Install Windows 7 or 8 in a virtual machine with full graphics acceleration for games, etc.

  7 years ago

Many Linux users will have a need for Windows. Some use it to play their favorite game(s), others need it to run business software. In my case, Adobe refuses to issue Linux releases for Photoshop and Lightroom, and NEC Europe didn't bother to sell me their Linux version of the screen calibration software. Requiring these professional tools means that I need a Windows installation with direct access to my graphics card (no emulated graphics card).

Up until recently I ran a dual-boot Linux/Windows setup. I hated it. As a long-time Linux user it's so humiliating having to boot Windows (without being able to click it away when not needed). But VirtualBox and similar solutions weren't up to the task. Then I read about people who successfully installed Windows on a Xen hypervisor, but this time with full graphics acceleration using native Windows drivers. I was going to build a new PC anyway, so I decided to make the hardware compliant with the special requirements and give it a try.

The tutorial linked at the bottom is the summary of many hours spent on trying different hardware, Linux distros, and approaches to make it finally work. While the tutorial is written for LM 13/14, it should work very similar in Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based systems. Here a summary of the steps involved:

1. Install and configure Linux Mint running on a Xen hypervisor;

2. Prepare the computer for PCI / VGA passthrough to allow a guest OS to have direct access to the hardware;

3. Install Windows as a virtual machine (VM);

4. Install graphics driver under Windows, as well as other GPLPV drivers to optimize performance.

The tutorial is meant for people who are already familiar with Linux. Moreover, in order to successfully install Windows with VGA passthrough, there are a number of hardware requirements that are specified in the tutorial.

The tutorial can be found on the Linux Mint forum here:

ack0329 6 years ago

I hope the tutorial is straight forward - thanks

powerhouse 8 years ago

Thanks telcnas. I haven't been around here for a while. Hope the tutorial works for you.

telcnas 8 years ago

well this tutorials looks awesome to me....even though I didn't go through it completely as it is quite huge.....but surely I'm going to try this one in next coming week........