Dual booting inside a VMWARE Virtual Machine.

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  1. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,012
    Windows10
       #1

    Dual booting inside a VMWARE Virtual Machine.


    I decided (more out of academic interest than need) that I would setup windows 10586 in a vm on VMWARE, and also Insider version.

    Problem was I could not find anyway of doing this. You could install first version, but how to install second version, as you automatically boot to the installed version?

    I looked on various sites including Macrium, and I saw dual booting was possible, but all videos referred to windows, linux where you can install linux as dual boot within windows.

    Some sites said it was not possible but I was sure if you could modify boot files with linux there had to be a way with two windows installs.

    I am sure it can be done using pre-prepared virtual hard drives and initially jumping to a command prompt to attach vhds etc. I did not want to do that as you cannot upgrade OS in vhds.

    So I had a ponder, and my good old friend Macrium Reflect Free came to mind.

    So I installed 10586 in a vm, installed Macrium Reflect Free, and used that to create a boot entry, unsure if this would work in a vm.

    To my surprise, it worked first time. So now it was a simple case of:-

    1) creating an image backup of an existing install 10 pro, home, Insider, 8 or even 7. I put this on a large usb flash drive.

    2) shrinking c drive in vhd to create enough space (could have expanded drive instead)

    3) restart vm, booting into Macrium and restore C drive partition only (not system partitions) from backup to unallocated space.

    4) use Macrium 'fix windows boot problem'

    I am sure there are other maybe quicker ways, but this allows you to use setup versions etc, and was easy to do once I worked it out.

    What I can do now is share files between each OS version without having to store externally to the VM as I would have to do if installs were separate instances.

    So here it is:-

    Dual booting inside a VMWARE Virtual Machine.-capture.png
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  2. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,434
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    You can even combine two individual virtual machines to a single dual boot vm. In Hyper-V this is extremely easy, you just copy the .vhd or .vhdx file of the other vm to your first vm, mount it and add to boot menu (adding a VHD to boot menu for native boot: Hyper-V - Native Boot VHD - Windows 10 Forums)

    You are using VMware, a .vmdk file. That needs first to be converted to .vhd file but then it's easy. See this tutorial on our sister site Seven Forums for converting a VMDK file to VHD and adding it to native boot: Windows 10 - Test Try with No Risk, No Install - Windows 7 Help Forums (Part One steps 2 & 3 for tools needed, Part Three for converting VMDK to VHD, Part Four to add it to boot menu).

    Kari
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  3. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,012
    Windows10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Kari said:
    You can even combine two individual virtual machines to a single dual boot vm. In Hyper-V this is extremely easy, you just copy the .vhd or .vhdx file of the other vm to your first vm, mount it and add to boot menu (adding a VHD to boot menu for native boot: Hyper-V - Native Boot VHD - Windows 10 Forums)

    You are using VMware, a .vmdk file. That needs first to be converted to .vhd file but then it's easy. See this tutorial on our sister site Seven Forums for converting a VMDK file to VHD and adding it to native boot: Windows 10 - Test Try with No Risk, No Install - Windows 7 Help Forums (Part One steps 2 & 3 for tools needed, Part Three for converting VMDK to VHD, Part Four to add it to boot menu).

    Kari
    Thanks - and I am certain you can do similar in VMWARE as I said, but key problem (afaik) is you cannot do build upgrades to installs in a vhd. This is a limitation of vhds (afaik) not VMs themselves.
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  4. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,434
    Windows 10 Pro
       #4

    cereberus said:
    Thanks - and I am certain you can do similar in VMWARE as I said, but key problem (afaik) is you cannot do build upgrades to installs in a vhd. This is a limitation of vhds (afaik) not VMs themselves.
    Just to clarify: You can upgrade Windows on a VM, but not when its virtual hard disk is used in native boot. If upgrade is launched when VHD of the VM is used in native boot, you just get this:



    I use two of my W10 virtual machines almost exclusively for native boot, to be able to use real physical hardware with them. Only when I need to upgrade them to next build I launch them in Hyper-V.

    They are both activated when native booted because of my hardware digital signature, not activated when using them as VM in Hyper-V but luckily you can upgrade Windows 10 even if it's not activated.
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  5. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,012
    Windows10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Kari said:
    Just to clarify: You can upgrade Windows on a VM, but not when its virtual hard disk is used in native boot. If upgrade is launched when VHD of the VM is used in native boot, you just get this:


    .

    Yes - that is what I meant - you have stated it more clearly. It is a shame you cannot upgrade on a virtual drive - that is why I went through the Macrium route installing as "native boot" as it was easy to do, and the installs are upgradeable..

    I do not have PRO hence VMWARE.
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  6. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,473
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #6

    Hi there

    Call me peverse - but why would you want to dual boot from WITHIN a VM -- what's wrong with having TWO VM's -- no prob running both at the same time if you have anothing bigger than a tiny netbook. Even a small laptop is more than capable of running two VM's concurrently. !!

    I know you specifically asked for dual booting within a VM -- I'd love to have your reason for this -- I'm always interested in learning stuff and you might well have a great reason for doing this.

    (By dual booting of course I mean running say Windows and Linux VM's. I don't mean running say something like ESXI as a VM and then installing VM's on it or say a Windows virtual server and running VM's on that (second level VM's) which is quite possible and easily done).

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  7. Edwin's Avatar
    Posts : 17,060
    Windows 10
       #7

    So..., you have a machine running a v-machine, running a ......
    What's the point? Isn't that just a waste of overhead?
    Why not just dual boot on clean metal?
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  8. Cliff S's Avatar
    Posts : 25,548
    Win10 Pro, Win10 Pro N, Win10 Home, Windows 8.1 Pro, Ubuntu
       #8

    Read the first sentence in the original post:
    I decided (more out of academic interest than need) that I would setup windows 10586 in a vm on VMWARE, and also Insider version.
      My Computers

  9. Edwin's Avatar
    Posts : 17,060
    Windows 10
       #9

    Cliff S said:
    Read the first sentence in the original post:
    Oops!
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  10. Cliff S's Avatar
    Posts : 25,548
    Win10 Pro, Win10 Pro N, Win10 Home, Windows 8.1 Pro, Ubuntu
       #10

    Edwin said:
    Oops!
    You & Jimbo both should understand that.
    You both are two of the biggest "Hmmmm, what if I...." members here:)
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