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So essentially I would like to be able to physically boot from either W7 or Linux on start-up, but I would rather remove the hassle of having to shut down everything I'm doing in Linux and wait for Windows to boot up in order to use Windows-only applications.

I googled the topic extensively (I think...) and couldn't really find an informative and knowledgeable answer... I would very much appreciate anyone's input on this.

Someone on a forum mentioned something about the registry and drivers having issues as the VM runs on abstracted hardware, but I'm not sure if there are ways to get around or patch that.

Before anyone asks, the reason I wish to do this is so that I could primarily use Linux and just run a Windows 7 VM seamlessly over it, but I also want to be able to boot directly into the Windows partition for more hardware-intensive applications like gaming and graphic design.

I really appreciate anyone's advice on the matter!

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Microsoft made this rather difficult with product activation. Change enough of the hardware, and you need to reactivate. –  Matthew Lundberg Jan 23 '13 at 2:52

2 Answers 2

You may want to possibly look into using VHD files. You theoretically should be able to boot to a virtual hard drive file from both a VM and a physical machine.

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Okay, as you and Keltari suggested, I have been looking into using bootable vhd files. However I have a few questions about doing this- Since my aim is to have my linux distro be the host of the W7 virtual machine, will there be complications involving differences in filesystems between the two OS's? Even if I can make the vhd have a separate filesystem, would changes in the file made when Windows is running natively on my system from the vhd possibly corrupt it when the linux filesystem tries to access it while running linux? Thank you for helping me trying to figure this darn thing out! –  kamekai Jan 23 '13 at 1:31

You can do this, however in reverse of what you want. Windows 7 and newer, support booting from VHDs. I haven never played with this feature, so I dont know how well it work with a Linux VHD. See this article, if you wish to pursue.

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