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I want to do two things:

  1. Set up a virtual machine on Windows 7 to run Ubuntu
  2. Set up a way for the virtual machine to read the windows disk or windows to have read/write access to the virtual machine's disk. My goal is to have a place where both Ubuntu and Windows can read and write.

What software is good for this task? Are their free programs that can run virtual machines?

Also if my machine is running Windows 7 64-bit, can I install Ubuntu 32-bit? Or am I forced to use Ubuntu 64-bit? Or does it not matter?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is a variety of virtualization software out there, but you may want to try VirtualBox.

When you create your virtual machine, you can specify the type of processor you have. Thus, you can select whether your virtual machine will have a 32-bit processor or a 64-bit processor. In other words, you can freely install Ubuntu 32-bit on your virtual machine, even though the host OS (Windows 7) is 64-bit.

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Does VirtualBox allow sharing folders between the host and guest operating systems? – hekevintran Jun 5 '10 at 9:24
Yes, VirtualBox has support for shared folders, but I have not used it on Windows. Download it and give it a try. – Genba Jun 5 '10 at 10:02
I can confirm you can use shared folders with 7 host/ubuntu guest. All the info you need for mapping the share is in the manaul – tombull89 Jun 5 '10 at 11:58
Thanks, worked out great. – hekevintran Jun 5 '10 at 23:44
Don't forget to check if your CPU have virtualization instructions, which are mandatory to run hardware virtualization for guest OS architecture that differs from host. And enable them in your BIOS config. – mallok Aug 12 '15 at 12:57

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