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I'd like to install Fedora 15 to a disk image on a Windows 7 partition, then boot from that image using the Windows 7 native boot loader. The advantage of this would be to avoid resizing the NTFS partition and the (small, granted) risks that entails. It'd also just be a fun experiment.

My thinking is going as follows:

  1. Install Fedora to a VirtualBox image.
  2. Use VirtualBox's command-line tools to convert the .vdi to a raw image.
  3. Set up Windows' boot loader to boot from the raw image.

1 + 2 I can handle, it's 3 that I'm not clear on. I know it can be done, since Ubuntu's Wubi does it, but there doesn't seem to be anything comparable to Wubi for Fedora.

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So then I cite the Wubi FAQ:

Can I use Wubi for non-Ubuntu based distributions?

It should be fairly straightforward to modify the frontend (feel free to ask if you need any help), as shown above. Your Linux distribution must have a mechanism to do unattended installation using a preseed file. Wubi takes advantages of debian-installer/ubiquity presiding. If you use a different mechanism, you will have to modify src/wubi/installer_preseed.nsh. The make prerequisite scripts may need to be updated as well, since they are Debian specific.

Note that upstream files (Linux-side) need to be changed since normal distributions are generally not capable of targeting and booting (and rebooting) off of a loop device. This task was originally accomplished by the Lupin project, but since 7.10 a lot of functionality has been moved upstream. Hence you might want to have a look at: (...)

Means, no chance unless you want to invest an incredible amount of time. For what reason? You can even run Fedora within a Virtual Machine on you Windows. Doesn't change much. Resizing of NTFS partitions is easy nowadays, too.

Same goes for an external USB disk with installed Fedora. No problem. So there is really no need to run Linux from within an image of another file system.

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"Note that upstream files (Linux-side) need to be changed since normal distributions are generally not capable of targeting and booting (and rebooting) off of a loop device." That's odd, because I was booting Mandrake from a loop device ~10 years ago. Granted, I booted from a floppy first, which then booted the system. –  badocelot Aug 18 '11 at 17:44
    
So if you followed this Howto then you can still use this with some minor changes. The next step would be look for "How to boot Linux from within the Windows Boot Loader?" –  mailq Aug 18 '11 at 19:10

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