The computer currently triple boots Ubuntu and a couple of Windows versions. Now I want to add Xen into the mix.

Would it work if I simply made a new partition for Xen, or does it need to take over the entire system?

Alternatively, is there a way to bring my existing OS's inside of Xen (and run them together), so to say?

In case I can't boot into the already installed OS's (together) under Xen, I'll settle for a multi-boot system (2 Windows + Ubuntu + Xen/XenServer) without destroying anything. Then I can do what I want after booting into Xen/XenServer. I'm ambivalent between Xen (with Ubuntu as dom0) and XenServer (with CentOS), as long as they do what I want (multi-boot).

  • By Xen do you mean running a Xen dom0 on your existing Ubuntu installation or running a new installation of XenServer?
    – mjturner
    Jul 15, 2015 at 10:35
  • XenServer actually I think. For Xen, I just need to install the components into the kernel (in case they aren't there already). Not having done this before, I am not entirely sure which option (Xen vs XenServer) will let me use the current OS's under the virtualized platform.
    – ahron
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:39
  • On further thought, I don't think I can boot the already installed OS's under Xen. I'd be happy to be corrected on this one but in case my suspicion is correct, I'll settle for a multi-boot system (2 Windows + Ubuntu + Xen/XenServer) without destroying anything. At the moment grub has basically two options - Windows and Linux. On selecting Windows, I get the further choice from among the 2 Windows systems.
    – ahron
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


It is possible to run Xen alongside other OSes. It would be just another boot option. Xen is usually installed on an ordinary OS to become a control OS called a Dom0. If you choose, a Dom0 can be your Ubuntu. Or it can be a separate installation on another partition, that is, another OS like Ubuntu with Xen on it in your system depending on your choice.

To have Xen run your other OSes within it, perhaps look into imaging those previous installations and installing and running them as virtual machines. Windows may not like it being picky.

Some research is due.


To add, there seems to be XenConvert which which seems to convert existing installations into VMs https://www.citrix.com/go/products/xenserver/xenserver-xenconvert-free.html

As an example, maybe use XenConvert to convert an existing physical installation to VHD then use VirtualBox to convert to VDI then convert (using VirtualBox's tool VBoxManage) to a Xen VM image.

Some instructions here: https://www.serverstack.com/blog/2012/11/20/converting-virtualbox-vm-to-a-xen-hypervisor-virtual-machine/

An advantage here is that VirtualBox could be used to see if the conversion worked correctly.

More space than the size of the physical installations' partitions concerned would likely be needed. If there is a 100 GB to convert, then space of at least 200GB and a bit more would likely be needed to copy and convert.

The process might be somewhat technical though: http://www.ioncannon.net/system-administration/80/how-to-transfer-linux-from-virtualbox-to-xen/

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