While we were discussing virtualization in Bahrain LUG's meeting a couple of days ago, I promised the attendees to show them how I relieved myself from the hassles of dual booting into Windows XP and Linux by using the free vmware server on Linux to boot virtually into my physical Windows XP partition. I encourage you to make proper backups of both systems before you embark into the following procedure just to be on the safe side.
- Dual boot system with Windows XP and Linux
- vmware server 1.0.6 or above on Linux. Here is how to install it on Ubuntu Hardy
- Unmount the Windows XP partition under Linux if it is mounted
- Boot normally into the Windows XP partition and create a new hardware profile by going to Control Panel-->System-->Hardware-->Hardware Profiles, and clicking on Copy to copy the current profile. Name the new profile "vmware"
- Log out of windowx XP and boot into Linux.
Vmware on Linux
- Run vmware server's wizard for a new virtual machine
- Choose Windows XP and follow the steps in the wizard until you reach the hard disk allocation step then un-check the options of allocating space and splitting and finish the wizard
- Go to the Edit Settings screen of the new virtual machine and delete the current virtual hard disk
- Press Add to add a new hard disk and choose "use a physical disk" and choose "use entire disk"
- power up the virtual machine and boot into windows XP in Grub, then choose the "vmware" hardware profile
- Cancel the new hardware detection pop-ups then install vmware tools then restart the virtual machine.
- The virtual machine will boot into GRUB, so make sure you don't start your Linux partition into the virtual machine. Doing so will FUBAR your Linux partition.
- I've done this sometime back and there might be some little tweaks that I can't recall right now so give it a try and update me.
- SCSI drives may not be supported. I've done this with IDE
- DirectX is not an option in the virtual Windows XP so forget about playing games in the virtual machine
- The overall performance is slower compared to a physical partition boot, but with enough RAM, you won't feel handicapped.