Boot a Live linux VM from within a Windows VM - no need to create a separate VMor 2nd lvl one


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Hi folks
for those who want to try a Linux Live Distro can actually do it from within a Windows VM -- If Windows boots then the "Virtual hardware" is more than sufficient for a Linux live distro.

All you have to do is ensure that the VM can boot from a bootable USB device. So attach the USB as a physical device to the VM. It doesn't always work by booting an ISO image (for reasons I dont understand - maybe those wiser and more experienced with messing around with boot records might have the answer).

Doing it this way saves creating another VM -- your Windows virtual disks won't be touched. (unless you do something totally bonkers).

In the boot for the Windows VM (it normally runs W11 Pro Canary edition - hardware not changed)


And the OS loaded :


This saves lots of time if you just want to boot various OS'es etc without the hassle of creating loads of VM's. The main thing is if Windows boots in a VM then any Linux will be able to run nf that "Virtual hardware".

Note the USB drive must have been created on physical hardware and attached as a physical device. You can leave on secure boot etc.

Probably a lot of people will know this already but theres always a few just starting with Virtual machines --which are really so useful these days and who might not realise this.

If you want to be really smart you can attach another physical USB drive and install from the live distro to a bootable physical external running system -- all while leaving your main Windows or other host running so no need to stop "Normal operations".

You can even do a Physical Windows install this way - attach physical external disk for a Wintogo type of system or internal device for another Windows install. It will take longer but saves all that time when you can't use the computer while Windows is installing / performing updates on install. Boot the Windows install USB from the USB device and proceed just as if on your main host. vhdx installs also work via dism.exe etc.

I always install new Physical Windows builds this way - means I can keep working while Windows is installing -- it will take longer though but not hideously lomger given the power these days of modern hardware. and the efficiency of modern Hypervisors particularly KVM and HYPER-V.

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