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I want to know if it is somehow possible to chroot into a Linux system from Windows, or, is there some technique or hack to achieve that?

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Using cygwin you can get a fairly good linux environment, and you don't even have to chroot. Is there something more you need out of it? – Kevin Nov 11 '11 at 16:58
What are you actually trying to achieve? chrooting makes no sense for operating systems that follow completely different paradigms and have not understanding of each other. You can SSH into a Linux box from Windows, but that is a completely different thing from chroot – Mokubai Nov 11 '11 at 17:42
Can't get internet in arch linux, need to install a few packages. Figured I could use Windows instead of a live cd. – nikhil Nov 11 '11 at 17:45
On a dual boot system you can download packages using Windows and save them in your Windows partition. After rebooting, your ArchLinux should be able to read the files from the Windows partition after you mount it. – RedGrittyBrick Nov 11 '11 at 21:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

chroot does not magically change the running kernel or start a new one. It only changes how much of the filesystem "chrooted" programs see, but they still run inside the same kernel. Since Linux ELF executables cannot be run on Windows directly, chroot will not work.

You can download your packages from to disk, then install them using pacman -U.

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Excellent answer, didn't know how chroot worked. Honestly it did seem quite magical to me. – nikhil Nov 12 '11 at 16:43
@nikhil: In even simpler terms, it just changes the meaning of "/" in file paths. If you chroot into "/mnt/otheros" and try to access "/usr/bin/pacman", it gets invisibly translated to "/mnt/otheros/usr/bin/pacman". That's all. – grawity Nov 12 '11 at 17:46

chroot works for Linux based systems; it has no relation with Windows, so it is not possible.
Even if by some means you could do it, it makes no sense to do such a thing, as linux has one root and windows has many partitions at root level; their filesystems don't match at all.

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Windows has chroot in its Services for Unix subsystem. Implementing it for multiple-root systems is possible as well; one could, for example, chroot into a directory containing separate directories for each virtual drive, or be limited to one virtual drive. (Also, "Unix based", not "Linux based.") – grawity Nov 11 '11 at 20:07

My guess is that chrooting from windows could be done, using virtualisation software like VirtualBox, with a linux distro installed in a virtual machine.

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This is confusing, how does one chroot from Windows? – Tom Wijsman Dec 5 '11 at 13:52
you mean i install a linux distro in a vm and use that to chroot into my real system. Could you give detailed instructions on doing this. – nikhil Dec 6 '11 at 12:38

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