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I have a dual boot with Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7. I use Windows 7 rarely and it consumes a lot of space (25 GB). I only use Office and IE (my dad uses it for accessing a bank website which supports IE only. What a shame)
So what is suggested? Should I -

  • Delete windows and start with a new VirtualBox windows install
  • Transfer windows install to VirtualBox?
  • Let it be as it is?

Will a VirtualBox installation take less space than a real install?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you need to run Windows inside Ubuntu, consider raw partition access. It virtualizes Win without moving it to a virtual disk.

About Office, consider

  • Microsoft Office Web Apps
  • a standalone (LibreOffice, AbiWord) or web-based (Google Docs) compatible program
  • an online file converter.

I've never moved a Windows install into a virtual disk image, but I think that it would need reactivation, due to the hardware UUIDs being different.

If you do move to a virtual disk:

  • Having the virtual disk on a compressed or (block-level) deduplicated file system will reduce the size on the host.
  • a dynamically allocated disk image will only take space on the host when the guest OS writes to a free location in the virtual disk. However, locations that were written and then discarded in the guest (e.g. deleted files) will not be freed on the host.
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I dont like office too, infact i use libreoffice myself, but my school teaches Office so I need to have it. So should I remove windows totally and start with a fresh VirtualBox install. Is there any way to tranfer some programs to VirtualBox? – svineet Apr 20 '13 at 16:08
    
Now I realized that Virtual box install will take the same space(thanks to your comment), then why should I migrate anyway? So I'mm going to buy a external HDD. Anyway, thanks for you help. – svineet Apr 20 '13 at 16:13

A virtual installation will use less space practically but why not install IE on Wine within Ubunutu?

http://askubuntu.com/questions/64788/how-to-install-ms-internet-explorer-7-8-or-9

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But I need office too, and I need to have a windows environment because my school uses windows specific software that will come in my exams. I want to ask, how small will a win7 VM be? I mean without any programs installed. – svineet Apr 20 '13 at 15:58
1  
@Vineet The OS will take the same size it would take on a real disk (while the free space won't, IF you have a dynamic disk image). – ignis Apr 20 '13 at 16:08

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