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Let's say that we have a HDD with 2 partitions. One has Window 7 and the other one Fedora 19. Is there a way while we run either of the operating systems to boot the other like a virtual machine? Probably it wouldn't be a virtual machine, but you know.....

Thank you

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migrated from Nov 14 '13 at 20:41

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Several VM suites support using a physical partition as a virtual hard disk. VirtualBox is the only free solution for this that I am aware of, and it is a bit tricky to set up (I managed to get Ubuntu 12.04 w/ software RAID running on a Windows 7 host.) I haven't purchased VMWare Workstation edition, but supposedly there is support for the same operation.

Virtualbox documentation.

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Absolutely yes.

(simplifying slightly) You can have as many physical drives as your machine supports. Each physical disk can have a single "Active Partition". When you boot your machine, it will boot whatever boot loader is on the active partition of the primary drive.

A boot manager is nearly always installed with an OS (for example, NTLDR on Windows XP and below, BOOTMGR on Windows Vista and above, GRUB on Linux).

Most of these are configurable and you can simply tell it to boot from another partition.

If you have Windows and just want to experiment with adding the ability to boot from other partitions, I recommend you take a look at EasyBCD (download non-commercial/free edition).

If you have any more specific questions, please ask and I'll be happy to modify the answer.

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