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I'm still fairly new to Linux and I was wondering if the Ubuntu boot loader can be configured to boot natively to a virtual machine similar to Windows7/Server 2008 "vhd with native boot" feature?

I've tried running a virtual machine using virtualbox but it's very slow on my system. I've also tried using vmware play which is much faster, but still the response time isn't the greatest. Also, I'd rather leave a dual boot as a last resort.

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I cant answer you to the native virtual boot but you can install libvirt. Thats KVM with QEMU and works fine. Its widely used on ubuntu servers and on my computer it works fine. –  Michael Tanner Apr 23 '12 at 17:43

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It is not the bootloader to look for. We will of course need to load our Ubuntu OS before we can start and run any virtualization software.

We may probably define a custom session where we replace the desktop by a virtual machine. Just replace the commands that are responsible to run the desktop manager with commands to run your virtual machine after login. Don't forget to put logout at the end of your script.

Disclaimer: I haven't yet tested the procedures linked to above for light DM or a virtualization software but as we still use X-Server it should work. At least this will give you an idea where to start.

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Thanks for the feedback. This is probably above my current skillset with Ubuntu. Looks like I'll have to considier other options. –  user46686 Jul 20 '12 at 14:29

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