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I'm running a Linux Mint 12 virtual machine in Virtualbox. I would like to move it into a dual-boot setup with my Windows 7 installation. I have lot of settings in there, and apps installed, and my research says that I cannot just copy files.

I guess I could accomplish this by having some kind of list that I could then import for apt-get to install, and then have a back-up of my ~/ files... Am I on the right track, or totally lost?

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So you want to take the virtual system and make it a physical system? Or do I misunderstand? –  uther Jul 8 '12 at 14:17
    
Yes, that is what I'm looking for –  TSC Jul 8 '12 at 14:21
    
This AskUbuntu Q&A is also a possibility: askubuntu.com/questions/32499/… –  slm Nov 25 '13 at 3:26
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3 Answers

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I think you're on the right track. If I was in your position, this is how I'd tackle it:

Do a new install of Linux Mint 13, now that it's out. Hopefully it can manage repartitioning your disk and shrinking your existing NTFS partition non-destructively, but usually it's much safer and easier to simply install to a clean disk.

Learn to use aptitude, should let you reinstall all your apps pretty quick. If it wasn't installed via apt-get, then it's probably sitting in /usr/local/ or /opt/

Install virtualbox on LM13 so you can run your old LM12 install. Then just use rsync to migrate your files and directories over. If you haven't installed many services, there probably isn't that much you need to do beyond bringing over your home directory.

Sure, this seems like it could be a bit messy, but I've pretty much carried my same /home directory for 10 years through at least 3 distros of Linux. Data migration is actually pretty easy, there aren't any user settings buried in some registry or somewhere else on the filesystem. It can be a bit more work migrating services, but even then the files to migrate would be limited to the /etc and /var directories.

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I have personally never successfully performed a Virtual to Physical (V2P) conversion. However, there are some guidelines and several third party tools that can help with this process.

I suggest beginning with the guidelines provided by VMware.

This answer on SE SuperUser discusses a method specific to VirtualBox and the possibilities for success and failure.

My guess is this will be a worthwhile exercise. However, the part that concerns me is making your current physical system 'dual-boot'. If you have not already partitioned your hard drive to be dual-boot, things could get very ugly, very quickly. My suggestion would be to use the Linux Mint installer to create a dual-boot boot loader and partition, and then try to image your virtual disk onto the newly created area.

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The guidelines at VMware only apply to Windows guest OSes, not linux, which is what TSC needs. –  hobs Feb 10 at 23:56
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Use dd and Get the partitons on a external hdd or pendrive. Use a live gparted cd to resize your windows. Create relevant partitions and restore them. Edit relevant files fstab etc. Reinstall grub. You shld be done :)

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