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Install linux on a virtual partition?


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#1 Stofzuiger

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 12:40 PM

So i decided to try Ubuntu as second OS. I'm planning to Dual boot Linux/XP. I currently have 2 hard drives: C with 30GB free space, and D with 89GB free space.

My question: i heard i can create an "virtual hard drive (or partition)" and put Linux on there, if so, how would i do this. This would take space of my current hard drive (probably about 50GB from D) and create and new "virtual" drive (named E or something) with the amount of free GB it took from my original hard drive(s).

Is this possible, and how would this be possible?

I've searched using google and here at BC, though I didn't find anything i was searching for (or is something called virtual machine the same?).

I hope someone can help me out :thumbsup:

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#2 MadDawg

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 05:15 PM

Partition Magic can do this without wiping your data. However, this is not a free program. Alternatively, Ubuntu (and maybe other Linux distros) comes with a program called Wubi, which allows you to install the distro as an application, eliminating the need to risk your data through partitioning.

EDIT: Virtual Machines (VirtualBox, for example) allow you to install an operation system (including Linux) to an emulated computer, also eliminating the need for repartioning.

Edited by MadDawg, 15 May 2009 - 05:17 PM.

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#3 Andrew

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 03:30 PM

You can run Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine (like MadDawg suggested) but it would be slower than running it regularly. You can also run Ubuntu as a Windows app using Wubi.

Running straight Linux from a "virtual" drive is not possible (nor possible for any OS.) The only way to have Linux on a virtual drive is through one of the above mentioned methods, neither of which are optimal since Windows will be running as well. If that's what you're doing, then why even bother with Linux?

The best (in my opinion) and most common way of having both Windows and Linux is to partition your existing hard drive to accommodate both. This is not as complicated as it sounds. Partition Magic (mentioned above) can do this, and so can a free and open-source alternative called GParted. GParted is built in to the Ubuntu installer and can automagically repartition your existing drive and install itself alongside Windows without damaging any of your data. Note, however that while Ubuntu will be able to see and access your Windows files, Windows will not see nor be able to access the Linux files (since Microsoft does not include support for such.)

You could also, if you wanted, use GParted first to manually repartition your hard drive. We already have a tutorial here about just that subject (written by yours truly, no less!) You can find it in the tutorials section or by clicking here.

My advice? Get an Ubuntu CD, pop it in your computer and reboot it. You can run a "live" version of Ubuntu from the CD without making any changes to your computer. If you don't like it, just reboot and remove the CD. If you do, then there's a icon on the desktop that will launch the friendly and easy installation wizard which will walk you through the steps on repartitioning the drive and installing Ubuntu alongside Windows.

#4 Stofzuiger

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 06:03 PM

My advice? Get an Ubuntu CD, pop it in your computer and reboot it. You can run a "live" version of Ubuntu from the CD without making any changes to your computer. If you don't like it, just reboot and remove the CD. If you do, then there's a icon on the desktop that will launch the friendly and easy installation wizard which will walk you through the steps on repartitioning the drive and installing Ubuntu alongside Windows.


i've tried that, but whatever i try it wont boot from the CD, it just goes straight into XP. I even tried to install that "boot helper" but that didnt change a thing. You (or someone else) know a solution for this?

Edit: i succeeded in repartitioning my D drive, so i succesfully created a new 40gb partition (on which i'll install Linux) using Partition Magic.

Edited by Stofzuiger, 16 May 2009 - 06:06 PM.

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