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Boot external HDD as virtual machine?

Last response: in Windows 7
March 21, 2011 6:55:15 AM

I have a HDD that has Windows 7 installed on it. I want to connect this drive to another machine, and boot it as a virtual machine. (i.e. boot the OS on the drive in another OS on machine #2).

Is this possible?
March 21, 2011 6:56:38 AM

I don't think you can do this with VirtualBox, but VMware might.

I know that VMware Fusion for the Mac could interpret the boot camp partition, not sure about the Windows version.
March 21, 2011 7:02:21 AM

Ah, forget to mention that - I'd (obviously) like to use VB since I don't have VMware...
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March 21, 2011 7:06:29 AM

I'm 99.9% sure you can't do it in VirtualBox.

Virtualbox supports .vmdk, .vdi, .vhd and .hdd files. You can't as far as I know do so in Virtualbox.
March 21, 2011 7:18:12 AM

That looks so ridiculously techie and awesome. Thanks! I didn't realize that what I wanted to do was called "migrating Windows"... so I would never have found that.

I'll report back if it works... or not.
March 21, 2011 7:20:25 AM

I see you're on Fedora - while I have your attention - it implies that Linux is hardware agnostic - does that mean if I installed Linux on an HDD, I could just live boot it from disk on any machine I plugged it into?

Certainly it seems to imply in my current case... (if it was Linux) I would be able to boot the OS right from the HDD as a virtual machine?

If so... additional points to Linux...
March 21, 2011 7:37:32 AM

No, Linux simply doesn't die when you move the HD from say my computer to your computer. Assuming I didn't radically change the kernel, it would work fine. If I did that with a Windows HD, it would BSOD. If I moved it to another x120e, it'd be fine. It's a driver thing.

I'm a total Linux noob so you aren't allowed to ask me any more Linux questions, just Windows and VM questions. If you post in the Linux section you can get a non-noob response.
a b $ Windows 7
March 21, 2011 8:01:18 AM

VirtualBox can use physical drives and partitions. Have a read of section 9.7.1 of the help file (9.7.1. Using a raw host hard disk from a guest).

Disclaimer: I have not tried this with a physical hard disk, but have used iSCSI disks with VirtualBox. As always when accessing a physical disk, be careful - and back up any irreplaceable data.

Edit BTW, should the OP need VMWare (and the only use that I have for it is to run a Hackintosh), the free player has all the functionality that he/she would require.