From dual boot to virtual machine with Ubuntu and Windows

I just shut down my dual boot by reformatting the Linux partition and running Ubuntu in a virtual machine instead. This is the walkthrough:

1.) Reformat the Linux partition to NTFS with the Windows partitioner tool (don’t forget to backup any important work first!).
2.) Restart with your windows cd and use the repair tool by using the ‘R’ option. Use the commands ‘fixboot’ and ‘fixmbr’ with no options to get rid of the GRUB dual boot.
3.) Install VMWare workstation.
4.) Create a virtual machine with the default options, choose the “use host network settings and ip” option when you are in the networking section of the wizard.
5.) Insert your Ubuntu CD and VMWare should just take it from there, install like normal with default values.
6.) Now we need the VMWare tools to work and unfortunately it’s an RPM package. Don’t use Alien to try and convert it, I did and it didn’t work for me. What did work however is the how-to Geek tutorial. These are the commands in case that page disappears:

sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
cp /cdrom/*.gz /tmp/
cd /tmp
tar xvzf VM*.gz
cd vmware*
sudo ./

7.) Reboot the virtual machine and select your wanted resolution, I selected 1440×900 which is the resolution of my ViewSonic screen.
8.) Go fullscreen in your selected monitor and be relieved that that takes care of the annoying ctrl+alt command to release the cursor.

9.) Optional:
To get rid of the annoying sudo:

$ sudo su
# passwd

And then when you are about to do a lot of SU stuff:

$ su

10.) Optional:
To run nautilus as root via Applications -> System Tools:

Check the RyuKent tutorial.

These are the commands in case that page disappears:

gksudo gedit /usr/share/applications/Nautilus-root.desktop

Add this to the file:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=File Browser (Root)
Comment=Browse the filesystem with the file manager
Exec=gksudo "nautilus --browser %U"

Save, and voila!

I must say that the virtual machine works remarkably well, it is slower of course but it’s really nice to be able to do stuff in Linux without having to reboot. And with a dual screen setup it’s even nicer, it’s like having two machines for the price of one extra screen.

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