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Boot Windows 7 Virtually && Physically (dual boot)

Okay, I have an existing Windows 7 installation on a hard disk, which I dual boot to for when I feel like gaming...

I was hoping I could setup a booting arrangement where I can boot into Windows 7 and my existing Fedora installation, yet from within the Fedora installation, use a virtual machine application to use /dev/sda (in this case).

This way if I ever want to change something, or update, install, etc. I can simply do so without leaving *nix.

So far, the solutions I have come across only cover Windows XP or so. I have tried getting it to work under KVM, but I just receive the lovely bsods. Is anybody aware of how to get this to work, with either KVM, VirtualBox, or (at the very worst) VMWare?

This really seems like a difficult topic of which I have been googling and asking around about for a week or so :/

(p.s. I hope this is the proper forum section, but sorry if it isn't)


  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    I have not heard of a method of booting into a windows system from your current linux system without leaving your linux system. If you want to make changes to your windows 7 system, either boot to it manually or install it on virtualbox and use windows 7 via virtualbox. Make sure you have enough memory for virtualbox.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    When you install an OS into a virtual environment it creates an image file of that OS. It's not the same as directing the virtual machine to an existing install on your hard drive.. You can copy files between the virtual OS and the one on the hard disk, but you can't run programs. As Tim mentioned, if you install Windows into the virtual machine, then you can easily switch back and forth. Since I don't use windows, or, have tried installing it to KVM I can't help you with your BSOD's. Windows locks itself to the hardware during an install, so, that may be part of the problem, although, I have heard of success stories running windows virtually.
    In a nutshell, you can't really accomplish what you are trying to do. The closest you can come, is installing a Linux distro within the Windows environment using wubi, but, that really minimizes the advantages of Linux.
  • sreich
    sreich Posts: 4
    Well, for instance kvm allows to easily boot(virtualize) from an existing hard disk, by simply typing in e.g. qemu-kvm --hda /dev/sda. I can install Windows regularly, to the hard disk, but then the VM blue screens. I also tried to install it through the VM, to that hard disk, which resulted in a blue screen when trying to boot normally. So it lets me have one or the other, but not both :)

    BTW, the BSODs are SATA/disk controller related -- I wish I could find a way around that...perhaps someone with more experience w/ VM's can chime in. The thing is, apparently what I want to achieve is documented quite well for < Win7 -- but there's nothing going for in terms of ==.

    But yeah, the only reason I want to use the VM is just more of convenience so I don't have to step out of my regular linux installation. And I couldn't stand to run a linux vm *inside* of windows ;-) (especially given how much of my system's resources I already use, between compiling and stuff).
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    I'm wondering if the BSOD is related to the virtual video driver that KVM uses. I know I've seen problems like this discussed on the fedora-virt mailing list. I've also heard of advancements made to some of the new KVM video driver code that works around the video problem. They really had a hard time making Gnome3 work under KVM, so, they had to come up with solutions before F15 was released.
    A lot of this stuff is way over my head, so, I'm just mentioning it in passing. Maybe looking over the fedora-virt mailing list archives might help you solve the problem. You can access the archives from this link:


    Or, you can join the list and ask to see if anyone has the answer. (Or you can wait and see if one of the guru's here actually recognizes the problem, I'm amazed at some of the answers they come up with.)

    Edit: I just realized that you said they were sata disk related, I first read it as you were wondering if they were related. Sorry, but, I'll leave the post just in case it may be useful. I guess it's time to get some sleep.
  • marc
    marc Posts: 647
    I'm sorry but you cannot do what you are thinking.

    You could if it was another linux system by chrooting....
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    The issue with what you are attempting are all driver related. when windows is installed it installs the drivers for the detected hardware, vvirtualization solutions emulate fake hardware which confuses windows.

    When you install physically it configures itself for the physical hardware, then when you boot into a VM tha hardware changes and the OS gets confused. The same is true for install via VM then running it physically. If windows was a more robust operating system and can handle hardware and driver changes on the fly during boot then your goal could be obtained, but at this point it is not possible.

    Have you tried to do the same with virtualbox running in windows while using fedora as a virtual or physical installation?
  • sreich
    sreich Posts: 4
    Actually, I wouldn't even have to chroot a linux system. I could even run it in a VM and it would Just Work.
  • sreich
    sreich Posts: 4
    Yes, I know it is because of the inadequacies of windows.

    Well, tbh, I'm not even interested in running my linux installation inside windows, since that's just backwards, because I am inside linux all the time, and windows is the one that makes things difficult/annoying.

    I've heard of vmware's workstation edition, which is supposed to allow this, from what I have read (allow what I want, that is).
  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I do not think that vmware workstation can work around the driver problem, but it is worth testing if you can get a copy. I would be interested to see if you can find a working solution in either opensource or proprietary software.
  • ajc123
    ajc123 Posts: 2
    First off - I don't think it is possible - here is why.

    I have done this with XP:
    Dual boot laptop with a XP installation and a Linux installation.
    Boot into Linux, start vmware player, run the physical installation of XP as a VM.

    To achieve this, I had to setup a 2nd hardware profile within XP.
    The first hardware profile I named "Physical" - which is to be used when booting the laptop into XP
    The 2nd profile I named "virtual" - to be used when booting within vmware. This hardware profile has VMWare tools installed.

    VMWare tools presents a different hardware layer to Windows (different disk drivers required etc) - hence the requirement for 2 hardware profiles. It is my understanding that hardware profile support has been removed in Windows 7.

    The other major hindrance I had was the type of M$ licence - I forget which one worked in the end (Volume licence rings a bell) but most licence types will fail "Windows Genuine Advantage" if the hardware changes too much (which it does when running M$ XP on top of vmware)

    For these reasons, I keep XP on my laptop and happily boot Linux and run the XP physical installation as a VM.

    If anyone can find a way to avoid the 1 (2) issues I mention, please share :)
  • ajc123
    ajc123 Posts: 2
    Sorry, I got that a little wrong ...

    VMWare presents a different hardware layer with "VMWare devices" to Windows (different disk drivers required etc) "VMWare tools" provides windows with the correct drivers to use the vmware devices - they wont work without "VMWare tools" being installed.

    For example, Windows will not recognise the disk at boot time because VMWare provides a disk type which XP does not have native support for (SATA I think, I forget)


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