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Theoretically possible to run two operating systems simultaneously?

Is it possible to run multiple operating systems at once, without using virtual machines like virtualbox, and without using dual boot? I want to be able to switch between linux and windows without having to reboot, and virtual machines don't use the system resources directly.

Also, I want this to run on a 64-bit machine.

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migrated from Jun 7 '11 at 19:37

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Mokubai, Daniel Beck, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, MDMarra, ChrisF Jun 7 '11 at 20:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Buy two computers. – Nick ODell Jun 7 '11 at 19:27
Try colinux. Then try the FAQ of this site. – cnicutar Jun 7 '11 at 19:29
@cnicutar I've found this before, and this is almost exactly what I want. It just has one problem: it's only 32-bit, and I want 64-bit. – Tiddo Jun 7 '11 at 19:48
Why are you trying to avoid using a virtual machine? – Anderson Green Aug 8 '12 at 18:39
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I know you are looking to avoid virtualization, so this is technically off-topic. It is the best solution I have found, however.

  1. Install favorite flavor of Linux on hardware
  2. Install favorite flavor of Windows in VirtualBox
  3. Install Guest Extensions in Windows
  4. Enable Seemless Mode

The result gives you two task bars (one for each operating system) and all windows appear with native decorations (i.e. blue title bars for XP). Screenshot and more information available here.

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I've used VirtualBox before and also VMWare Player, but these programs really limit's the use of your gpu for the guest os. – Tiddo Jun 7 '11 at 19:55

Given the description you've provided, without any indication of hardware, and if I could truly answer in the number of characters I wanted without StackOverflow stopping me:


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Use multiple computers, one for each operating system you need to run, and a KVM switch. Done

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We, at our firm, have a Remote Desktop Server, which users log into, and run batch jobs in. It gives you direct use of system resources with the possibility of switching between the two, instantaneously. Hope this helps.

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Not exactly what you're looking for probably, but I install cygwin and place its bin directory in the system path of my windows box. A lot of the linux commands work alongside with windows, but some need me to login to the bash shell (bash --login -i) from my windows prompt and then cd - to move to the previous directory

The command prompt here shell extension is also useful

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All you need is:

  1. One hard drive for each OS
  2. Connect them to the motherboard
  3. Use your computer's BIOS to select the drive to boot
    (e.g. A: drive for Windows and B: drive for Linux)
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The OP wants a solution that does not involve dual-booting. – Alex Hirzel Jun 7 '11 at 19:43

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