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Hi, I am trying to have Windows 8 and Fedora 17 in a dual boot setup on my laptop.

At first I installed Windows 8, gave it first 40GBs of the drive to play with ( windows installer cut off first 350MB as partition 0 for some magical things and installed W8 in the rest of 40GB I gave it in partition 1), then I installed Debian 6, giving it the next 8G for SWAP and dthen 40GB for "/" and leaving the last ~70GB of disk ( 160GB disk) raw.

Everything worked fine, then I went to W8 and realized I forgot to format the last part of the drive to NTFS in Debian (for shared data between win and linux). Disk manager, selected last part, format, NTFS...Do you want to something something SIMPLE something...YES, YES, NEXT NEXT, Done. And then I realized I messed up, because my linux partitions popped up in My Computer with letters.

After the reboot nothing would boot, then I managed to fix MBR from W8 install disc by opening console (Shift + F10) and running "BootRec.exe /fixmbr" now I can boot to W8.

Then tried to fix grub from Debian installation, and every time I tried (in the end on almost all partitions) it failed.

I gave up and decided to give Fedora a try, since I was using debian based distro before and want a bigger switch anyways, installed Fedora 17 beta (out in a month not many bugs left), deleted all linux partitions, created new linux partitions, and at the end of Install procedure it failed to install Grub again!

The main question is:
Is there a way to create two partitions on one drive that would behave as if they were really different drives?
Can I create another tiny partition somewhere with just Grub (say at the end of disk so win won't touch it) and have the PC always boot from that partition (I can't afford to loose access to linux suddenly without a way to fix it there nd then)?

What I am really looking for would be some sort of virtualization method with extremely thin host and full support for all hw. (I Used to use VirtualBox in Ubuntu but had problem with using USB devices [wacom, 3D mouse ...] and memory).
Seriously, if there was a way to set it up that I could cut off last 1GB or so and install the host software there, then just divide the rest of the drive in two, leave on each half 4GB of space for RAM dump and then have the host listen to keyboard and anytime I would type Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Meta-T it would stop the OS, dump the memory to prepared spot for that OS and load the memory from the other half to RAM and let me use the other OS I would extremely EXTREMELY happy.

So there you have it :( If you have any suggestions please suggest.

share|improve this question
Would one of the windows server editions with a Hypervisior make sense for your usage? I havent personally tried any of them, but I believe the performance impact is minimal – Akash Apr 25 '12 at 17:29
Xen might be the answer here, but like VMWare's ESXi, it may have certain hardware requirements. Definitely worth a look, though. – user3463 Apr 25 '12 at 17:33
@Akash I am really cheap/poor. But you got me thinking about the hypervisors. – nana Apr 25 '12 at 17:53
@RandolphWest but doesn't Xen use shared kernel, therefore taking Win out of the equation? – nana Apr 25 '12 at 17:53
You're probably right, so then ESXi is more of a solution, depending on the hardware requirements. – user3463 Apr 25 '12 at 18:09

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