Computers & Mobile
Running Linux on Windows Like Normal Programs

Sc73 Using a small Linux distro like Puppy Linux and open source emulator like QEMU,it is possible to run and stop Linux like normal windows programs. By creating virtual hard disks and using software like WinImage you can actually transfer data between Linux and Window. You can also create a virtual network between Windows and the guest OS for sharing and transferring files. And not to forget SAMBA in this context. Link.

24 thoughts on “Running Linux on Windows Like Normal Programs

  1. I know this is slightly off-topic (topic being Linux on QEMU), but I have been using the venerable Cygwin distribution for a couple years to do most of the things you mention in this post, and without having to create virtual hard disks or networks. “My Documents” becomes your Linux home directory, all your network shares are available, and there is full clipboard support.

    If nothing else, Cygwin is a great way to get a free X11 server for Win32. If you don’t need full emulation, check it out. Warning, their website is a little scary…

  2. Agreed with the other poster: Cygwin is pretty handy. I use it at work to manage CVS and have access to all the handy UNIX tools like awk and sed. Cygwin is really great if you want UNIX functionality on Windows. The graphical stuff isn’t exactly good, though.

  3. At times I get confused with Cygwin and Mingw/Msys.I have worked with Mingw.It provides a shell,GCC,Make and many Unix utilities (ls,cat….).I think many more can be compiled with Mingw or are available as download.

    What is major difference between Cygwin and Mingw. Is Cygwin completely open source. Can I download it without going through the
    web setup ?

  4. Big deal….you can use a much better virtual machine called VMWare (www.vmware.com). It let’s you run not only any distro of linux, but any OS that runs on your platform. I have Red Hat linux, Windows XP and Windows 2000 all running on the same machine at the same time using different IPs on my network.

  5. Just a few comments:

    • vmware is commercial sw
    • cygwin is open source, it uses its own network installer (setup.exe, downloadable from cygwin web site), but you can download without installing and then transfer files to the target machine and do a local install.
    • I’ve tried the X11 server that comes with cygwin but it crashed frequently on my Win2000 PC with dual display. Other (both commercial and open source) X11 servers did the same. In the end I had to buy a commercial product which is quite expensive but very stable (never crashed up to now, and I use it a lot).
  6. Cygwin is a development and user environment that lets you compile Linux applications for Windows. We’re talking about a system that maps Linux kernel API calls to Windows kernel/WINAPI calls. There’s no emulation here, this has nothing to do with MinGW or QEMU.

    MinGW is a native port of GCC and some handy Unix utils, and unlike other ports of GCC, this is setup to link against the Microsoft C runtime DLL’s which come with every version of windows. It makes the executables smaller and more compatible, it has nothing to do with QEMU or Cygwin.

    Now I don’t know a lot about hardware emulators, but QEMU appears to be hardware (read CPU) emulation allowing the whole of another operating system to run on top of another (yes exactly like VMWARE). I tried it out and it was pretty fantastic. Most of you people commenting don’t seem to have the first clue as to what this thing really does, so I’d suggest you take a step back and do a little research before babeling.

  7. pwtenny is right. QEMU is a lightweight emulator . VMWARE and MSVPC are comercial products.They are bulky.Performance wise they may be much better ,though.Another Open Source emulator is Bochs bochs.sourceforge.net.But it is slow ..really slow.

    Basically you can run any OS on these Emulators.But I wanted a OS that was so small that it could be run on a PC with modest configuration.I think Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux are perfect for this task, in my opinion.

  8. I’ve been using “Cooperative Linux” aka coLinux to run Linux in windows for years. Seems to follow a similar model. I also use VM Ware but for running Linux coLinux seems a little snappier.

    A benefit to VM Ware for running Linux is its snapshot feature so that you can take a working virtual machine, make changes and fiddle, then revert back to your snapshot. It also has good graphics support if you install the vmware tools.

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