[clug] Running Win8 under grub, or VBox + physical partition

Andrew Loughhead andrew.loughhead at gmail.com
Tue Oct 16 06:45:03 MDT 2012

On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Mike Carden <mike.carden at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 6:55 PM, Andrew Loughhead
> <andrew.loughhead at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Yes it can. You use a command line virtual box tool to set up access to a
> > partition as a virtual disk.
> Hey, thanks for that Andrew. I have learned something rather useful today!

Excellent.  FWIW, what I did was something like:

sudo vboxmanage internalcommands listpartitions -rawdisk /dev/sda
sudo vboxmanage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename
/home/andrew/.VirtualBox/win7.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda -partitions 2
Run VirtualBox as root. Create new VM. Add this VMDK as startup disk.
Enable IO APIC for VM.  Set RAM.  Boot.

Although my later notes seem to say not to use the -partitions argument,
and I don't think I found a way to have it work without running VirtualBox
as root.

I also got it going the other way, with VirtualBox running on Windows 7 and
Ubuntu as the virtualised physical guest, and the process is much the same,
with the Windows version of vboxmanage.  It worked, just spectacularly and
unworkably slowly.  I think the rawvmdk just was somehow massively too slow
on Windows.

Obviously you have to be very careful, if you accidentally launch the host
OS a second time inside VirtualBox I imagine that chaos ensues. If you can
setup a carefully controlled mbr file for the -mbr argument on the
createrawvmdk file, maybe it can be impossible to (re)boot the wrong OS,
but I didn't figure out how. When working, the whole physical OS in a
virtual container is actually really convenient, and Windows 7 performance
in the virtualbox container was reasonable.  For example I used Sketchup
with adequate happiness in this way.

Steve asked about "gotchas".  The one I hit was the Microsoft Security
Essentials thing. It seemed like one of the better options for free virus
and malware protection, so I installed it.  To be fair, it makes it
completely clear that it will enable the Genuine Advantage validation, and
that its a one way process. Once MSE was installed, if I boot Windows
inside VirtualBox, it detects that its not the same computer, goes all
black, and is a pest.  When Windows 7 is physically booted again that
remains, until you get the Windows GE site to check it again, or something
like that. I think that if I use the recovery partition the laptop came
with, I can probably wipe the slate clean, and end up with a valid, and
non-GA, install again.  I think the same kind of issues would come up with
retail purchased Windows 7 media, but the OEM, buy-it-with-your-laptop
Windows installs seem free of this, unless you let it in like I did.

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