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Posts Tagged ‘virtualization’

Convert an existing Windows installation to a Xen guest

January 19th, 2010

I’ve been dual booting Linux and Windows for as long as I’ve run Linux on the desktop. Recently I installed Xen on Ubuntu and subsequently decided to port my old Windows bare-metal install to a Xen domU.

Running Windows as a Xen domU has several advantages, the most obvious being the ability to access Windows while running Linux. Additionally, you can take advantage of features such as domain migration, save/restore and LVM snapshots.

In this article, I’ll walk through how I converted my existing Windows XP Professional bare-metal (normal) install to a Xen guest (domU). In my setup, the Xen dom0 is running on an LVM volume on a separate physical disk from the original Windows installation. I will show you how to move the original Windows installation to a LVM logical volume. You will need a retail or volume Windows license. Xen emulates different hardware that will cause you to have to reactivate Windows. An OEM license is not allowed to move hardware. While I’d argue the physical hardware is still the same, I’m sure there is some definition that says otherwise ;). Finally, I converted a Windows XP installation, but the same procedure should work with any NTFS-based Windows installation (Vista, 7, Server 2003, Server 2008).

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Installing Xen on Ubuntu 9.10

January 16th, 2010

Recently I switched to Ubuntu as the primary operating system on my desktop machine. As part of the switch, I wanted to install Xen to virtualize some additional operating systems. Xen provides very good performance when virtualizing Linux distributions due to paravirtualization. The latest versions can also virtualize certain unmodified guest operating systems on processors that support virtualization.

In a Xen setup, the Xen hypervisor runs directly on the hardware (bare-metal). The first guest operating system (dom0) runs “on top” of Xen and has full access to the underlying hardware. Additional guests (domU) also run on top of the Xen hypervisor, but with limited access to the underlying hardware.

Converting an existing Ubuntu install to a Xen dom0 install requires installing the Xen hypervisor. In previous versions of Ubuntu this could easily be done using apt. Unfortunately no packages exist for Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). In this post I’ll describe the steps I took to install Xen from source on Karmic. If you’d rather install via binary packages you’ll need to find a third-party repository.

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