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Similar to this question, I have a dilemma. I own a computer with Windows 8 on it, and that is not very convenient, because some games that I want to run crash on Windows 8. Therefore, I would like to install an older version of Windows (possibly Windows 7), but am unsure how I should approach the problem. If I use a Virtual Machine, it has its own space, and has no access to my games directory (E:). If I install Windows 7 on a different partition, that might just do it, except it is not practical when I want to quickly switch to my games drive. Therefore, what are the pros and cons of each method (Virtual Machine and Dual Boot)?

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Well you can't do 3d acceleration with VMs so that that would be big con. Virtualbox has an experimental 3d acceleration engine but during my testing it was subpar even with Aero experience so I doubt it would run games very well. – Not Kyle stop stalking me Jan 23 '13 at 21:05
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Performance for gaming and lack of 3D acceleration in Virtual Machines was a deal breaker for this. I do mostly all of my coding and development in either Windows 8 or Linux, so I have dedicated my laptop for everything non-gaming, and my desktop is back to Windows 7 for gaming. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to run two different setups.

If you want to run your games, but also want to mess with Windows 8 for other everyday tasks, your best bet for speed between environments would be to run Windows 7 on the box, and then Virtual Machine Windows 8. This is not ideal, but its the best possible solution in my opinion. Dual booting leads to spending all your time in one environment and forsaking the other. By the time you reboot the machine to boot into the other Operating System, you will most likely lose the desire to do what you wanted.

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+1 That works based on experience. – Guy Coder Jan 23 '13 at 21:56

Try running your games in Windows 7 compatibility mode. VMPlayer have better DirectX virtualization capabilities, but don't expect miracles. You can access your local folders from a VM, by sharing them.

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Some games (BF3 for example) gave me nightmares no matter what compatibility mode I was in. I even want as far as running the other .exe associated with the game in compatibility mode. I got fed up with the stellar support of EA, and just reverted to Win 7 on my desktop. – DaBaer Jan 23 '13 at 22:04
Unfortunately, I play games with a .jar extension, so this is not possible. However, it is still a good suggestion. – Jeffrey Lin Jan 24 '13 at 20:59
That means they where implemented in Java, for which OpenGL is used, usually. Virtualbox has better performance in OpenGL virtualization, may worth a try. – Nagy Ladislau Radu Jan 24 '13 at 21:23

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