Ask the Expert

Using VMware to toggle between XP and Linux versus migration

I have always used Windows XP Home but recently I was having problems with my computer, and the technician I hired installed Linux as well. He used a program called VMware and guaranteed me that I could use both Windows XP and Linux by "toggling" back and forth.

He is not fluent in knowledge about Linux and neither am I. I am not able to use either system now. He absolutely left me in the lurch.

I would like to dump Windows and just use Linux but:

  1. I have many critical files on windows and do not know how or even if I can somehow transfer them to Linux.
  2. I run an e-mail program called "IncrediMail" on Windows and tried to download it on the Linux side and was not able to. Linux refused to accept the download. IncrediMail is an internationally based e-mail program and also critical and necessary for my work.
  3. I need to somehow get my files off Windows XP and onto Linux.
Can you please tell me how to download the free application of IncrediMail to my Linux?

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Your problem is nasty indeed. You just want to use your desktop in an efficient way without too many problems. The VMware solution that your technician installed is actually a virtual environment within your Windows XP Home environment. The VMware-software emulates a computer so that GNU/Linux thinks it has been installed on a real computer. So by 'toggling' back and forth you actually switch computers (albeit a simulated one). For a similar solution the technician could also have looked at CoLinux or Cooperative Linux that cooperatively lets you run the two operating systems side by side.

Read the rest of Brenno's answer in this migration tip.

This was first published in October 2004

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