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Thread: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

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  1. #1
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    Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    This is a poorly understood subject with no apparent documentation...

    I am attempting to use Virtualbox on Windows to boot up a Wubi install of Jaunty I believe that it is possible as I have come across a smattering of posts saying it is possible and has been done. I want the flexibility of being able to boot solely into Ubuntu or Windows but still being able to call the other up as a VM without rebooting. Does anyone actually know how to accomplish this feat?

    For the record:
    Colinux & varients are not possible as I require an amd64 OS for hardware reasons.
    I spent several hours doing research but only found instructions for Ubuntu hosting a Win partition in VBox.
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=769883

    I am also open to partitioning Ubuntu separately, but would prefer to keep it as Wubi.
    I could also survive if it was VMware and not VirtualBox.
    Last edited by mbeichorn; August 6th, 2009 at 05:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    I'm not sure if what you are attempting to do is possible.

    However, this entry in the VB user manual might be of some use.
    9.10.2 Access to individual physical hard disk partitions (p135)

    I have never tried a setup like this, so try at your own risk. I don't think this would work with wubi though.

    good luck.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery - Winston Churchill

  3. #3
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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    Alright, I give up for now. I am going to do a normal install (non-wubi) and use the virtualbox rawdisk abilities. It would be nice to know how to get virtualbox to recognize the .disk file or to mount it in windows and use rawdisk from there. I am going to have to wipe and reinstall in Nov when I get a school copy of Win7 so I will use a seperate partion for now, but in general when dual-booting I prefer wubi. I hope someone comes up with an answer, after all Vbox has an OSE and wubi is open source so there should be a way to hack around the difference. (I am a lowly rocket-science student not a programmer).

  4. #4
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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    i have come across a similar idea with damn small linux and some of the concepts may be helpful.
    according to http://damnsmalllinux.org/usb.html you can boot dsl directly from a usb, or inside windows using qemu. i assume that this uses a qcow2 image since qemu uses qcow2 for virtual machine disk images. according to wikipedia's article on qcow,

    "qcow images could be mounted under linux with mount option "offset" used. E.g. to mount a first (or single) partition from qcow image You need the command mount /path/to/image.img /mount/path -o loop,offset=32256."

    you should be able to install ubuntu in a qcow2 image using qemu and run it as a vm as well as boot directly from it. this seems to me like the closest thing to using wubi.

  5. #5
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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    I really don't see any technical issue with a VirtualBox VM booting a Wubi installed Ubuntu. It would require an additional disk image that locates the ubuntu/disks directory and then loop mounts it/them and continues booting.

    The interesting part will be getting Shared Folders working so that the VM can see the host's folders... I'm going to play around with this now and will post back my results...

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    Okay, I've got it working. Getting VirtualBox drivers into initrd and then tweaking the scripts to load was a bit of challenge. I'll tidy it all up and then provide some instructions.

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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    sounds interesting.. would this work with a non wubi install as well?

  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    I'm pretty sure there are instructions out there on how to access raw disks in VirtualBox. You can use the raw disk to boot up pretty much any other "real" operating system you've got installed.

    What I've done here is create a super small virtual machine that consists of a mostly standard Ubuntu boot up, but which then uses Shared Folders to find and then mount the WUBI image.

    In most other scenarios I'm not sure you'd need to go to these lengths (e.g. boot an .iso image) as support is already there in VirtualBox. What Windows VirtualBox doesn't support (which frankly is silly) is the ability to say "this file I'm providing you with is a completely raw hard disk image... please boot it and treat it like the real thing...".

    I've got a 64-bit version working rather nicely, if anyone wants it let me know (horse_dung[at]hotmail.com) otherwise I'll wait for 10.4 to come out, make sure the approach still works and then post instructions/appliances files somewhere.

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    Re: Virtualbox to Boot Wubi inside Windows

    If a post is older than a year or so and hasn't had a new reply in that time, instead of replying to it, create a new thread. In the software world, a lot can change in a very short time, and doing things this way makes it more likely that you will find the best information. You may link to the original discussion in the new thread if you think it may be helpful.

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