Windows VM from dual boot with Fedora...?

I’ve had a dual boot machine with Windows and Fedora since 2007. While the setup has been OK, I would like to run my Windows install as a VM from Fedora. Eack of Windows and Fedora are physically on separate hard disks (HDDs), and GRUB lets me choose which to boot every time I power up the machine.

While I understand I could make a VM with Windows from scratch, I would like to use my Win install as it is in its HDD, as I have several apps that I use regularly, as well as files, etc. So my question is if I can somehow make VirtualBox, or some other VM app, “boot” my windows HDD in a VM in Fedora ?..

I realize this question is not quite Fedora specific – if you have any suggestions as to where else I may go ask I’d be much appreciative of the help !

The problem is, Windows will update the drivers used when you switch booting from baremetal to virtual environment.

You need to identify what drivers are changed, then write a batch file to override it for each switch.

Many Thanks for the reply ! …It is Windows 7, it gets no more updates/support, just a malware definitions update once or twice a week.

I assume from your response that what I want to do may be possible ?

“Dual booting Windows on Bare Metal and VM? : r/VFIO”

There are successful stories.

I also read some more detailed instructions on how to do it.

Just that I failed to make it work for me when I tried.

But I cannot locate the instructions at the moment.

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THANK YOU Sampsonf ! I’llk take a look at the Reddit post. If you remember the detailed instructions please let me know ?..


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Hello @njaimo ,
You could image the Windows HDD with the Gnome Disks application and use that image as the VM image. I would suggest to shrink the Windows partition as much as possible in Windows beforehand.

Thank you Jakfrost; that sounds like a good possibility.

This raises the question of additional storage for that VM – could I say to the hypervisor to allocate storage for that VM in its own HDD ? (I have Win installed in its separate HDD) …or would additional storage have to come out of my Fedora install storage space (HDDs) ?


It is possible to select a storage location other than default. However, it seems it cannot be ntfs as seen by another user recently so you would need to create a partition of adequate size and format it as a linux supported file system before you created the VM virtual disk there.

Maybe this is too much trouble, compared to keeping my dual-boot machine as is.

THANKS again for the exchange.

Well, I find if I want to run VM’s of Windows on my system successfully, as in works ootb, I need to install the virtualization group of tools Fedora Linux has, including virt-manager. Gnome boxes is for appliance vm’s, while virt-manager is more configurable.
FWIW, I use various different software and versions of windows through the normal function as my role in my day job. I cannot possibly have a single system setup to cover all of the (often old) technologies my customers are running. VM’s are the only way for me to accomplish this. I use these VM’s on my Fedora Linux system on my test bench to do offsite testing and development. It isn’t too complex and I didn’t have to make another partition just image the disks.

While it is not such a big deal for me to have dual booting, I figured it would be “neat” if I could just run my Windows installation from within Fedora. It seems that getting that to work adequately will be more work that just having the dual-boot, so for now I think I will stay as is. I am nowhere near an expert Linux user, so learning a little more as I go. Thanks again for your comments and suggestions !! :slight_smile: