Raw disk access for virtual machine on Windows 7 host

I have been doing a lot of reading about running Windows Home Server as a virtual machine and I would prefer to give the VM raw disk access rather than using a virtual disk.
Most of my reading has been related to VMware and it does not seem to work too smoothly and it requires a number of workarounds to get it to work.

Are there any other virtualization programs that will run on a Windows 7 host and allow raw disk access for the virtual machine?
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yankees9920Asked:
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TyBeattyCommented:
To the best of my knowledge there is no good way to allow RAW disk access within Win 7.  The idea behind Virtual sort of leans away from it even though there are instances where it would be nice.

Unfortunately you are most likely going to have to use VM Workstation and a bunch of unreliable workarounds or use Vert Disks.

Why not just use a Virutal disk?  You can actaully have a specific disk that you only have configured for that.  Nothing on it but a VHD that is the same size as the drive itself.  You could even make it fixed if you wanted to make sure nothing else used the disk.

Tyson
yankees9920Author Commented:
I believe there are size limits on the virtual disk files. So if I got a 2tb hard drive and added that to the WHS storage pool I believe I can only make 1tb virtual disks. That means I would need 2 virtual disks to fill the hard drive and this will defeat the point of WHS's duplication mode which ensures your data is safe by keeping it on multiple hard drives (as this will be seen as multiple hard drives even though it is only one).

I am also afraid of keeping all my data in these virtual hard drive files when I hear stories of them getting corrupted. It just adds an extra component to fail into the equation.
Also don't virtual disks have slower read/write speeds.
TyBeattyCommented:
Not 100% sure with VMWare.  With HyperV if you use scsi attached you can go up to 2tb, but IDE is 127Gb..   You would have to use multiple drives in your case.  

Unfortuantely I just don't know that you are going to find a good RAW disk solution that doesn't require hacks and work arounds.
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TyBeattyCommented:
The read/write times can slow down, but typically you don't see major performance problems unless you are accessing several at the same time on teh same physical disk.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I'd be all over Hyper-V if it could run on Win 7 and not just Server 2008.

The goal of this setup is to have a W7 Media Center PC with a built TV tuner on the same computer as a WHS (since they are both always on and I have a single extra PC). If it weren't for the tuners/graphics  I would just virtualize W7
TyBeattyCommented:
Yeah your in a bit of a touch spot with that one.  I just don't see how you are going to give RAW access to the disk.

You could use VMWare Workstation, that does give you the options you want to use the local HDD.  But i am not sure how it is going to work with WHS.  However, it looks like about the only option you are going to have.

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yankees9920Author Commented:
Thanks for your help. I too was unable to find any other solutions, I guess its time to think of a different configuration.
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