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I am running Ubuntu and installed a virtualized Windows XP using Oracle's VirtualBox. I have a good 64GB partition to store the VirtualBox's .vdi hard disk image files. But I would like to know what is faster - to format that partition as NTFS (Windows native) or Ext3 (Linux native).

The question is, does the virtualized Windows write directly to HD or the host does that for him? I suppose formatting it as Ext3 is faster if Linux does the writing.

Or perhaps a third option?

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Oh yeah, Oracle acquired Sun. Hope VB doesn't die from that deal, it's my favorite VM. – invert Jul 1 '10 at 14:00
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The host emulated the IDE/SATA driver, so the host does the writing to the file. You can setup a VM drive to access a partition directly, but that's for specialized cases.

Keep ext3 for your host, and then format the virtual drive as NTFS. You shouldn't have much performance problems. I run my VM drives off a second drive, separate from my Ubuntu OS files.

http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch05.html

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