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Windows 7: Beginner question: Virtual instead of dual boot?

13 Feb 2010   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Beginner question: Virtual instead of dual boot?

Finally comfortable with Windows 7 and have left XP nehind. However, Im keeping my wife and kids on a dual book (separate hard drives) for Windows 7 and XP. Is there a way to virtualize the XP hard drive and make it accessible within Windows 7 so we dont have to log to dual boot each time? Thanks!

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13 Feb 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Sure, you can do that with stuff like Virtual Box, or the Windows 7 XP Mode (if you have Professional and above). My school teachers do it all the time on their Macs for presentations and such.

Here's a Tutorial.

Windows Virtual PC - Create Virtual Machine
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13 Feb 2010   #3

win7 ultimate / virtual box
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zen00 View Post
Sure, you can do that with stuff like Virtual Box, or the Windows 7 XP Mode (if you have Professional and above). My school teachers do it all the time on their Macs for presentations and such.

Here's a Tutorial.

Windows Virtual PC - Create Virtual Machine
as Zen advised virtual is scarily good, I use Sun virtual box and it's rock solid, when i set it for seamless mode I have to double check to see if I'm in windows 7 or XP or Vista virtual land

I used to triple boot XP Windows 7 and Vista but now Im a convert to virtual machines
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27 Feb 2010   #4

Windows 7
 
 

Well Ive installed both and it fires up but only goes to a black screen. Im wondering it it only works pointing to a partition on a disk and not a complete separate drive with another OS installed.
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04 Mar 2010   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

What version of Virtual Box are you using?
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05 Mar 2010   #6

Windows 7
 
 

I havent installed anything yet.
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05 Mar 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

When you create a virtual machine, you actually have to provide an installable media disc to load the virtual machine. Rather than actually using a hard drive partition, the virtualization technology loads everything within a couple of files...and mounts these files and presents them as hard drives to the virtual machine.

You can take what you already have and convert it..using tools like the free VMWare Converter tool. This will allow you to take a physical computer running XP and turn it into a virtual machine instead. You do have to run this from another computer though and connect over a network to the machine running XP to make the conversion. At the end, you end up with a vmdk file (which is that single file that contains the image of your physical machine).

The other issue you will have here with a virtual machine, is that in order to use it, your other family members will have to boot into your partition, use your operating system and then launch their operating system. Thus, they potentially put the security and stability of your OS at risk...if you don't trust that they know what they are doing.
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05 Mar 2010   #8

Windows 7
 
 

Thanks parks for that explanation. It sounds like my "In a perfect world" scenerio really isnt possible. Dual boot is still the simplest most elegant solution.
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05 Mar 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by agunslinger View Post
Thanks parks for that explanation. It sounds like my "In a perfect world" scenerio really isnt possible. Dual boot is still the simplest most elegant solution.
Of course, in a virtual world, one only has to have a backup copy of their virtual hard drive file and they can have their machine functional again.

For example, if you buy a new computer, you simply copy the virtual hard drive file over, create a new VM, point to the existing file and you are right back in business.

Also, you can shut down your VM. Make a backup copy of the virtual hard drive file. Boot up the VM, load patches, software, make changes and do whatever you like. if something blows up, turn off the VM, copy the backup file back and you are right back in business just the way you were.

So, virtual environments certainly have massive advantages as well over dual boots. In your situation, they may not meet the immediate goal though and the other associated benefits I list may not be important to your situation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Dual booting is faster too. Virtual machines are a bit slower due to the software needed to run them.
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