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Vm 'bootcamp'


ADDandy
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Hey everyone,

Im currently planning a new gaming/Development system. and i want to dual boot it. i need windows 7 for gaming, but i like to use ubuntu as my development platform for random projects. (i need a command line to code). i was wondering if there was a way to use VMware or Virtualbox (or any other vm) that will allow me to mount my non-active OS as a virtual machine (Similar to OSX Bootcamp, where you have a windows partition, but vmware can mount it as a virtual machine)

i would like to do this because when im in each os, i can keep the other os up to date. currently im dual booting which is annoying because when i have to move to my ubuntu partition it takes a good 20 min to update before i can really do anything. and if im working on a project and have to go back to W7, it takes a solid amount of time to get steam back up to date.

Cheers!

-A

---

Lets go ride bikes!

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Just install windows as your main OS, then install Vmware and lastly Ubuntu as a VM. Its a lot quicker and easier that way. You can always switch between the OSes without much trouble. That's what I do when I am working on my computer.

And if you have dual screen set up, you can have Windows running on the first screen and Ubuntu running on the second screen.

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This depends on your machines hardware and what it can handle. Is it capable of virtualization? Might be capable in the CPU, but depending on the OEM (unless you built it yourself with the required specs) the bios might need settings enabled or an update sometimes to enable virtualization. Also, if you want to run 7 and ubuntu at the same time and still play games, minimum 4GB of ram, preferably 6 or more, and a 64-bit version of the host OS.

I would say use windows 7 as a host and uBuntu in a VM for the best setup. You can convert your existing uBuntu installation to a VM if you have enough HDD space. I've had several VMs open at the same time, while playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 at the same time, and everything was stable with all that going on, so if you want to keep uBuntu running all the time to stay updated, as long as your machine is beefy, you can leave the VM up 24/7 while still gaming or whatever else you want to do normally. Just put the VM on a separate HDD than the Host OS, helps with performance and paging.

I wouldn't go the other route and virtualize Windows 7 if expecting to use it for gaming. While I have done it just for testing, its not nearly as effective as running the games natively, and high end stuff just won't have the frame rates you need, even with the latest VMware and VMtools, steam in a VM and things like Counter Strike would crush it. I've run Warsow, Doom, Quake, Unreal and Duke Nukem all from within a VM and nearly all of them were fine with minor issues on Quake and Duke Nukem. Warsow was a tad slow, but still playable, its just not as proper as a native install. As for uBuntu in a VM, you should barely even notice a difference. I can watch videos through my linux VMs and listen to music just fine with no problems.

Edited by digip
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Thanks for the input so far! i think running windows 7, with ubuntu running in it will be fine for most things. what im hoping to accomplish here is to have both OS's as bootable, but be able to access each other as a VM as well ( similar to OSX bootcamp + VMware). The reason is kinda strange, but on my mac, i like being able to use my windows VM to keep my steam updated, (fire on the vm, let steam run) in the background while im working on other things. but when it comes time to actually plan games (on my laptop) i boot into the windows partition.

i guess what i want to be able to do is use a bootable OS partition for a VM, but still have it be bootable.

Cheers

-Andy

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Thanks for the input so far! i think running windows 7, with ubuntu running in it will be fine for most things. what im hoping to accomplish here is to have both OS's as bootable, but be able to access each other as a VM as well ( similar to OSX bootcamp + VMware). The reason is kinda strange, but on my mac, i like being able to use my windows VM to keep my steam updated, (fire on the vm, let steam run) in the background while im working on other things. but when it comes time to actually plan games (on my laptop) i boot into the windows partition.

i guess what i want to be able to do is use a bootable OS partition for a VM, but still have it be bootable.

Cheers

-Andy

As far as I know, Windows 7 Professional and up allows you to boot VHDs natively. I think VMware can also mount virtual disk images of other types as well, but not 100% sure on how that works from the MAC side. You can't however run two VHD OSs at the same time, so you would still need a hyper visor like VMware, Virtual Box, Virtual PC, etc, to run both at the same time, if you needed your MAC as the HOST OS. Otherwise, you are merely mounting the VHD to access files on it.

http://thelazyadmin.com/blogs/thelazyadmin/archive/2009/01/15/mount-a-vhd-within-windows-7-server-2008-r2.aspx

If you need the MAC all the time and want OSX, windows 7 and uBuntu simultaneously, best bet is just convert the existing Windows 7 and uBuntu to VMs. You can point VMware to the other partitions and it will create a VM from them for you, just have to mount them under OSX so it can see them.

If all of this is on a single laptop, well, you will surely take a performance hit. I would think with a single internal HDD and both VMs running at the same time will be a bit sluggish. If your machine has over 4GB of ram and a speedy HDD, with a decent processor, then you should be ok though. Whatever you do, backup your stuff before doing anything.

Edited by digip
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As far as I know, Windows 7 Professional and up allows you to boot VHDs natively. I think VMware can also mount virtual disk images of other types as well, but not 100% sure on how that works from the MAC side. You can't however run two VHD OSs at the same time, so you would still need a hyper visor like VMware, Virtual Box, Virtual PC, etc, to run both at the same time, if you needed your MAC as the HOST OS. Otherwise, you are merely mounting the VHD to access files on it.

http://thelazyadmin.com/blogs/thelazyadmin/archive/2009/01/15/mount-a-vhd-within-windows-7-server-2008-r2.aspx

If you need the MAC all the time and want OSX, windows 7 and uBuntu simultaneously, best bet is just convert the existing Windows 7 and uBuntu to VMs. You can point VMware to the other partitions and it will create a VM from them for you, just have to mount them under OSX so it can see them.

If all of this is on a single laptop, well, you will surely take a performance hit. I would think with a single internal HDD and both VMs running at the same time will be a bit sluggish. If your machine has over 4GB of ram and a speedy HDD, with a decent processor, then you should be ok though. Whatever you do, backup your stuff before doing anything.

haha thanks, i was actually talking about osx as an example.

Currently i have a mbp (running osx & windows 7 bootcamp), i have a gaming machine (running windows 7) and a server (running ubuntu 10.04lts).

i found this question on stackexchange that is trying to do what i am:

http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/2590/windows-7-dual-boot-virtualization-under-ubuntu-10-04

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I am only speculating, but I wonder if you created multiple hardware profiles for your win 7 instance and assign the physical disk to the VM for booting within ubuntu but also be able to use win7 natively at boot by selecting a different hardware profile. I have never tried this and have never looked at using a physical disk instead of a vmdk of sorts. Anyone have any experience in this?

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