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Thread: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

  1. #1
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    Default Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    I have a dual boot set with XP Pro and 11.2 Is there a way to boot the already installed XP Pro as a guest in VBox? There are many occasions when I would like to jump into XP from 11.2 with the VM. Searches can't seem to find any link to this specifically but this may just be me and the terminology involved. Any links,references,suggestions,or cautions appreciated.

    Found info on mounting an image here but not sure this is what I want.

    HOWTO: Mount any VBox-compatible disk image on the host (View topic) • virtualbox.org

  2. #2

    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    I don't believe this is possible from what you are describing. Here are the two major problems:

    VirtualBox uses special image files (vdi) for its hard drives. I don't know of any way to convert an existing file system into a vdi image. If there is, it would be a copy of your XP partition, so any changes there would make it inconsistent with your "native" installation.

    The second problem is that Windows doesn't handle some hardware changes very well. Since you are taking an installed copy of XP and putting it on new "hardware", you have a good chance of seeing problems there.

    I still think it would be pretty cool to find a utility to turn a physical disk/partition into a vdi file, but I was never able to find one myself. If anyone has found something like that, I would also love to know.

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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    There's tricks to convert a native install to a virtual machine. Know there are, have no practical experience.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by difficilus View Post
    I have a dual boot set with XP Pro and 11.2 Is there a way to boot the already installed XP Pro as a guest in VBox?
    VirtualBox cannot do that. But I believe VMware does.

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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewEhle View Post
    I don't believe this is possible from what you are describing. Here are the two major problems:

    VirtualBox uses special image files (vdi) for its hard drives. I don't know of any way to convert an existing file system into a vdi image. If there is, it would be a copy of your XP partition, so any changes there would make it inconsistent with your "native" installation.

    The second problem is that Windows doesn't handle some hardware changes very well. Since you are taking an installed copy of XP and putting it on new "hardware", you have a good chance of seeing problems there.
    Oh no! Two copies of Win on my box ... arrrrggg!
    Seeing windows through a Linux lens is tough enough and I just didn't want to go through installing it again in VBox for the limited but often necessary access I need when running 11.2.

    [/QUOTE]I still think it would be pretty cool to find a utility to turn a physical disk/partition into a vdi file, but I was never able to find one myself. If anyone has found something like that, I would also love to know.[/QUOTE]

    I thought the same thing.

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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by Knurpht View Post
    There's tricks to convert a native install to a virtual machine. Know there are, have no practical experience.
    Have not found a thing yet. Still looking.

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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by please_try_again View Post
    VirtualBox cannot do that. But I believe VMware does.
    Have not found much on VMware on this either. I didn't look at VMware relating to this possibility much as for some reason long ago I selected VBox as my app of choice. Don't remember why now so I'll look at it a little harder (but not too hard).

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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    What I did was re format the Windows part mount it as /vm and reinstall Windows in the VM on that partition. But I don't need high end 3D Windows games. I develop Windows programs on it. I've had it for 3+ years and 3 Suse versions.


    You can use VM ware to do what you want but I remember looking at the instructions back when. The trick was to set up a second hardware configuration in Windows. But I forget how the switch was made between the two boot configurations.

    But I like just having windows under control in a VM. I seldom shut it down just suspend it. Takes about 15 secs to start it up again that way.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by gogalthorp View Post
    What I did was re format the Windows part mount it as /vm and reinstall Windows in the VM on that partition. But I don't need high end 3D Windows games. I develop Windows programs on it. I've had it for 3+ years and 3 Suse versions.


    You can use VM ware to do what you want but I remember looking at the instructions back when. The trick was to set up a second hardware configuration in Windows. But I forget how the switch was made between the two boot configurations.

    But I like just having windows under control in a VM. I seldom shut it down just suspend it. Takes about 15 secs to start it up again that way.

    Thanks gogalthorp and everyone . I have a sound footing to work from now. Two XP hardware configs and dink with the boot configs ...hmmm.

    I also found this with more accurate search terms:

    HOWTO: manage VDIs and import native installations

    HOWTO: manage VDIs and import native installations (View topic) • virtualbox.org

    Seems to be a plethora of alternatives. Though not exactly what I was originally thinking of but still might be a few workable alternatives in there. This may be a little closer to what your looking for however, MatthewEhle.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Use vbox to mount installed XP as guest - dual boot

    Quote Originally Posted by difficilus View Post
    This may be a little closer to what your looking for however, MatthewEhle.
    Hey, that's great! I spent some time looking for a solution like that about a year ago. I'm a big fan of VBox, so this will likely come in handy in the future. It would be a killer feature for VBox to be able to boot and run from an existing physical partition... I hope you pick a solution that works for you until they decide to build it

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