Running Windows inside Linux, and simultaneously ?

I didn’t even know it was possible!

Of course the issue remains as to why you’d want to do it, but I think I do want to. It’s partly security, partly running Linux because it ain’t Windows, which I do want to do (using Windows only for those programmes that aren’t supported in Linux, like the whole Macromedia range) and partly stability, although I’ll concede Windows is a lot better now.

My questions;

Has anyone ever tried this out and what is your experience/opinion, and

Does the theory sound reasonable to OS geeks (I’m just a little wary as I haven’t heard of this option before) ?

This is interesting . . .

It’s quite possible! One reason is for development and support of multiple operating systems without having multiple boxes or the need to boot between multiple OSs on a single machine. Here’s another similar product that functions on both Windows and Linux:

Never really used it, but it’s been around for a while; at one point it was free.

VMWare works exceptionally well under Linux. I ran it for a month until the demo expired. It’s expensive enough, though, that I don’t bother. I haven’t tried Win4Lin – no demo appears to be available.

One of the biggest differences between Win4Lin and VMWare is that VMWare is a “complete” virtual machine (“VM”). It will run in x86-based OS and supports all x86 instructions. Win4Lin can’t access some of the real mode x86 instructions and thus us limited to Win9x series operating systems. This means VMWare can run Linux, NT, 2000, and XP, but Win4Lin cannot. It may or may not matter to you.

Running a VM, though, means that the “guest” operating system (the one running in the VM) is not running on the “real” computer. Your nVidia card isn’t an nVidia car in the VM – it’s the virtual video card the the VM provides. And so on with the rest of the hardware. Luckily, though VMWare emulates common hardware that generally doesn’t need additional drivers – the standard Windows-supplied drivers work.

In your case, Win4Lin or VMWare would be good choices for Macromedia work, but I wouln’t recommend them for 3D games.

Oh, another neat thing about VMWare is that if you’re not running XP, you can use the “hardware profiles” feature of Windows to run your normally-installed-on-its-own-partition Windows inside the VM. This means you can boot right into Windows after startup, or boot into the same Windows via the VM. Remember, though, that direct boot will give you your “real” hardware, and the VM boot will give you the virtual hardware. The reason this won’t work on XP is because it’s license is tied to the hardware. I haven’t tried the corporate version, though – anyone know if it’s as closely tied to the hardware? It may indeed dual boot.

Thanks for the input, guys,

Thanks for the link to VMWare ptr and for citing your experience Balthisar. Incidently, you may be interested in knowing the current version of VMWare is currently around $129 on ebay – just letting you know.

I was trying to understand the difference between the two but Balthisar pined it down. The ‘virtual’ machine thing seems to be the key – and, yep, it does matter as I’m on Win2000. They also have a quite helpful Flash demonstration on the VM site.

Thanks again fro the clear explanation.