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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
GreenEU
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Dual boot v Virtualbox


I've just bought a Dell inspiron 1545, as I need the 500Gb HDD, and one of the first things I did was tried out Linux (Mint Gloria) on it. I'm really satisfied with Linux and would prefer to turn over the whole machine to it, but I need to keep Windows (I'm running Vista, but plan to move to Win 7). The need arises because I can't find a way to get Linux to recognise my Lexmark wireless printer, and because I design websites and need access to a variety of browsers, including IE, Safari and Google Chrome, none of which currently supply (AFAIK) a Linux version.

So... I've looked at the descriptions of Virtualbox and Winedoors and I like the idea of being able to run both systems at the same time, and just switch applications. But would doing that be more trouble (given my lack of experience in programming) than it's worth? Would reformatting the C drive cause issues?

Even if dual boot is the simpler option, can anyone suggest how I shrink a bloated C drive? It's currently taking 250Gb and refuses to shrink, though I've tried it in Vista's disk management, GPartition and even DOS (yeah, I'm really rusty in DOS, so I might have tried that as efficiently as I could).

sorry for so many questions in one post, but it basically comes down to the perceived need for Windows and my irritation at the volume it's taking on the C drive.
 
Old 09-23-2009, 12:36 PM   #2
catkin
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VirtualBox is easy to install and set up. It has very good documentation. No programming skills needed, just a little systems administration knowledge.

You would need to re-install Windows into the VirtualBox-provided virtual machine; it s not possible to run your existing Windows installation within the virtual machine because the virtual hardware is different and Windows in the virtual machine has to be presented with a virtual HDD; your existing Windows installation is in a partition.

In theory it might be possible to partition the virtual machine's HDD and image your existing Windows partition into it then hope Windows was able to adapt to the new hardware it finds itself running on -- but many have tried and I know of no success stories.

If you do try VirtualBox then it may be better to install the latest 2.x version. I am running 3.0.3 and the networking is not stable. The latest 2.x was very stable.

Guest Additions are essential for sweet integration so it's a good idea to install them straight after installing Windows.
 
Old 09-23-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
GreenEU
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Any ideas about the C drive issue?
 
Old 09-23-2009, 02:45 PM   #4
brianL
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I don't know about Vista, but in XP if you can't shrink the partition it's because the page file is in the way. So it's best to disable it, reboot, defrag, then try shrinking the partition.
 
Old 09-23-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
GreenEU
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Brian, I'm not a developer. Can you help with simple instructions on how I might do that?
 
Old 09-23-2009, 03:31 PM   #6
brianL
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I'm not a developer, either. It's not difficult, but I'm not sure if the procedure is the same for Vista as XP. There are some Vista users on these forums, one of them will have more idea.
 
Old 09-23-2009, 03:35 PM   #7
GreenEU
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Thanks.

it's years since I did this sort of stuff, but I have now managed to locate the page file, and am currently cleaning the system.

Thanks again.
 
Old 09-23-2009, 03:41 PM   #8
EricTRA
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Hello,

I had Vista installed on another laptop of mine with VMWare Server on it (the free edition version 1) and it worked like a charm. I never did shrink the C: drive under Vista. About two months ago I upgraded to Windows 7 and VMWare Server caused me a lot of problems (along with other Windoze stuff of course) so I shrunk the 150Gb drive to 40Gb for Windows, created a partition to hold my data (80Gb) and installed Ubuntu without any problems in dual boot with Windows 7.

So in short, Vista works with VMWare Server, Windows 7 troublesome. If you want to upgrade to Windows 7, which is in my opinion an improvement, you'd be able to shrink and make a dualboot laptop.

Kind regards,

Eric
 
Old 09-24-2009, 11:12 AM   #9
catkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catkin View Post
You would need to re-install Windows into the VirtualBox-provided virtual machine; it s not possible to run your existing Windows installation within the virtual machine because the virtual hardware is different and Windows in the virtual machine has to be presented with a virtual HDD; your existing Windows installation is in a partition.

In theory it might be possible to partition the virtual machine's HDD and image your existing Windows partition into it then hope Windows was able to adapt to the new hardware it finds itself running on -- but many have tried and I know of no success stories.
Maybe it is possible! There's a procedure for doing it on www.virtualbox.org
 
Old 09-26-2009, 07:17 AM   #10
GreenEU
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Thanks to all of you who contributed. I finally found a good piece of freeware that will shrink a Vista OS volume without jumping through hoops. I was getting to the point of thinking I'd have to let Vista have the whole drive and use a VM to run Linux, but I hate MS governing how I use my machine!

Now the dual boot seems to run fine, I'm off to explore that last link to see if I can directly clone the existing Vista into a VM.

it's years since I played so much with OSs and it's a fun challenge.
 
Old 10-01-2009, 03:27 AM   #11
timbo43
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Smile VM vs. dualboot

My desktop runs mostly Ubuntu, but I've kept the option to dual-boot into Vista, which was installed when I bought it. I need to run Windows occasionally for a couple of old apps and for some Delphi development.

I still use the Vista dual-boot very occasionally, but mostly I find it much simpler to use a VM running XP which I installed using VirtualBox. This is easy to use and with the Guest Additions it's totally integrated, behaving just like another Linux window.

Best wishes,

Tim.
 
  


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