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I have a dual boot workstation where I mainly use my favorite flavor of Linux, but occasionally I need to log into its Windows XP installation. Is there any way to use this Windows partition virtualized into the linux host?

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Yes, it is possible. Although it may have some caveats. You don't mention the virtualization software you are using, but for virtual box i found a short tutorial and a bit longer one here.

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So far as I can tell, that is a one-off P2V conversion that creates a vmdk image separate from the installed Windows partition. Unless you have a separate partition for application data, running apps in the VM would not update data accessible by cold-booting Windows - would it? –  RedGrittyBrick Sep 22 '11 at 9:26
    
@Ahe, regarding the virtualization software I still open to what will be better and/or easier. I know, for instance, VMware workstation is a more mature product, but VirtualBox is also not that far behind. I also thought of Xen, but I never used it. –  gtludwig Sep 22 '11 at 13:44
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