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Old January 6th, 2011, 11:39 PM   #29 (permalink)
mrspeedmaster
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You can run Linux with your Windows virtually in case of the rare instances you need to get back to it. I used VirtualBox.

This is how you getrid of Windows and keep it on the side in case of emergencies.....

Step 0) Uninstall any proprietary drivers for hardware (read the full steps)
Step 1) Boot into CloneZilla.
Step 2) Clone/Ghost your existing Windows setup/os/drive using CloneZilla to a FAT formatted usb drive. This will clone your machine.
You may clone to a remote Server with CloneZilla. This is what I do. I simply clone to a remote backup server.

Step 3) Format your drive or use another one.
Step 4) Install Linux
Step 5) Download VirtualBox.
Step 6) Make a Windows Guest OS with a virtual drive equivalent to your old setup.
Step 7) Boot CloneZilla inside the VirtualBox Guest OS. You will plug in your USB backup drive in the guest OS
Step 8) Restore your backup from Step2) to your Guest OS and Guest Virtual Hard Disk.
Step 9) Restart your VirtualBox and startup your Guest OS. This should be a copy of what you had before.

This way, you can run Linux full time and boot into VirtualBox to run your old Windows Apps and retrieve your old files,etc...

Now, this is not guaranteed to be perfect. You may have BSOD and have to repair your Guest OS due to hardware difference between your old setup and your new "Virtualized" backup clone of your new guest OS.
That is why I have Step 0. Remove all drivers. You may need to run Windows Repair from your original install CDs and maybe a few safe-mode reboots.

We had to unload a few old Windows Servers this way and now we have them all virtualized on newer, faster Linux host servers.
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