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Using the Same Operating System in a Virtual Machine and on the Host Computer

You may sometimes want to run an operating system inside a virtual machine and at other times want to run that same installation of the operating system by booting the host computer directly into that operating system. If you want to use this approach, you must be aware of some special considerations

The issues arise because the virtual hardware that the operating system sees when it is running in a virtual machine is different from the physical hardware it sees when it is running directly on the host computer. It is as if you were removing the boot drive from one physical computer and running the operating system installed there in a second computer with a different motherboard, video card and other peripherals — then moving it back and forth between the two systems.

The general approach for resolving these issues is to set up profiles for each of the two operating environments — the virtual machine and the physical computer. You can then choose the appropriate profile when you start the operating system. On some hardware, however, booting a previously installed operating system within a virtual machine may not work.

Technical notes in this section document the issues most commonly encountered with various guest operating systems. Read the notes that apply to your guest operating system before you begin to set up your virtual machine.

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