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I have what I thought was a simple task of creating ISO images of my Windows 7 system partion and boot partiton (the C drive) on my physical hard drive that I could use to load Windows 7 onto a virtual machine. Anyway, I'm running Ubuntu off the CD drive and I can see my drive partions (checked using the fdisk -l command). I have tried many iterations of the mkisofs command, but no matter what I do I get the error message: unable to open disk image file ‘dev/sdb/win7sys.iso’. I don’t understand why it’s trying to open an ISO file it is supposed to be creating. The -o FILE option sets the output file name, so the message makes no sense to me. Below is an example of a simple and longer version with more options that I have tried to create an image of my sytem partiton (sda1) and save it on an external drive (sdb) with the file name: win7sys.iso (the next step I think would be to create or merge both partition images as one iso file for the VM). But I can't get past this error.
* Note that the output after the -o parameter is the desired destination /dev/sdb (my external drive) for the image file and /dev/sda1 is my Windows 7 system or boot partition (sda2 is what Windows sees as the C drive).
There are two errors in your command.
At first, it is not possible to write a file to the device in the way you want it to do. You have to first mount your external drive, before you write to it. Therefore you get the errormessage that mkisofs can't open the file you specified (of course the command has to open the file to write to it).
Second, I would assume that your external device has at least one partition on it (not a must, but very, very common), so the device-name for that partition should be /dev/sdb1, not /dev/sdb.
But there seems to be also at least one logical error in your thoughts. At first, you will not be able to install Windows 7 from an ISO-image made from your harddisk into a VM. This will simply not work. Except that, in your mkisofs-command there is no mention of a bootloader that has to be integrated into the image to boot from it.
Second, you need a better understanding of your system's partitions. sda1 is only your boot partition, not the system partition, your whole system, except the bootloader, is on sda2. They can't be simply merged.
The simplest solution would be a fresh install from your Windows-install-disc. But be aware that there be legal implications with using a single Windows license on a physical and a virtual machine.
Thanks guys. I suspected I was going down a road with a dead end. I had read a few things that hinted at this not working and the licensing problem. Probably why I could not find anything explaining how to do this. I have been told about a special migration utility on the VMWare web site to do this, but even if that works, there is the licensing issue. It is amazing to me why Microsoft with all the Windows problems over the years does not see the value in allowing users of a single machine to run Windows 7 on different VMs. This would prevent one user from screwing the whole machhine up for the other users. And what's the difference anyway. Each user of one machine (like in my household) is not going to each pay a fee to use the same bloody computer. Just one more frustration that will ultimately push me to Apple.
It is amazing to me why Microsoft with all the Windows problems over the years does not see the value in allowing users of a single machine to run Windows 7 on different VMs. This would prevent one user from screwing the whole machhine up for the other users.
Simple answer, they make money with it. By the way, as far as I know it is version dependent if you are allowed to use it in a VM and on a physical computer. I believe that from Professional upwards you are allowed to do it with exactly one VM.
Just one more frustration that will ultimately push me to Apple.
That would not be better. As far as I understand you are only allowed to run MacOS X on an machine with Apple brand. So you would need a VM with Apple's logo.
Well, I would just say the the MacOS has a reputation that can't be denied. Maybe not perfect, but damn close.
Yes the licensing issue must be addressed and I'm looking into that. Maybe there is some soultion from Microsoft that is not as ridiculous as buying multiple full versions of Win7.
As for your comment on version dependence and running one VM, I think you are referring to XP VM capability that comes with Win7 professional and above. But you can add this XP capability using a VM to Win7 home edition for free (download and install Virtual PC 2007), but I donít want XP on a VM, I want Win7 on multiple VMs.
As for your comment on version dependence and running one VM, I think you are referring to XP VM capability that comes with Win7 professional and above.
You are right, I have confused that, from the Windows 7 Ultimate EULA:
d. Use with Virtualization Technologies. Instead of using the software directly on the licensed computer, you may install and use the software within only one virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed computer.
i read all the posts that say it's a bad thing and you can't install it .
but no one ever mentioned dd.
try something like ... dd of=/dev/sda if=dev/sdbX/myiso.iso
If you have read all the posts, you should know that if=dev/sdbX/myiso.iso is 1. the wrong path (/dev instead of dev) 2. not mounted, what means that you can't simply put a file on it. But that may work, but will not solve the legal issues. Besides that, this type of migration will be noticed by the Windows-system, and it has to be activated again. Easiest and best way to run Windows in a VM is to just install it.
The issue for me at this point really isn't about creating an image of sda1 or sda2 as that can be done once correcting for my many errors. The issue is that even with the ISO image, there is no way to use the image to install Win7 on the VM. Only way as mentioned here and on the ubuntu forum is to install Win7 from install disks on the VM. Something like Parallels Desktop 4 for Windows would work well to do that. I have looked at the special migration utility on the VMWare web site, but that looks like it's for migrating Windows XP to Win7 and for use at the enterprise level. So my question now is if I install Win7 on multiple VMs from install disks, setting aside the licensing issue for a moment which I will address with Microsoft, will this work? I see now reason why one can't run Win7 on multiple VMs on the same machine. Certainly this is being done all the time and done simultaneously from a server. In may case only one VM at a time will be used. Again, for me, it's all about isolating one user from another on the same machine.
It should be no problem to run many instances of Windows 7 in virtual machines. May I ask why you want to run them on Windows as host? Why not a bare-bones Linux system, with a minimal WM as host, and then your virtual machines in Virtualbox? It is free and should do the job fine. At least the trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise runs fine in them. If you use the PUEL version of Virtualbox (free for personal use), you should get all what you need.