I plan to set up a virtualized test- and demo environment to show our clients how wonderful some applications can be deployed as containers. To be mobile I plan to use my laptop as the hardware platform. So far, simple. Now, as I prefer to work with linux, I was thinking about installing linux directly onto the machine and use KVM to host all the VMs I need for my environment. However, in our company there is a policy to use windows on company hardware. So, for compliance reasons I am not allowed to run linux directly on the machine, or at least I need to have a Win10 installation to boot from at work to show I am obedient and so on.

Now my question: Can I boot Win10 when I am at work and use VMware Workstation to start up all my (Linux) VMs and show off my demo environment at work and then after hours go home, boot my laptop into linux and use KVM and the same VM images to start up my whole virtual environment again? Will that just work or would I have to use some conversion tools etc. onto my VM images? Mind: I do know VMware uses .vmdk and KVM uses .qemu, but I´d love if any of the two hypervisor solutions could just work with the other one´s format.

If you know a way how I could pull this off I´d appreciate a reply.

Thanks a lot!


  • 1
    Windows 10 might have Hyper-V built in, so you don't even need anything else, docs.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/hyper-v-on-windows/… It's more like a SuperUser question. Different solutions might be able to consume disk files from another, but you really should assume that they never want to make the experience good enough, so you should stick to a single solution wherever you go. – Lex Li Nov 13 '19 at 23:47

If the VMs are Linux, yes, you definitely can... (from a technology standpoint), as long as you fully shutdown the VMs, and start them back up in the other hypervisor. Suspend/Resume will definitely NOT work.

If the VMs are Windows, you're probably going to have a hard time. Windows likes to build a "HAL" while running on hardware, and will have to completely rebuild the HAL every time you switch hypervisors. Older versions of Windows cannot rebuild the HAL without a reinstall. I believe newer versions of Windows are more forgiving. (I haven't tested recently) Linux, however, is fine with whatever (virtual) hardware you throw at it... as long as you don't change architectures (32-bit/64-bit/ARM/x86 etc...)

Suspend/Resume won't work simply because if you suspend a running machine, then change every piece of hardware, then resume it... bad things happen.

From a corporate standpoint, there's no telling what they'll have to say on the subject. I would be sure to get approval/exemptions from IT/Boss in writing (email?) before trying to do such. I've seen corporate cases where employee gets screwed for doing exactly what you describe. Also, sometimes Corporate pushed GPOs can enable "bitlocker" which can completely screw any hope of doing a linux-install on the laptop. (which can also screw over already-installed Linux on a separate partition. Guess how I know?) Of course, this also does not address questions of security fully... since you are technically taking corporate property (IP) home, and running it in unsecured environments. This would make you just as liable as dummies who take home secure customer data on their laptop, and then leave it on a bus. (HIPAA violations anyone?)


Certainly not the answer you expect, but if you are working on customer demo VM, it would be safer to stay on something stable in your context (due to corp constraint => win os + vmware vms only).

The linux+kvm is also stable, but mixing both is exposing yourself to issues while you're facing the customer, which is not a good message when you want to demonstrate that you are a reference in VM/Containers.

I think that the best option would be to develop your demo virtual datacenter in a small box (like https://www.gigabyte.com/Mini-PcBarebone) running linux+kvm or linux+virtualbox. Connected to a small wifi access point, it is a very portable solution that you can boot when you are with a customer, just join the wifi, and you are ready to deliver the demo.

And when you are out of office, your coworkers can also borrow your demo box.


This work machine is a managed Windows box. Leave it as Windows and deploy containers on Windows. Or run VM guests with Hyper-V or maybe VMware Workstation. Or have a backup deployment in the cloud. Do home stuff on your own hardware.

If you have a technical reason for Linux, have the policy exception documented with whomever manages this desktop.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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