Can I boot up a virtual machine natively?

My question is:

Is is possible to run a virtual machine natively on your hardware if you have installed the proper drivers etc? In other words, can I use a VHD as a regular hard drive to boot from?

The reason I want to do this is that I do both graphics-intensive and audio-intensive work, but my computer is not powerful enough to handle both at the same time and many times I install a bunch of audio programs that I don’t want affecting the stability of my graphics programs. Basically I wanted to have sandboxing between the two sets of applications. So I tried running the graphics-intensive programs in a VirtualBox VM and the audio-intensive work natively (simply because it’s a pain to route ASIO audio devices in/out of VirtualBox). This kind-of works – the graphics-intensive stuff is tolerable, but still relatively slow, because it’s running inside a VM.

So my next idea was to just dual-boot and install the graphics and audio programs in separate partitions but I frequently use them in tandem, so it wouldn’t be practical to reboot my machine every time I need to use the other set of programs.

But I could live with this scenario: If I need to do more audio-intensive stuff, I’ll just boot up to the audio partition and run the graphics programs in a VM, and then when I’m working heavily on the graphics part, I’ll just boot the graphics partition as a regular OS directly on the hardware.

Is this possible? For example by booting up a VHD as a regular hard drive? Or by setting up dual-boot, and every time the audio partition is shut down, synchronize the graphics VM VHD with the native graphics partition? Is it practical, given the above scenario?

And if it’s not possible, barring buying another computer, can anyone suggest a best-of-all-worlds setup (the two worlds being performance, sandboxing, and running in parallel) for the above scenario? Thanks in advance.


This is possible with Windows 7 and up, if you are using MS VHDs. It may be limited to Pro & Enterprise versions, but it might not.

Here is an article explaining how to do it in Win 7 and Server 2008.
And here is an article for Win 8 and Server 2012.

Source : Link , Question Author : Anshul , Answer Author : Community

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