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I realize the title is complex and I apologize for that. However, this is what I have and I'm stuck.

Background

My desktop computer (Intel i7, 12GB ram) is running Windows 7 64-bit. I would like to change it to Ubuntu but I have some programs which only run under Windows. So, my plan was to run Win10 in VMware (which I have used for years and quite like) under my new Ubuntu for those few apps which require Windows.

Testing

Since this is my main computer, I do not want to take any risks with it until I have everything fully tested. This means, I need to make sure I can run Win10 inside VMware inside Ubuntu. Well, good thing I tested because I was unable to get VMware running on Ubuntu. While it might be possible, I am not looking for a software solution which only experts can implement (and I am certainly NOT an expert on Ubuntu, I am a newbie at best).

Alternatives

After some searching, I found decided to use VirtualBox inside Ubuntu (which is still inside VMware). I exported my VMware Win10 to the more universal OVF format, copied it to Ubuntu (which introduced a couple more days of time chewed up as I had to deal with adding drives to Ubuntu, etc.). I never got that to work, so I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 64-bit inside VMware with a 200GB hard drive to avoid the earlier problems repeating.

Current situation

Now, I have Win7 with VMware 12. Inside a VMware instance is Ubuntu 64-bit (16.04 LTS). Inside Ubuntu is VirtualBox 5.1.18. I am trying to run a VMware instance of Win10 which I created under Win7.

The problem is when I read https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=49636 it encourages me not to use the OVF but rather use the VMware .vmdk files while creating what seems to be a VirtualBox shell around those .vmdk files.

The problem is, I can only see 32-bit options in my VirtualBox (everything else is 64-bit). I have read other posts both here and elsewhere which talk around this issue but nothing which seems to address my situation, which seems unique until you think about other people wanting to move from Windows to Ubuntu and wanting to test things first.

It's long, I know. However, I would be quite happy for anyone's comments pointing me in the right direction.

It might be important: I really do want to use the existing Win10 VMware instance I have because I have spent a lot of time getting it setup properly and do not want to go through all that again.

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VirtualBox requires hardware virtualization support (i.e. VT-x or similar) for 64-bit guests. Since you're running VBox inside another virtual machine, HV is not available to VBox because it is already in use by the outer VM.

VMware Workstation allows nested virtualization if your CPU has the required features (not just VT-x but also Extended Page Tables) as well – use lscpu or coreinfo.exe to check whether it does); you have to manually enable it in VM settings:

Virtualized HV is fully supported for virtual hardware version 9 or later VMs on hosts that support Intel VT-x and EPT or AMD-V and RVI. To enable virtualized HV, select VM->Settings and navigate to the processor settings screen. Check the box next to "Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI."

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  • So are you saying I could run vmware inside vmware but I cannot run virtualbox inside vmware? I just want to be clear. – John Apr 6 '17 at 5:32
  • No, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying that you cannot run 64-bit guests inside Virtualbox if the 'outer' VM does not have nested virtualization support. – user1686 Apr 6 '17 at 6:05

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