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I've a drive with Fedora and Windows 7 on different partitions with dual boot.

Now, while running Fedora, I'd like to suck up the Windows partition and create an image I can run in VirtualBox - how can I do this ?

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With some tricks, you can boot the partition directly. – shellholic Feb 26 '11 at 18:09
@shellholic: How is that done? can you answer it here: – Tamer Shlash Aug 19 '12 at 14:23

There's a documented "internal" function that you might be interested in. You can create a "raw disk" image which basically passes all commands to the partition on your hard drive. That way, you can keep your Windows partition and attempt to boot it from VirtualBox as well.

You can create a raw image as follows:

VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename /path/to/file.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda -partitions 1,5

where 1,5 means partitions 1 and 5 on /dev/sda

Mind you, the chances of this working flawlessly are pretty slim. Windows is not exactly known for being adaptive to extreme changes in hardware.

You can read more about raw disks here: Chapter 9. Advanced storage configuration

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Ive done this before, but the other way around. Using a mint raw disk for a VM in windows. It worked perfectly, except a minor issue with video. – Keltari Feb 14 at 20:26

As Matt said, you use the VBoxManage command, and that Windows might not like it. However, there's a faster way that doesn't use up as much disk space. You can use stdin as the input for the convertraw command (which, if you read Matt's answer, is the same as the convertdd command:

# dd if=$WinDevice | VBoxManage convertfromraw stdin windows.vdi $Bytes

Where $WinDevice is the device of the windows partition (such as /dev/sda2), and $Bytes is the exact number of bytes (for example, 1488581554176; you can determine this from within Windows by right-clicking on the C: drive in My Computer and hitting "Properties", it's the Capacity: line underneath the Used and Free space lines and above the pie chart).

Note that I have not tried this myself, and that I believe you might need to use /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda2, assuming you won't be writing to the drive that Windows is on. That way, you capture the partition table and bootloader.

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As of now (currently Feb. 22, 2014), the number of bytes goes after the output filename. – echristopherson Feb 22 '14 at 21:05
Huh, you're right. Fixed. Do you know if that's always been the case and nobody's noticed until now, or if they changed the order some time within the last three years? I'd guess they wouldn't change the order, but I'd have also have expected somebody to notice by now. – Daniel H Feb 22 '14 at 22:34
I'm not sure if it was ever different... That's part of why I didn't just edit the answer. – echristopherson Feb 23 '14 at 4:06

I was just trying to do nearly the exact same thing, albeit from Ubuntu. I didn't want to create an image of the entire hard drive, and it didn't seem like a good idea to me to use the physical disk with the VM. I finally found the solution:

  1. (Recommended) If you don't have a Windows disc or ISO, download an ISO. I used X17-59465.iso

  2. If desired, shrink the windows partition so the image size will be smaller. I prefer to do this from Linux using GParted (to avoid "umovable" files that are in use), then reboot to Windows, let it do a chkdsk, and reboot back into Linux.

  3. If mounted, unmount the windows partition just to make sure it doesn't change while imaging it

    sudo umount /windows
  4. Install the MBR package. On Ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get -y install mbr 
  5. Create an image of the MBR (change the device as necessary)

    sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.img bs=512 count=1
  6. Install a fresh MBR on the image, to get rid of GRUB

    sudo install-mbr mbr.img
  7. Create a raw VMDK image that will mirror the existing partition layout (change the device and partition as necessary)

    sudo vboxmanage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename windows.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda -partitions 2 -mbr mbr.img
  8. Create a VDI image that will copy the data from the partitions selected in the previous step

    sudo vboxmanage clonehd windows.vmdk windows.vdi --format VDI
  9. Change the ownership of the new image file

    sudo chown $USER. windows.vdi
  10. Cleanup

    sudo rm mbr.img windows.vmdk windows-pt.vmdk
  11. (Optional) Compact the new disk image

    vboxmanage modifyhd windows.vdi --compact
  12. Create a new Windows 7 VM, using the image you just created for the hard drive

  13. You can try to boot the VM, but it might fail. If it does, boot the VM to the Windows disc/ISO → Repair your computer, and if given the option click Repair and restart


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I'm afraid 8. won't do what you expect it to do. clonehd will create vdi that points to raw disk. That is it clones the "pointer" not actual data. It looks like dd is a must for partition. – mlt Feb 4 '15 at 11:01
One might think that, but it made a clone of the actual data. Step 7 created a ~1 KB image (that merely pointed to the raw disk), but the size of the image created in Step 8 was the size of all of the included partitions, in this case 40 GB. I also know it was a copy because when I boot to my Windows partition, it's different from the VM I created based on it, which I've made changes to. -rw------- 1 root root 40G Feb 4 09:28 windows.vdi -rw------- 1 root root 722 Feb 4 09:11 windows.vmdk – bmaupin Feb 4 '15 at 14:42

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