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Can I Boot an OS HDD into a Virtual Machine?

Last response: in Storage
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February 10, 2012 11:12:26 PM

I have a single HDD which is bootable (has Windows 7) which I pasted together from a broken RAID 0 whose Mobo controller died.

I want to now boot this into another machine (also running Windows 7) so I can strip out data that I want into the new machine, and look for settings that I created but can't remember on the old system, etc.).

I'm wondering if I can boot this volume in a virtual machine (VirtualBox) either by connecting it via USB (with a HDD dock) or just by SATA to the motherboard.

Anyone have any experience/knowledge around this area?

Thanks in advance.
February 11, 2012 2:52:59 PM

No one has tried this? I would try it myself, I'm just not sure how to make VirtualBox boot from an already-connected drive...
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February 11, 2012 10:27:53 PM

Thanks...

I post here quite regularly, and never have, since the response tends to be almost instant (when the question is phrased correctly) which I find invaluable. I don't really understand what 'bumping' is actually - it just records an extra reply I thought, but doesn't elevate the post to the top of the list or anything?)

Suffice to say - I finally found a solution to my own question - posted for anyone else:

--
Using VirtualBox you can indeed boot a pre-installed OS HDD, but there are some significant issues...

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=769883

Basically, it's not difficult to 'accidentally' boot the drive you want to be virtual, straight into your actual OS install, which apparently (on Linux anyway) erases certain MBR data, which then makes your base OS unbootable!

Additionally, apparently you can severely corrupt the data on the drive you're trying to virtualize, if I'm reading a few forum posts correctly elsewhere.

Basically, this seems ill-advised.

The preferred solution seems to be creating an image of the HDD in question, and booting the virtual machine off that image, which is apparently quite easy, and indeed is part of the standard usage repertoire with VirtualBox, unlike direct physical disk booting.

I guess I'll be creating an image and booting that virtually.
a b $ Windows 7
February 11, 2012 10:33:31 PM

commissar_mo said:
Thanks...

I post here quite regularly, and never have, since the response tends to be almost instant (when the question is phrased correctly) which I find invaluable. I don't really understand what 'bumping' is actually - it just records an extra reply I thought, but doesn't elevate the post to the top of the list or anything?)

Suffice to say - I finally found a solution to my own question - posted for anyone else:

--
Using VirtualBox you can indeed boot a pre-installed OS HDD, but there are some significant issues...

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=769883

Basically, it's not difficult to 'accidentally' boot the drive you want to be virtual, straight into your actual OS install, which apparently (on Linux anyway) erases certain MBR data, which then makes your base OS unbootable!

Additionally, apparently you can severely corrupt the data on the drive you're trying to virtualize, if I'm reading a few forum posts correctly elsewhere.

Basically, this seems ill-advised.

The preferred solution seems to be creating an image of the HDD in question, and booting the virtual machine off that image, which is apparently quite easy, and indeed is part of the standard usage repertoire with VirtualBox, unlike direct physical disk booting.

I guess I'll be creating an image and booting that virtually.

That's exactly what it does and anybody who posts regularly would know that as do people who don't post here regularly.
February 11, 2012 10:49:20 PM

Is mousemonkey having a bad day?
a b $ Windows 7
February 11, 2012 10:57:52 PM

cobra5000 said:
Is mousemonkey having a bad day?

No I'm getting fed up with people who don't bother to read the rules or feel that the rules don't apply to them because they are somehow 'special'.
!