Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My current development PC has it's original WinXP bootable hard drive installed as a D: drive. Rather than, powering down, swapping the jumpers and restarting, can I boot from that drive like a virtual machine?

share|improve this question
By D: drive I assume you mean secondary? I've had Windows installations referring to their own partition as being the D: or E: drive, even though the system hard disk was primary. In other words, a D: "drive" can also be a partition on the primary hard disk. – oKtosiTe Dec 13 '10 at 18:17
up vote 0 down vote accepted

You can use VMware vCenter Converter (free) to turn that disk/partition into a virtual machine that you could use with any VMware virtualisation hypervisor, including VMware Player (free).

share|improve this answer

The main problem I foresee is a lack of drivers. In some cases Windows will refuse to boot altogether.
Instead of just risking breaking your installation, I would recommend making a full backup (image) of the hard disk first.

share|improve this answer

Your problem is the master boot record on either drive doesn't know the OS on the other drive currently exists. So you've been master / slave swapping to change the boot order.

You could use a boot manager like ( to allow you to boot on different partitions on any disk.

You could also edit your boot.ini to reflect the OS on the second disk. (

share|improve this answer
How does that affect booting the second hard disk in a virtualization product? It would still see it as the primary disk, just like when the jumpers are switched. – oKtosiTe Dec 13 '10 at 20:16
Well when he said boot to it like a virtual machine I assumed he wanted to be able to boot to either machine. You are probably right in assuming he wants to do a p-to-v. – Chris Harrod Dec 13 '10 at 21:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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