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I have two OS's installed on different drives in my PC. One linux (Centos 5.4) and one windows 7. Its getting tiresome to constantly have to stop and restart the PC when I want to use either OS.

I would very much like to use Windows 7 as my host OS and access my linux OS from within Windows. However, im having trouble deciphering exactly how to do this (many of the articles seem confusing and a bit overkill)

From what i have seen its possible to use VMWare converter to convert the physical linux image to a virtual image so that I can use it in windows.

As im having problems understanding how this is done, I would really appreciate a step by step guide (for a newbie), or any simple tutorials that you can point me at.

Some questions beforehand:

1) My linux image is around 80gb, do i need to take this into consideration? The linux drive is around 180gb in total. All my other drives are NTFS non writeable in linux (as I use them in windows and ntfs is dodgy in linux), so probably not possible to move the image over to my ntfs drives

2) Can I just zip the linux files up somehow and transfer it to windows to create the p2v?

3) Is it possible to do the P2V conversion while I am logged into windows. I can see the actual linux drive loaded in disk manager, but windows doesnt read linux file systems so im confused as to how to access the linux drive if this is possible.

4) Or will i need to do the whole p2v conversion inside linux?

Cheers, any help is much appreciated

Ke (a confused p2v newbie)

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How much drive space is available on your Windows drive? –  andyhky May 25 '10 at 15:06
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4 Answers

I would recommend Sun Virtualbox to run your VM's.

I have great experience running it as a desktop VMM for both Ubuntu and Windows (Vista and 7).

A nice feature in Virtualbox is the shared folders, which lets you keep the datafiles on the host FS, reducing the VM filesize and simplifying the entire experience.

As for converting, I would probably just recreate the environment, and copy the files.

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so does this mean i can just boot into my windows installation, and then set virtualbox to run of the drive with the LVM on it, thereby negating the need to copy or convert files over? –  Ke. Mar 9 '10 at 16:00
    
No, (un)fortunately. The FS of the VM lives in one big file on the host FS, which is very convenient, but its no quick fix for you. What I am suggesting is for you to move whatever files you want to an accessible medium (the NTFS volume or an external drive). Then reinstall and rebuild your linux as a VM. I guess there are ways to transfer most of the settings. Then copy over your data. If you want to share it with your Windows host OS, make it live on the NTFS partition and mount it in linux like this: forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?t=3201 (most of virtualbox.org down as of now) –  Gomibushi Mar 9 '10 at 17:16
    
even if you use virtualbox you could use vmware vconverter to do the p2v conversion and then start the vmdk you get inside virtualbox –  Jure1873 Oct 17 '11 at 15:57
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If you want to stick with windows virtualisation technology then I recommend the following guide to convert your existing disk into a VHD file: http://blogs.technet.com/b/enterprise_admin/archive/2010/05/13/linux-p2v-with-dd-and-vhdtool-easy-and-cheap.aspx

I have used this method several times and it is fairly painless. Once your done simply create a new VM and attach the VHD.

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Linux P2V you can use http://www.madness.at/blog/2008/10/p2v-with-mondo-rescue.html and for Win you can use symantec backup tool which 30 days trail both tools are very easy to use any one can

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VirtualBox would be good in the special case you have, where linux is on its own disk. You can create a vmdk image that uses what they call "raw hard disk access."

says so here....

http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#rawdisk

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-dual-boot-and-virtualize-the-same-partition-on-y-493223329

It's much more risky when the Lx partition is on the same disk with Windows. But your case is perfect.

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