Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any virtual machine under Linux which can start Windows (XP) from real hard drive partition, not from emulation image?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

VMWare products can map physical disks to virtual disks, both on Linux and Windows:

Physical disk

— A hard disk in a virtual machine that is mapped to a physical disk drive or a partition of a drive on the host machine. A physical disk is also referred to as a raw disk. A virtual machine's disk can be stored as a file on the host file system (see Virtual disk) or on a local hard disk. When a virtual machine is configured to use a physical disk, VMware Workstation directly accesses the local disk or partition as a physical device (not as a file on a file system). It is possible to boot a previously installed operating system on an existing partition within a virtual machine environment. The only limitation is that the existing partition must reside on a local IDE or SCSI drive.

share|improve this answer

In xen you can use the device and give it directly to your guest. You can use lvm:

disk        = [

or directly a harddrve partition:

disk        = [

you also can give a complete Disk to a guest, and let them partiton it:

disk        = [
share|improve this answer
Thank you very much! – user20272 Oct 20 '09 at 14:25

Easier: sudo qemu /dev/sdX will launch a virtual machine from an actual disk ;) qemu is free software, usually present in your distro's repositories

share|improve this answer

KVM and Xen can both do it -- you just point the VM at the physical partition.

share|improve this answer
Xen is obsolete nowadays – kolypto Oct 20 '09 at 14:07
My, aren't we the king of unsubstantiated assertions... – womble Oct 21 '09 at 22:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.