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I have Windows Vista and Ubuntu installed on my computer dual boot. I'm interested in running Windows Vista from within Ubuntu. How can I do this?

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I'm gonna have to go against the crowd and say VMware is the way to go. You can boot from an existing partition in Linux or even use VMware Converter to convert your existing Vista install to a virtual machine, which you can run under Linux. That way you can keep your current settings. VMware Server is freeware.

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I am a big fan of VMware, but I just seem to have problem after problem when running it on Linux and end up using Virtualbox... VMware converter is brilliant - forgot to mention that! – William Hilsum Nov 28 '09 at 23:10

You could use VirtualBox, but unfortunately I don't know of a way to boot from your existing partition. Even if you could, it'd be more trouble than it's worth, the OS wouldn't know if it were coming or going with the hardware it was going to get. You can still use VirtualBox, but with a new disk image.

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"the OS wouldn't know if it were coming or going" what do you mean by that? I think booting it from the existing partition would be the way to go, because I would get access to all my settings, plus save disk space by not having make two copies of Vista... – Michael Nov 28 '09 at 22:02
Well, if you take a HDD out of one PC and put it in another, the OS tends to get a little confused, and be a bit slow until it gets it's bearings. Now imagine that EVERY boot. – Phoshi Nov 28 '09 at 22:13

You will want to take a look at virtualisation.

For Linux, the only thing I would really recommend is Virtual Box.

You will need to reinstall it and basically treat the virtual copy as a completely different installation.

The speed will be slower and there are other disadvantages compared to running it natively, but there are many great features such as snapshots.

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what's a snapshot? – Michael Nov 28 '09 at 22:00
Imagine if at any point you could just "freeze" your computer, it doesn't matter what is running, what is open or anything... it is all copied, you can then close windows, or do anything and when you restore that snapshot, everything is IDENTICAL to when you took it... The first time you try it, you will be impressed! – William Hilsum Nov 28 '09 at 22:02
Why -1? From who? – William Hilsum Nov 29 '09 at 0:40

if you want to use VirtualBox, you can migrate your existing Windows Vista Installation following the instructions in their Wiki (written for XP, but works for Vista and 7):

How to migrate existing Windows installations to VirtualBox

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