Run previous Windows install under virtualization

Registered by Michael Hall

When Ubuntu is installed, would it be possible to configure a virtualization environment to run a user previous Windows environment? Either directly from a partition if Ubuntu is dual-booted, or converting the Windows install into a loop-mountable disk image. This would be very convenient for people who want to commit to Ubuntu, but can't get rid of their Windows install due to Windows-only programs that they use. I'm not sure if this is technically or legally possible with Windows, but it would be a nice installer option.

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Not possible, due to Windows Product Activation. The average Joe Blow(tm) would not be running an activation-free corporate copy of Windows. Running Windows under virtualisation would trigger enough hardware changes to lock you out of your system.

Even worse, even if you do manage to phone up Microsoft and convince them to let you reactivate Windows, if you booted up natively in Windows again, it would again lock you out from changing from VM to native.

mhall119 - Is this true even using the new hardware virtualization from AMD and Intel? I thought those would expose the existing hardware to the guest OS.

<email address hidden> - I think the suggestion is valid and deserves some more research. If the virtual machine can expose the hardware as is then the windows-lock out will not happen. Also, Microsoft has just announced that they are slacking the lock-out mechanism in both Vista and XPsp3 - it will allow another 30 days of operation which will give the user ample time to re-activate Windows.
Most prospective Ubuntu must still run Windows after converting to Ubuntu...their options are to either DualBoot (bummer), setup a new VirtualWindows (bummer). If they can convert the current windows image to a virtual machine - WOW! This strikes me as the best idea to make it easy for Windows users to convert to Ubuntu. Now for the expert on virtualization to qualify why it is not possible?


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