[sclug] vmware using existing XP installation

John Stumbles john at stumbles.org.uk
Sat Nov 25 18:06:16 UTC 2006

John Stumbles wrote:
> I've just got a new box with XP Ho' installed on it. I want to run 
> linux[1] on the box, but for various reasons I'd like to be able to run 
> a 'real' windoze on it at the same time. AIUI vmware seems to be the 
> business but it (vmware workstation, at least) seems to want you to 
> install a fresh copy of windows into its virtual machine.

(I subsequently explained that I didn't have a real XP installation 
disk, just the recovery disk that came with the machine).

> Am I missing something? Can't I just have it boot up the
> already-installed XP installation?

To which the answer was no, but I managed to get a virtual XP running 
from the resources I already had, like so:

Creating a new virtual machine one can boot knoppix in the VM.
Then one can get an image of an existing partition from the host 
system's real disk onto the guest's virtual one by doing
ssh root@{host_ip} dd if=/dev/{real_partition} | dd \ 

(I did try netcat first but this didn't want to play, and ssh worked.)

One needs to fdisk the virtual disk to create a new partition matching 
the real one to be cloned first.

I could probably have cloned the original XP NTFS partition this way, 
and maybe fixed up the MBR using something. That would probably have 
been better. What I actually did was clone the original installation's 
recovery partition (actually both the original non-NTFS partitions, but 
just the hidden one would probably have done) and ran the recovery disk 
I got with the machine.

Hope this helps anyone else (including anyone googling for this sort of 

John Stumbles

More information about the Sclug mailing list