This is part two of my previous question Ext4 (dm-crypt) vs NTFS (bitlocker) for a common partition. I'm copying over the relevant section below.

I currently have Windows 10 Pro installed on my drive. But as of late, most of my time is spent connected to a Virtual Machine running Linux.

These days I've been willing to revert that. The following setup is in my plans:

  • One partition for Linux, one for Windows 10
  • A common partition to hold work-related files
  • Another partition to hold my Steam games (most, but not all of them, are cross-platform)
  • Typically, I'll boot up my Linux system and do some work and ocasional gaming
  • Every once in a while I'll boot up Windows and either work on Visual Studio, or play a game which is Windows-exclusive.

Out of curiosity more than anything else, I'm wondering if it would be possible to set up a virtual machine from Windows and use it to launch my existing Linux installation from its existing partition.

  • Would it work?
  • Would it be reliable (i.e. would it not mess up my Linux system?)
  • Would using AMD Radeon proprietary drivers make it impossible or substantially more difficult?

Side question: How about the other way around (launching the existing physical Windows partition as a VM from within Linux)? Or really, what factors should be considered in determining how problematic would these scenarios actually be?

Notes: The hardware is: FX-6350 with Radeon R9 280X. OS: Windows 10 Pro, Arch Linux with Cinnamon DE, both are latest versions. Both installations would be UEFI standard. Disk encryption is a must, thought this is really more related to my other question. I favour VMware but this is not really a constraint.

I appreciate any insights.

2 Answers 2


Possible: yes

Easy: probably not.

I have booted windows disk images via qemu, so nothing is impossible. Linux will be more tolerant of booting in different environments (virtualised vs native) and as long as the libs are there for each, it shouldn't cause too much trouble.

Your best bet would be to hypervisor both windows and *nix.

Alternatively if you want to "try before you buy" - write a copy of your nix partition to an ISO (dd) or duplicate it to a vdi with your software of choice, and try booting that.

More directed help could be found if you specify what emulation software you are using (Virtualbox, ie), and whether your CPU supports nested paging or virtualisation.


Easy Switching? no, just boot into Linux and access Windows partition from there. Linux can R/W NTFS via the NTFS-3G pkg but Windows cannot see Linux.

No Special partitions or magic required.

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