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Is it possible to switch into a Windows environment from Ubuntu without rebooting the computer?

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@dv3500ea Good edit. – Oli Sep 20 '10 at 15:57

Not as I think you mean. The only way to go from a proper "bare metal" install of Ubuntu to a "bare metal" install of Windows is through BIOS.

However, virtualisation might be an option (it is for me). I only have a few Windows applications that I occasionally need for work (Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks) that don't work acceptably with with Wine. I use VirtualBox to boot a "virtual" install of Windows. Note this requires quite a powerful machine with plenty of RAM to run really well.

Wine is another option. Wine allows you to run some Windows applications on Ubuntu but the coverage is a lot lower for most applications than a virtualised environment.

If you explain what you're trying to do in Windows, perhaps we can explain the best of those solutions.

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Virtualization can be a very useful tool, but unfortunately the only machine my family has that has the RAM to do it is my mom's laptop, which she is protective of. I wish my laptop could be expanded to more than a gigabyte. – dgw Dec 16 '10 at 23:37

Using a "Bare Metal" hypervisor for virtual machines (such as VMware) may allow you to do this. There is a cost in resources of course. This is not the sort of VM where one OS is the host and another a guest ... both are equal, and run under a thin low-level hypervisor.

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I had considered recommending this but I don't know how (or even if) they handle hardware like graphics cards or USB. AFAICS it's all very server-orientated. – Oli Sep 20 '10 at 22:12
I'm not sure either. I had a friend who was/is attempting it, and he hasn't gotten far. Linux host with Windows guest using VirtualBox is probably his best bet at this point. – Nerdfest Sep 20 '10 at 23:17

Run one operating system as a guest in a virtual machine, with the other system as a host. (You can also run both as guests inside a hypervisor.)

If you want good integration between Windows and Linux, and don't mind running Windows as the primary operating system, you can run coLinux, which is a virtualized Linux running on top of Windows. There is an Ubuntu-based distribution of coLinux: andLinux.

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Upvote for mentioning coLinux. But first paragraph needs much more explanation. – rjmunro Oct 11 '10 at 22:45

No, not with a dual boot setup. The only way to come close to this is to install Windows in a virtual machine using software such as Virtualbox. Virtualbox can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Centre (just search 'virtualbox').

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If you just need to run some windows applications, you might try using wine. Just do

sudo apt-get install wine

and when install is finished, you just download some program for windows and go to file properties -> Permissions -> mark Allow executing this file as program.

Then you just normally double click on that exe file. Many programs work pretty good with wine.

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You will need to go for the newest hybrid laptops.

....Lenovo's new dual CPU, dual-OS ThinkPad X1 Hybrid is perhaps the most fully realized attempt yet to give users Linux and Windows in a well-designed portable machine. Lenovo's laptop, which will be shown at the Consumer Electronic Show next week, can switch between Linux and Windows with one click, and runs Linux on a dual-core Qualcomm chip....

News source

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No, because each operating system is different. If you needed to install inside of a Virtual Machine and run an operating system inside another.

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