Virtualisation to replace Dual Boot

#1
Well, time marches on and I'm starting to get fed up with dual booting my PC to switch between Linux and Windows. I can't switch to Linux as it won't play the games I like; I don't want to switch to Windows as I much prefer Linux for everything else.

So, time for plan B which could very well be to virtualise one option and run it from the other. Any advice, comments, or ideas out there ?

To make things more complicated, I have 6 drives in my current Frankentower, all mirrored. Windows boots off a SSD with data on HDD, Linux is on a separate HDD.

Thanks for your time.
 
#3
Well, time marches on and I'm starting to get fed up with dual booting my PC to switch between Linux and Windows. I can't switch to Linux as it won't play the games I like; I don't want to switch to Windows as I much prefer Linux for everything else.

So, time for plan B which could very well be to virtualise one option and run it from the other. Any advice, comments, or ideas out there ?

To make things more complicated, I have 6 drives in my current Frankentower, all mirrored. Windows boots off a SSD with data on HDD, Linux is on a separate HDD.

Thanks for your time.
Caveat Emptor - BACKUP YOUR DATA and KISS - someone is going to advise you to do it differently, always go for what is easiest for you.

Go for a Linux VM running on a Windows machine. If you game you want to be running the best video drivers and you want direct access rather than going through the hypervisor. Doesn't matter which Virtual app you use really though I haven't used MS Virtual PC in a while:

The Best Virtualization App for Windows

You should be able to edit your boot manager to take out the Linux boot option - suggest the EasyBCD option here:

Default Operating System - Change Default Boot OS - Windows 7 Forums

User Ghost or a free app that does the same to take an image (ISO) of your Linux disk as a backup. You can create a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) in a number of ways but you might be as well off firing up your software and doing a clean install of Linux as the process can take some time.

Walkthrough for creating a Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) | OS Attack

Disk2vhd
 
#4
I would agree in principle with Graculus, particularly if the games have complex video content, with the approach of "keeping" your windows OS.

I use VMware player on a daily basis and my job would be made way more difficult without it. It's free to download with excellent documentation and loads of user community knowledge and can be installed on either windows or linux hosts. VMware also provide a free Physical to VM conversion utility that will suporrt lots of different Phys/VM conversions as well as convert other types of VMs to use in VMware Player. If you want to spend some money, you can upgrade to VMware desktop which enables snapshots, handy if you want to revert back to an old version of your linux OS if you don't like the latest one you have just upgraded to.

Alternatively, if style matters more than opensource flexibility/you have money to burn/you work in marketing/you like polo neck jumpers/subcribe to myth that Apple is really nice friendly collective of philanthropists that doesn't file for a load of bullshit patents*, buy a mac. People who are easily impressed will think you are cool/funky and somewhere a parasitic intellectual property lawyer will thank you for funding his five course lunch. Anyone else who supports IT infrastructure for mere mortals will think you a Class 1 cnut for making their life unnecessarily difficult to cater for you speshul needs.



*I don't expect you to delete many of these as selecting one normally means the others are too by default.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#5
If you want to use VMware user VMware Server, as it's free. VMware Player won't work for what you want to achieve.

But if you want gaming, then VM isn't the way ahead unless you kept your OS as windows for gaming, and the VM was your linux box.
 
#6
Given the price of computers these days, I'd be minded to suggest buying another one...
 
#7
I'd go with msr on that. I've got an iMac running linux as my main work machine and a big frankenmonster that runs server2012 hyperv for the rest and as its only a test rig running games on it is fine although its becoming less frequent


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#8
You can get rid of the linux by running a boot repair from your windows disk and formatting the drive. Or do nothing .. just change the default boot to Windows (or Linux)...

I would recommend keeping windows 7 as your base os if games are what you really want from Windows mainly because the best performance will be from video and sound drivers running native. Then use Virtual Box running under Windows for Linux. Of course things may well change this year as Steam are supposed to be releasing a Linux based games service, so depending on the games you're into that may well suit you best.

I don't think a Mac is an option for a serious gamer, just not enough games/driver support etc. and the upgrade path for Mac hardware is very narrow...

or how about a different solution? Buy an xbox and a dual input monitor. Or buy a basic spec Pc to run Ubuntu on and a KVM switch?

hth..
 
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PrinceAlbert

Guest
#9
I would recommend keeping windows 7 as your base os if games are what you really want from Windows mainly because the best performance will be from video and sound drivers running native. Then use Virtual Box running under Windows for Linux..
So....what I said then?
 
#12
If you want to use VMware user VMware Server, as it's free. VMware Player won't work for what you want to achieve.

But if you want gaming, then VM isn't the way ahead unless you kept your OS as windows for gaming, and the VM was your linux box.

PA, this is why I'm suggesting installing VMware player, he keeps the windows OS as it is (best approach for the games requirement here) and run Linux as a VM within VMware player. It's the safest, least disruptive way to go about it. I use exactly the same setup on my corporate laptop and run 2 XP and a Fedora VM simultaneously with no stability issues whatsover. My day job involves fettling large scale message processing applications on VMware's ESXi virtualization platform and whilst it's great for that (even for MSSQL and Postgres) I wouldn't use it or anything similar for a windows 7 VM to run Arma 3 on. VMware player is a nice gentle introduction to virtualization and it introduced me to the rest of the portfolio. I've never looked back since.

I am agreeing with you if you see what I mean. Keep the windows 7, run the linux as VM. Don't buy any more hardware, don't waste money on a mac, you'll end up have to run windows as VM which will be shit for games.

Spend the money saved by not buying a Mac on some nice polo neck jumpers and a nice Android tablet.
 
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PrinceAlbert

Guest
#13
PA, this is why I'm suggesting installing VMware player
Without trying to piss on your VMware chips....I know what the **** I'm talking about, and VMware Player won't do. He wants VMware Server.

I can't be arrsed to explain it, but look at what functionality you get with VMware Server, compared to the limitations of VMware player and you'll see why.

For more info see pages 48 - 50 in the Sybex VCP4 book.
 
#14
Without trying to piss on your VMware chips....I know what the **** I'm talking about, and VMware Player won't do. He wants VMware Server.

I can't be arrsed to explain it, but look at what functionality you get with VMware Server, compared to the limitations of VMware player and you'll see why.
He may be confusing Server with ESxi - amazing how many people in the industry think that nobody else is in the industry isn't it? ;-) Sorry for the big wurdz.
 
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PrinceAlbert

Guest
#15
He may be confusing Server with ESxi - amazing how many people in the industry think that nobody else is in the industry isn't it? ;-) Sorry for the big wurdz.
Nope. ESXi is a baremetal hypervisor, and is accessed through the vsphere client. He said he uses VMware player, which is essentially just that. It plays VMs. It does't let you create/modify VMs, which what the OP wants.

I could possibly understand him confusing VMware Player with VMware Server but you'd have to be a mong.
 
#16
Nope. ESXi is a baremetal hypervisor, and is accessed through the vsphere client. He said he uses VMware player, which is essentially just that. It plays VMs. It does't let you create/modify VMs, which what the OP wants.

I could possibly understand him confusing VMware Player with VMware Server but you'd have to be a mong.
Aye I know what ESxi is but couldn't think of any other reason anyone would advise against Server. I use Vbox anyhoo. as an aside ESxi will not run on my feckin laptop.
 
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PrinceAlbert

Guest
#17
Aye I know what ESxi is but couldn't think of any other reason anyone would advise against Server. I use Vbox anyhoo. as an aside ESxi will not run on my feckin laptop.
Why would you want to run ESXi on your laptop? You'd need a second client to connect in to it.
 
#18
Why would you want to run ESXi on your laptop? You'd need a second client to connect in to it.
I know - I was looking at using it for a presentation.
 
#19
Just to add to the confusion, Oracle VirtualBox allows creation of VMs and is free: VirtualBox Downloads

It's not compatible with VMWare without some faffing about, so just pick one and stick with it. I'm currently using VMWare Desktop with OS X 10, Win 8 and a plethora of Linuces on top of Win 7. Unfortunately, I occasionally have to support the polo-necks and "early adopters" who still look for the "Any" key when told to press it.

As others have said, gaming in a Win VM is crap - although your GFX card will be recognised, only a generic display will be available inside the VM. PlayOnLinux (Home - PlayOnLinux - Run your Windows applications on Linux easily!) is an interesting project to make a useable GUI for Wine if you want to try running Windows games in Linux.
 
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