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I have a dual boot with Windows 7/Linux and I want to be able to boot the Windows 7 from a virtual machine (VMware Player) without converting the real machine to a virtual machine.

How to boot an existing Windows 7 disk from the Linux VMPlayer virtual machine?

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Do you want to run Windows 7 on the physical machine as well as on the VM? –  Yassar Sep 21 '13 at 12:37
    
@yassarikhan786 yes, practically I'd like to boot the real disk in the virtual machine but be able to boot it also in the dual boot if I need to –  Eduard Florinescu Sep 21 '13 at 13:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is possible by choosing "Use a physical disk" while setting up the VM, however this is

a) bound to be problematic in case the Win7 partition is on the same disk - you'll need a bootloader, and it's normally not possible to choose "Use entire disk" when the disk itself is in use by the system,

b) (more important) Windows may or may not like the hardware changing while booting on different machines (from the windows POV). You may end up with everything from working to 10min+ boot times to an entirely unbootable system! Also, note that the Windows Genuine Advantage may or may not think that the system is pirated after dual-host booting.

Especially for reason b), do a backup before! As for a software, I recommend Acronis True Image, it's cheap.

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It seems there is a way to boot from an existing hard-disk in VM Player, just follow these steps:

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