I dont know if this is a dumb question, I'm new to virtualization and a little overwhelmed by all the software and techniques out there.

In a nutshell I want to set up virtualization in my computer in a win7 host and be able to install any operating system BUT with access to my REAL hardware, not some kind of emulated PIIX3 or ICH9 chipset.

Is there any way to achieve that or am I entering into science fiction concepts? If there is, how good is the performance?


You can't allow full access to hardware without risking contention issues. Some virtualizers will allow limited access to your hardware (such as USB devices) but even then, once something uses them, they tend to hold on to the resource (much like when an application is using your webcam, other programs can't use the webcam until the first program releases it.)

Virtualization will also always introduce some overhead.

If you want full access to the hardware, you'll need to set up multiple OS's with a boot manager. Alternatively, you can get inexpensive PC's to run multiple OS's at once on them. Otherwise you'll have to live with having virtualized hardware on the system.


You can go closer to that with an Hypervisor, the Microsoft Hypervisor is Hyper-V but can be only installed in some versions of Windows Server 2008, not in Windows 7 .

  • Hypervisors still abstract the hardware away from the guest OS's. – Bart Silverstrim Nov 27 '11 at 12:31
  • No you can't. Virtual guests can't have unrestricted direct access or control of the host hardware because one of the major points of virtualisation is that guests shouldn't interfere with each other or the stability of the platform. – Rob Moir Nov 27 '11 at 12:35
  • Yes, you're both right and i know but the hypervisor remain the closer Virtualization implementation to the direct hardware ... – aleroot Nov 27 '11 at 12:38
  • Yes but you claimed the OP could achieve what they wanted and they can't. That's fairly fundamental. My ford focus might be able to go faster than a 18 wheeler truck, so you could argue that its "closer" to being a racing car, but I'm not going to win a professional race in it any time soon, am I? – Rob Moir Nov 27 '11 at 12:42
  • you're right, i've just corrected the answer. Thanks. – aleroot Nov 27 '11 at 12:49

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