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I'm not too familiar with VMs and the like so this may not even be possible.

Here is what I have:

  1. A real, full install of Windows 7 on hard drive A.
  2. A real, full install of Ubuntu 10.04 on hard drive B.
  3. Grub allowing me to select what I want to launch when I start up my computer.

It would be Amazing if I could do one of two things.

  • Within Windows 7, launch my real install of ubuntu as if it were a VM. That means I would get all the installed software, all of the files, and all of the settings.

  • Launch a VM copy of ubuntu 10.04 but some how make it use all of the installed software and settings from my real copy.

Thanks!

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

If I understand correctly, you want to run 2 fully installed OS's at the same time. AFAIK, you cannot run two OS's at once without virtualizing one of them.

So here is what I found on moving an OS from a hard drive to a virtual machine

Convert your Computer into a Virtual Machine

There's a new utility from Microsoft that makes it both simple and free to convert an existing installation of Windows into a virtual machine ready to run on any other computer.

Microsoft’s Sysinternals team has released a simple application called Disk2vhd, that lets you easily migrate an existing computer to a virtualized hard drive (VHD). It's a tiny utility doesn't even require instillation. Create Virtual Hard Disks with Disk2VHD

When you run Disk2vhd, it will immediately show you all the drives and partitions on your computer that it can migrate to a VHD. Simply select a drive that you wish to create a VHD file from and click “Create.” Disk2vhd will convert the hard drive into a VHD file even if the computer /drive is currently in use.

When the Virtual Machine VHD file is created, you can run it in any desktop virtualization program including the free Windows Virtual PC, Virtual Box, or VMware Player. You can also mount the virtual machine as a standard hard drive in Windows 7, and can even boot from it if your computer is running Windows 7 Ultimate.

You may use Disk2vhd to create virtual machines of your Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and higher machines, including x64 systems. Usage Scenario

Let's say you have a computer that is already running all the software programs you frequently use, but you now want to move to a new computer or upgrade your operating system. You can then consider creating a virtual machine of your old machine using the Microsoft utility and this will help you use all your favorite programs (with the same settings) on the new machine.

You can also use virtualization to create a ghost image of your hard drive in a single file and this will be handy in the event of a disk failure.

Disk2vhd is an useful tool that will make it much easier for you to enjoy the benefits of virtualization without being too technical.

From labnol.org

Hope this helps.

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+1 WOW... gotta try that. –  user8290 Feb 3 '11 at 23:45
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