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rabcor
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:30 pm    Post subject: Running an installed OS as a virtual pc? Reply with quote

Its hard to know how to put this, i'd like it if i had a way to run both of my operating systems at the same time... that is i have set up a windows 7 and linux dual boot. i use gentoo primarily and the only thing i use windows for is really just C# programming (visual studio 2010) for school (i know about monodevelop, but i haven't been able to test it enough yet to know if its safe for me to use that instead.)

What i wanted to do is to be able to run my linux and thin in an environment similar to virtual pc (vmware or whatever) access my windows 7 install without using an actual virtual machine.

Basically run both operating systems at the same time one on top of the other.

Is something like this possible?
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Voltago
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In principle: Perhaps possible.
In practice: No, not like this. The other way 'round, using your disk-installed linux from within a virtualization solution sounds at least feasible (though there might be a catch somewhere that I'm not aware of). But your Windows 7 installation would have to be configured for two different sets of hardware, the real one and the virtual one, and Windows does not like that. If the resulting driver problems don't break your neck, Windows Activation will. Your best bet would be to install a complete Win7 inside VirtualBox or whatever, and share a physical data partition with your physical Win7 on its own partition. But that would mean maintaining two installations after all and share only user data, as well as needing two valid licenses (activation again), so probably not what you want.

But a good, halfway recent computer will run a fully virtualized Win7 just fine (as long as you don't want to do any heavy stuff like gaming). I'm using my 2.5 year old Thinkpad for that with no problems.
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CaptainRabies
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually have a bit of experience with this.

I have a hackintosh I built because I'm poor, and after I was given a copy of Win7 for gaming, I explored options for virtualizing the windows portion of it.

To be clear, I currently have both systems installed in a dual-boot configuration so they can each run the hardware.

The windows portion, while sometimes unhappy that it can't "see" a graphics card, has no problems. I've lost no data, I can play many games (Far Cry 3, Batman: Arkham City, Total War, etc), all sound works flawlessly, and I regularly switch between running Win7 in bitch mode and as a real operating system. All applications work in both modes.

I use Parallels for Mac, but I'm using VirtualBox for some software at school and from what I see, there's no reason that success cannot be duplicated on VirtualBox.

You'll have to incur the penalty for running the virtual machine, but that's because hardware can't have two masters to obey. Somebody has to negotiate, and that somebody is a virtualization program asking the "real" master for resources.
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Voltago
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really surprised that this works at all, but maybe Parallels is able to pull off para-virtualization far better than Virtualbox. When I tried to migrate a physical Windows XP to a virtual one, I just couldn't get the system to start anymore because of some driver BS. And I know for a fact that Windows activation acts up sometimes when you even only change your Virtualbox version. Did you ever encounter problems with Windows trying to re-activate because of hardware changes when switching from physical to virtual or vice versa?
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tylerwylie
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CaptainRabies wrote:
I actually have a bit of experience with this.

I have a hackintosh I built because I'm poor, and after I was given a copy of Win7 for gaming, I explored options for virtualizing the windows portion of it.

To be clear, I currently have both systems installed in a dual-boot configuration so they can each run the hardware.

The windows portion, while sometimes unhappy that it can't "see" a graphics card, has no problems. I've lost no data, I can play many games (Far Cry 3, Batman: Arkham City, Total War, etc), all sound works flawlessly, and I regularly switch between running Win7 in bitch mode and as a real operating system. All applications work in both modes.

I use Parallels for Mac, but I'm using VirtualBox for some software at school and from what I see, there's no reason that success cannot be duplicated on VirtualBox.

You'll have to incur the penalty for running the virtual machine, but that's because hardware can't have two masters to obey. Somebody has to negotiate, and that somebody is a virtualization program asking the "real" master for resources.
Hackintosh run really well, even if you're not poor it is a very sensible and awesome alternative to forking over a huge premium for standard PC hardware.
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rabcor
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, i guess i'll just have to try it out then and see how far i'll get.
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CaptainRabies
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voltago wrote:
I'm really surprised that this works at all, but maybe Parallels is able to pull off para-virtualization far better than Virtualbox.


Parallels is tailored to the fact that OSX users want to run Windows programs. One of their options on creating a new VM is whether you'd like to migrate a pre-installed OS. I'm sure they've got some specialized tweaks to keep Windows from puking. Virtualbox's scope is far more broad.

Voltago wrote:
Did you ever encounter problems with Windows trying to re-activate because of hardware changes when switching from physical to virtual or vice versa?


Yes, I have, but only when setting everything up the first time. Since that initial "reactivation" (which surprisingly went flawlessly), I've been switching between booting Win7 on startup and using it via parallels for about two months now. Even when I've changed the number of cores, RAM space, and GPU access, it just brings up a little box telling me the AMD graphics drivers aren't being used (same warning I always see), and carries on.
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