Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I can run Windows on my Apple laptop exclusively (through bootcamp) or through virtualization (through Parallels). A great feature is to take a running Windows bootcamp session, 'pause' it and 'resume' it as a virtualized session.

My next laptop will be a Windows 7 laptop and I will need to make heavy use of Linux. Is there software that will let me run Windows or Linux in a dual boot setup, but also let me run the same Linux installation as a virtualized system inside Windows 7?

I'm willing to look at free or commercial software.


share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can have both installed, in dual boot, then use VMWare Server in Windows to launch the installed Linux OS. When you create the virtual machine, when asked about the hard-disks, you specify 'Use physical disk'. On the next steps, you select only the Linux partitions. That's about it.

You may have to fix some settings in Linux (ex. the X config), and I can't tell you specifically what.. I tried this with an ArchLinux installation, and it worked fine. With the new distributions that do not need anymore detailed setups, and load what they need when booting, you may be lucky enough to 'just work'.

Also, I haven't tried the snapshot feature in this setup (pause/resume), but I am pretty sure it won't work.

Good luck

(PS: VMWare Server is free for personal use, I've tried it with version 1.07; I've done something similar with VirtualBox, but it's a little bit more complicated to create the 'RAW' vmdk disk files)


share|improve this answer
I want to make sure I understand: Install Linux and Windows 7 in a dual-boot setup (the way it is normally done). Then vmware will let me start up my linux 'partition' as a virtual machine? I will be able to switch between vmware and dual-booted linux and changes made in one will show up in the other? – user14660 Nov 3 '09 at 17:05
yup, pretty much that is. in vmware, instead of using a virtual disk drive, you use only some 'pointers' to the real partitions. you actually start in vmware the installed OS – Alex Nov 3 '09 at 21:48

You do not need software. You just need an Ubuntu Live CD to install Ubuntu inside Windows.

share|improve this answer
I am a developer and need to use Windows and Linux heavily. Google tells me that Live CDs are good for quick demos or 'try-outs' but not for heavy work. Besides, I want the option to boot straight into Linux, or run Linux inside windows. Am I misunderstanding something? – user14660 Nov 3 '09 at 17:08
that is the same thing as Wubi . – djangofan Nov 16 '09 at 15:56

Like the guy before me said, you use Wubi to install Ubuntu on Windows just like any other application.

share|improve this answer
This will also let me boot straight into Linux? – user14660 Nov 3 '09 at 17:09
yes, it will add a second item to your bootloader when you turn on your computer. ( if you see an error, just wait 30 seconds and it will boot up.) – djangofan Nov 5 '09 at 0:58
Wubi won't let him run it virtualized. – Tarnay Kálmán Nov 14 '09 at 2:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .