I will soon have a dual booting development machine, with Windows on one HDD and Ubuntu on the other.

They will be configured such that when booted as Windows the IP address is and when booted as Ubuntu the address is

What I would like is:

a) When booted as Ubuntu, a virtual machine comes up using the Windows HDD as its store, on

b) When booted as Windows, a virtual machine comes up using the Ubuntu HDD as its store, on

It would therefore be symmetric - regardless of which main OS is booted, the rest of the network would always see both a Windows machine on and an Ubuntu machine on

Is this possible?

I can foresee problems with OSs not liking the hardware changing beneath them (from physical to virtual and v.v.) on reboot. Are there other issues I should look out for?

P.S. I've just seen Booting a native Windows install in Virtualbox: is it possible? which gives me some hope.

Edit: corrected server to development machine.


I would strongly recommend looking at doing something with VMWare or another hypervisor. Why would you be rebooting the machine and risking issues with hardware changes, compatibility, etc? Unless you have special needs with the server that they can't be virtualized, using a hypervisor would make running the OS's simultaneously far more reliable and less troublesome.

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    ...or more to the point, why are you rebooting a server to switch them back and forth anyway if you want both OS's running at the same time? – Bart Silverstrim May 16 '12 at 13:59
  • It's a dev machine, not a server. Sometimes you just want native performance. – fadedbee May 16 '12 at 14:04
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    The overhead of a bare metal hypervisor is not usually that great, especially if you're not overtaxing memory or storage subsystems. That said, another alternative is to get two cheap systems with a KVM switch to share the keyboard/display and run them both separately. I really think that approach will save you headaches with drivers. – Bart Silverstrim May 16 '12 at 14:36
  • Can you use the desktop of a virtual machine straight from a monitor attached to the host machine? And how well do those things play with videocards? Those two seemed to be the dealbreakers for me when I tried running a hypervisor for my workstationning needs. – Marten Veldthuis Jun 9 '12 at 19:14
  • A bare metal hypervisor doesn't show the OS at all. You connect with remote sessions. The console on the hypervisor typically shows the status of the VMware server itself, or the hypervisor status, since the OS has everything abstracted away from it hardware-wise. Exposing the video card for a dedicated display would negate that. – Bart Silverstrim Jun 10 '12 at 12:13

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