(I tried to post this to the VirtualBox forums but their registration page appears to be broken. And part of it may be an issue with install-mbr .)
I'm having trouble booting Windows XP from a raw vdmk partition inside VirtualBox. (I'm doing this because I still need the option of booting natively, not in a VM.) I followed the steps described on the following site, which seems to agree with what other sites/forums and section 9.10 of the VirtualBox manual say as well:
My laptop is a Lenovo T61 with 3GB RAM with WinXP Pro SP3 32-bit installed on C: and most of its data on D: . Those two correspond to sda1 and sda6 below. There's also a FAT32 partition just in case (sda5).
I left some free space next to the logical volume and installed Ubuntu 12.04.1 Desktop 32-bit using default options, so it automatically placed itself and its swap inside that logical volume (sda7 and sda8 below). I installed the latest full VirtualBox (4.1.12) in the Ubuntu host.
Setting the permissions and creating the vmdk file seemed to go smoothly, but trying to limit the VM's access to specific partitions (whether 3 partitions or just the one crucial one) didn't seem to actually work once attached to my vm. All I see upon booting is "MBR" on a black screen, indefinitely. (Each vmdk I make shows a size of 465.76GB, but I'm guessing that's fine. I get a VERR_NOT_SUPPORTED error if I try to attach one of the "-pt.vmdk" files instead, but I'm guessing those shouldn't be mapped anyway.)
(parted) print all
Model: ATA ST9500420AS (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 500GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Number Start End Size Type File system Flags
1 7774kB 57.7GB 57.7GB primary ntfs boot
2 57.7GB 500GB 442GB extended lba
7 57.7GB 80.7GB 23.0GB logical ext4
8 80.7GB 83.9GB 3199MB logical linux-swap(v1)
5 83.9GB 89.1GB 5239MB logical fat32
6 89.1GB 500GB 411GB logical ntfs
install-mbr --f ~/.VirtualBox/FAKE.mbr
If I instead give the vm access to the full disk, it starts to work. I then get a functioning GRUB boot menu, but when I select WinXP it's goes to a permanent black screen, rather than to my WinXP screen for choosing a hardware profile. I get the same stalled black screen whether I attach the vmdk to the IDE or the ATA controller (with "Use host I/O cache" checked or unchecked). I've tried with and without VT-x enabled; ditto for graphics acceleration. "Enable IO APIC" is checked, and "Enable absolute pointing device" is unchecked. Medium values selected for RAM (512MB or 1024MB) and video (64MB).
Any pointers you might have would be appreciated.
user57@tpadt61:~/.VirtualBox$ sudo chmod 666 /dev/sda
user57@tpadt61:~/.VirtualBox$ ll /dev/sd*
brw-rw-rw- 1 root disk 8, 0 Dec 9 07:02 /dev/sda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 1 Dec 9 05:41 /dev/sda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 2 Dec 9 04:36 /dev/sda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 5 Dec 9 05:41 /dev/sda5
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 6 Dec 9 05:41 /dev/sda6
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 7 Dec 9 04:36 /dev/sda7
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 8 Dec 9 04:36 /dev/sda8
user57@tpadt61:~/.VirtualBox$ VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/.VirtualBox/winxp3.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda -partitions 1,5,6 -mbr ~/.VirtualBox/FAKE.mbr
RAW host disk access VMDK file /home/user57/.VirtualBox/winxp3.vmdk created successfully.
user57@tpadt61:~/.VirtualBox$ VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/.VirtualBox/winxp1.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda -partitions 1 -mbr ~/.VirtualBox/FAKE.mbr
RAW host disk access VMDK file /home/user57/.VirtualBox/winxp1.vmdk created successfully.
user57@tpadt61:~/.VirtualBox$ VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/.VirtualBox/winxpall.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda
RAW host disk access VMDK file /home/user57/.VirtualBox/winxpall.vmdk created successfully.
compreg.dat VBoxSVC.log.10 VBoxSVC.log.5 VBoxSVC.log.9 winxp1.vmdk xpti.dat
FAKE.mbr VBoxSVC.log.2 VBoxSVC.log.6 VirtualBox.xml winxp3-pt.vmdk
VBoxSVC.log VBoxSVC.log.3 VBoxSVC.log.7 VirtualBox.xml-prev winxp3.vmdk
VBoxSVC.log.1 VBoxSVC.log.4 VBoxSVC.log.8 winxp1-pt.vmdk winxpall.vmdk