open XP on second drive as ...

… a virtual machine?

I have XP on a SATA drive and OpenSuse on an IDE drive.

The normal boot order brings up the Linux system by default (I haven’t yet played with a boot loader to select, I disable the Linux drive in the BIOS and then the XP boots).

So, my question is whether I can use one of these virtual machine packages I see around to boot up my XP on my other drive within Linux.

Also, any tips on the safest way to add the XP drive to GRUB? I have trashed things twice monkeying around with stuff like this and I am very nervous about undertaking such a project now.

My Linux is sda and XP is sdb (NTFS). I also would like to mount the sdb drive with NTFS write support but am uncertain about trashing something there as well. Any tips? Should I use Yast for altering fstab correctly or what? The sdb entries in the Yast partition manager appear to be an accurate reflection of the XP drive.


  • sjewins wrote, On 09/07/2008 10:56 PM:
    > … a virtual machine?

VMWare can do this. Two things: Your Windows will be terribly confused if you boot it from the real machine and VMWare, because the “hardware” is different. Also you don’t want to have the Windows partition mounted with write access while the VM is running.

If you decide to use VMWare, I assume you’ll get better answers in the VMWare forums.


In addition to vmware, you can also do this with Virtual Box.

There are two virtual box versions, the free opensource version, and the proprietary “cost free” version. The proprietary “cost free” version is more capable.

In the case of virtual box, one creates a “virtual drive” inside one’s Linux partition. This virtual drive can be “ntfs” but note it is inside a Linux formated partition

You also need a PC with lots of RAM, and preferably a faster processor.

as buckesfeld said, vmware can do this, it can mount a real partition but I would really doubt it would load, not sure virtualbox can do this, not found the option for it yet but then I just started using virtualbox and dont really need the feature.

I been moving my vmware win2000 installs to virtual box the past few days and learned the following, windows installed a specific hal driver when you installed it, vmware uses/needs “ACPI Uniprocessor PC” while virtualbox uses/needs “Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC”. To see what your “real” XP install uses check under “computer” in your XP device manager.

the win2000 virtual disk would not even boot under virtualbox unless I changed the above in the vmware install of win2000 to the version that virtualbox uses, shutdown vmware and then booted the vmdk with virtualbox.

XP seems even a bit worse as it also seems to be very hooked to its disk controlers.

I am pretty sure that you will run into the exact same issue from a “real” XP install to a vmware or virtualbox boot.

This is a good start: Migrate_Windows - VirtualBox

but tbh I would simply make a new install on your vmware or virtualbox, install + latest SP will not take that long and it can run in the background.

ps: my reason to go from vmware to virtualbox was because of the fact I can mount a vdi from virtualbox easly under linux when I need direct access to it.