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Thread: Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

  1. #1
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    Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

    I want to run some linux distro from a USB drive inside of windows, with out rebooting, and/or making changes to the BIOS. I have spent hours and hours all over the internet looking. I have not been able to find out how to do this. I have tried several walkthroughs, for QEMU, Virtual Box Portable, and while very handy, they are out of date.

    Basically a virtualized container on a USB drive, that does not require admin privileges in windows. Once done, I close the or remove the USB drive, and I am done. I would like this USB drive to have persistent data.

    I am posting this here As I have no idea where else to go.

  2. #2
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    Re: Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

    Any virtualization software can do that and the actual VM can be anywhere including a removable USB drive thus making it portable.

  3. #3
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    Re: Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

    Seems like a Windows limitation in your situation. Any Unix-based host would have the same issue.

    A hypervisor will need root/administrator access, so those are out. You said you tried QEMU, which I've used before, but I don't think network settings on the host computer can be configured in either NAT or bridge modes, so having a running Linux, without any networking would be nearly useless.

    I don't see how it would be possible.

    Another alternative would be to setup a tiny Linux VPS and use the internet to connect to it from Windows. Then you could use the built-in ssh subsystem on Window10 or some "portable" ssh terminal, like putty. Short of that working, the networking aspects, which need admin rights to modify, just don't work otherwise.

  4. #4
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    Re: Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

    If Microsoft Hyper-V is installed on your computer, VirtualBox, QEMU or any other good virtualization software will not work.

    I did not have good luck with Virtual Box Portable, it disabled my installed version of VBox every time I used it.

  5. #5
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    Re: Running Linux from USB drive inside of windows

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    If Microsoft Hyper-V is installed on your computer, VirtualBox, QEMU or any other good virtualization software will not work.

    I did not have good luck with Virtual Box Portable, it disabled my installed version of VBox every time I used it.
    Only one hypervisor can have exclusive control (mandatory) of the VT-x/AMV-v CPU extensions at a time. For most people, this means only 1 can be installed at a time.

    QEMU doesn't use those CPU hardware extensions. It does the CPU/machine spoofing in software, so we can run QEMU (not KVM-QEMU) just fine. It is slower, however. Much slower. But if you need to emulate a MIPS CPU on intel or AMD hardware, it is the only way.

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