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My notebook installed Windows XP and Ubuntu. Every time to toggle, I need to hibernate one OS (to keep current working things) and restart to the other.

Is it possible to keep both OS "live" and toggle between them?

yeah I suppose Virtual Machine is a solution, hosting Windows XP and Ubuntu and run both as virtual machines. However that costs performance.

Is it possible to run both OS as "real machine" instead of "virtual machine", share the same PC, and toggle by automatically "hibernate and wake up"?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If that were possible, that would be awesome. However I can't think of any. I remember back in the 90s IBM had a computer that could do this, but it had two motherboards. Basically two computers built into one case. As you mentioned, Virtual Machines are your way to go. I would suggest to make your host the one that you will need most processing power. Make the second one the OS that will need less requirements.

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Note that hypervisors are used all the time on "big iron" boxes. A single box may be running 5-6 different environments -- different OSes, different versions of a single OS, or simply different "partitions" so that isolation can be maintained between them. Among other things, this makes it possible for the IT department to run a test system without having to actually purchase another hardware box. And these systems run quite efficiently -- overhead is probably in the 1% range. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 18 '11 at 3:33
I know, but they are referring to having a production workstation to have multiple operating systems with full hardware support. They are looking for a solution that avoided virtualization. – kobaltz Dec 18 '11 at 5:02
I'm just saying that it is possible. There's simply a lack of in$entive to produce a really good hypervisor for desktop. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 18 '11 at 15:25
Install a base OS like Ubuntu or Windows Home Server. Use Virtual PC to install as many OS's as you like. You can then switch between OS's using the native OS, start others, create new ones, revert, etc. – ppumkin Mar 21 '14 at 20:26

Unfortunately, it is currently not possible (at least to best of my understanding). When your computer starts, it runs your boot loader. There are many boot loaders that support loading multiple operating systems, but unfortunately none of them can load more than one a time. I don't even think it would be possible for the boot loader to load more than one at a time. How would they manage resources (RAM, Display, Hard Drives, etc.)?

However, I do have an idea for how your question could be achieved. Who knows, maybe I'm just not aware that someone has done this yet? But any ways... What could be done is a to develop a single lightweight operating system that is nothing more than a virtual machine manager. Then you could install your different OSes, and switch between them rapidly.

A quick and dirty solution to this might be to install a very slim Linux distro (Gentoo for example) and install Virtual Box, create some virtual machines and install your OSes, and have the Linux distro load the virtual machines in full screen mode at boot. Just keep in mind that 3D support for Windows in the virtual machine will be extremely difficult to achieve.

Another option might be two PCs with a KVM switch?

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I could be wrong here... and it's gunna be real interesting to see if someone smarter pops in and corrects me but... I don't think you can do this. Not that way. I see you already noted the VM concept and I really think that would be the only way to achieve anything close to what you want.

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You can use a "hypervisor", which is a sort of Virtual Machine setup. There are several available, which (last I knew, several years ago) work with varying degrees of reliability and efficiency, with significant dependency on the specific hardware processor model and other hardware attributes.

Some hypervisors are "hosted" on an OS (such as Linux), while others run "under" all the OSes in the box.

Otherwise, some sort of hibernate strategy is probably the best option.

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