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I'm trying to determine if I have sufficient drive storage resources for Windows 7 to run in Virtualbox. I am running Ubuntu 18.04 in a 50GB ext4 partition on a 1GB Hard drive (Partition 5 below).

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Partition 1 is ntfs from ex-Windows 7. Since it is 75% full of needed data, resizing that partition is not possible.
There is also a 50GB Extended Partition. AFAIK it is unused.
The Ubuntu partition (Partition 5) has about 25GB free space. Is this enough disk space? And if not, is it possible for the virtual Windows 7 to run in another partition, or in part of another partition?

As a strictly side question, Ubuntu software has Virtualbox version 5.2.34, while the Virtualbox website has version 6.1.6. Which one would be safest/necessary for my purpose, and not having used this application before?

  • Partition 2 contains partition 5 which fills it so there is no spare space there. If you install W7 in a VM use a dynamically sized disk in setup. It will only use the space it needs, getting bigger as you add things. I’d guess it only needs up to 10 GB to install so is doable depending on what you go on to add. – PonJar May 1 at 8:31
  • @PonJar I see. So 10 GB total for Virtualbox + Windows 7 VM? And will Virtualbox warn you if there is insufficient disk space to install some VM? – user3169 May 1 at 23:10
  • I’m not aware of any warning that virtual box will give before you start. If you use a dynamic disk you can set the maximum size it will get to, I suggest 20GB. It will expand to the size needed as you add stuff but will probably stay below 10GB. I have an XP VM that has a 6GB dynamic disk but the file size on the host is about 3.5GB – PonJar May 2 at 7:39
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I thought I would try this out myself. When you setup the VM Virtualbox suggests 32GB for Windows 7 which I used for the dynamically allocated disk. Once installed The file containing the new install was just over 7.1 GB. It will obviously require more space as you add programs and data.

On reflection you probably can use your old Windows partition to hold the file containing the Windows 7 install. To do this you will need to mount the old Windows partition with read/write access and point the VM to a location on that partition. If you do it this way you might want to use a fixed size virtual disk for speed reasons. You could get a lot of fragmentation on NTFS using a dynamically allocated disk and if there is no working windows left on that disk it might be difficult to defragment.

Virtualbox 5.x will certainly run Windows 7 fine. You haven’t said what you plan to use this VM for so it’s hard to say if Virtualbox 6.x will be any better. If you upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 Virtualbox 6.1.6 is the version available in the software centre

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  • Thanks. I can already mount the other partition with R/W access, so I think your method will work ok. Any idea if Virtualbox 6.x will work on 18.04? Maybe it's not in the 18.04 Software Center because they just didn't validate it since 20.04 is out, rather than not being compatible somehow? – user3169 May 4 at 0:11
  • I would expect VB 6.x to be fine on Ubuntu 18.04. There is a download of VB 6.1.6 for Ubuntu 18.04 on the VB download page for Linux hosts. There’s nothing to loose by trying it. – PonJar May 4 at 7:38
  • If this answer helped you solve your issue please accept it so that others can find it more easily and benefit. – PonJar May 7 at 15:07
  • I'll try this next week. Looks good but let's see what happens. – user3169 May 8 at 4:58

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