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Create Virtualbox image of a physical partition

I have two operating system installed on my PC (dual boot), I use both a lot and sometimes I restart my PC two times to do some work.

Is it possible to run one of them in VirtualBox as it stands, so that I don't have to restart if some work has to be done on the other non-running operating system?

thanks in advance .

  • Do you mean without reinstalling? Just importing the existing OS, settings and all into VirtualBox?
    – terdon
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:16
  • yes as you said .
    – eyadof
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:18
  • Do you have a separate /boot partition?
    – SOMN
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:23
  • @Claudiop yes i have .
    – eyadof
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:24
  • Can you reinstall GRUB? The alternative is, convert to virtual disk image both partitions, and then boot with a live cd to change grub place (eg.) from sda2 to sdb1(or other).
    – SOMN
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:30

3 Answers 3


Yes, it is possible. But the system on virtualbox will have worst performance, and limited resources.

Not to mention that both operative systems will take resources at the same time

EDIT: As i commented: Here is how to convert a partition to a virtual hard disk image.

Now, as you said, there is a separated /boot partition.

Can you reinstall GRUB? Relocating /boot to the new drive? If you can, then is the easiest solution. (I don't know how to do it, but is the easiest, because it only takes a couple commands, a google search may help you, as it may vary from distro to distro)

If you don't know, then you need to also make the old /boot avaliable.

If you also convert the old /boot into a virtual disk image, then you just need to set it in virtualbox settings.

Once ready, you need to boot the virtual machine (that you created) with a live CD.

Mount your "/" and go to the file "/etc/fstab" with your favourite editor.

You should know that the fstab files, says where are partitions mounted, so tell it to mount your boot partition on /boot.(You learn how to do it here, if you don't know what is your /boot disk, write "df" in the shell, and you should recognise it.)

Sorry if i didn't explained enough, but english is not my mother language. I tried the best i could.


You can use VMware converter to convert your system to use with vmware/virtualbox/etc. It is called PTV (physical to virtual)

  • is this will edit the original system ?
    – eyadof
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:22
  • No, it will make copy of your physical system which you can then run in a vm.
    – p0rkjello
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:33

You didn't mention what operation systems you're using. It's actually not that hard to boot an Ubuntu (or other Linux) installation that is natively installed to a hard drive partition in Virtualbox. If you're trying to boot an Linux installation in Virtualbox hosted on Windows, take a look at my post in this question: Virtualbox: Raw linux partition not booting

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