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I currently Dual Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 13.04. I would like to be able to use Ubuntu as my only OS but unfortunately there are programs for my job that only play with Windows. I know that Virtual Box will allow me to run Ubuntu and have Windows opened in a window as vmware. Unfortunately, it looks like I would be installing Windows from scratch within the VM. Is there a way to access my current windows installation within the VM environment?

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I don't think that's possible - although it's a wonderful idea. The closest thing I can think of is p2v (physical to virtual) your existing windows install and run it as a traditional vm inside your ubuntu host. –  FreudianSlip Aug 19 '13 at 17:47
    
@FreudianSlip It's possible. –  Colyn1337 Aug 19 '13 at 17:50
    
It is possible with VirtualBox to attach your physical hard drive to a VM and boot an operating system from it. –  LiquidPL Aug 19 '13 at 18:13
    
Really? I'll go and play with that - if its correct I'm going to be a happy techie :) –  FreudianSlip Aug 19 '13 at 18:57
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3 Answers

Yes. You need to use the microsoft disk2vhd program to create a VHD copy of your hard drive. You'll likely need a backup drive to put the exported copy on. Before you copy your harddrive, delete all unecessary programs and files. Empty your recycle bin and temporary internet files as well as defrag the harddrive. If the computer is attached to a domain (even if it's a .local) disjoin it from the domain before capturing a copy.

Get disk2vhd here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx

Once you have an image of the HDD, you can create a VM with that drive as the "existing hard drive". I once created a knowledge document on how to p2v a workstation, here's its text...

Before beginning the P2V process you should:

  1. Defragment the Host to be virtualized.
  2. Remove any unnecessary programs.
  3. Delete temp files and anything else that isn't necessary.
  4. Unjoin the workstation from the Domain.

When ready to initiate the P2V process, create the VHD copy of the harddrive:

  1. Determine where the VHD copy will be stored. If you're exporting to the Hard Drive being copied, ensure the Drive has at least twice it's used space available as free space.
  2. Download the Disk2VHD application onto the workstation which will be virtualized. You can find that executable attached to this KB in the attachments section as well as the Disk2VHD help file.
  3. Launch the Disk2VHD.exe file and agree to the TOS.
  4. Determine where the .vhd file will be saved to, and deselect any unnecessary drives. By default, the tool will want to export all attached hard drives, inluding the external drive you're trying to export to (if present).
  5. Select the "create" button and allow the process to finish. The time to completion depends on the size of the VHD file.
  6. If necessary, move the finished VHD file to it's final storage place. The file is now ready to be used with VirtualBox.

Using the VHD with VirtualBox:

  1. If you're creating a new VM then select "New" from the menu bar and follow the prompts until you reach the Virtual Hard Disk page.
  2. Change the radio button on the Virtual Hard Disk page to "Use existing hard disk" and select the folder icon which will let you navigate to where the VHD file is stored. Select it, and click next.
  3. Continue with the prompts until the new VM is created.
  4. Depending on the system, special settings may be required in order to get the VM to boot. For most XP VM's, "Enable IO APIC" must be checked for the VM to run.
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I should probably add that p2v is geek shorthand for "physical to virtual". –  Colyn1337 Aug 19 '13 at 17:52
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VMware offers a convert program which runs on a running Windows system and writes out a virtual machine file, usable with VMplayer.

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I am using VM. And VM offers something that is called Shared Folders. You can add folders and access them in VM. More information at: https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=15868.

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Whilst your post answers the question, it would also be preferable to include the essential parts of the link here, and provide the link for reference. –  Alaa Aug 19 '13 at 19:35
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