my own equipment. I had a coworker that knew the policy for cell phones was that IT would wipe them even if they were personal but didn't consider that she would not get notified first and have a chance to back stuff up. They laid her off and wiped her phone while she was being told. Took out all her personal info and pictures.
    – HLGEM
    Aug 8, 2016 at 17:07
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    @HLGEM I wouldn't go as far as a blanket ban; but my baseline would be to deduct the cost of buying a work laptop out of pocket from my total compensation. And I'd be really leery of taking an offer like that which wouldn't let me fund the purchase from a signing bonus. Aug 8, 2016 at 17:25

Depending on how robust your laptop is (or you can make it), the best solution I've found for myself is to run a Virtual Machine on the preferred O/S. Running Linux with a Windows VM makes usage far more efficient than dual booting and has far fewer potentially damaging side effects. Updates can damage the ability to boot in the desired O/S and will certainly inflict pain depending on which you really need for your job! As a 'dual-booter' myself, I've found that if the hardware will support it (RAM, CPU, disk space, etc.) it makes it WAY easier to run the VM. Basically "all of the good, none of the bad". This works exceedingly well if you use VPN or need to run more than one VPN at a time - and have the resources to be able to do so.

Oh... and if your questions was about staying focused, I have used several different apps as timers, etc. Search for apps that help those who work from home. Each one has different selling points so I made a personal list of what I was having trouble with and selected an app based on that. Then it becomes a matter of self-discipline. First take away the opportunity to fail, then add the positive influences that help you shine.


I set up a different ("Limited User ...") account on my machine for every Client that I have.

Within each account, I set up the personal environment that is needed to service the needs of each ... including, as with Evil's suggestion, any virtual-machine environments.

(When a client goes dormant or is terminated, the associated account is Dispatched To The Archives, and deleted.)

So, the bottom line:  "when I am "At Work™, On The Clock,™ for each Client," there is nobody else.   During the workday, I will not once logon to any of those "personal" (i.e. 'non-revenue(!)') accounts.

"When the clock strikes six," the billable work-day is done, and so my time is again officially my own. Hence, I shall not give "any of those 'work accounts'" any attention ... "'til the 'morrow.'"

And so it goes. Each day, my self(!)- discipline respects both the boundaries of the work-day and the weekend.

"'My' time is My Own, and 'Billable' time is My Client's." I am equally careful to remain Faithful to both.

... as I have done for more than three profitable decades, now.

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