I decided to fiddle. Of course i did, I was getting bored of everything working well.
I swapped my graphics hardware around in an attempt to make the GTX 760 available to my VMs. I was surprised and disappointed that Xubuntu threw it's dollies out of the pram, it absolutely refused to create an X screen and present a graphical environment. At one point I thought I'd get cocky and simply strip out Xorg and Xfce4, then try to reinstall the proprietary driver for my GTX 750 Ti. It actually proved quicker and less frustrating to simply reinstall Xubuntu, so I'm grateful again, that my documents, music and all other data is safely networked.
The Windows VMs were not impressed as I completed expected. I admit it, I gave up trying to reinstall the proprietary Nvidia drivers and rebuilt a VM. At one point I was tired and fed up and seriously wondering if the problem was hardware related. The 368.22 Nvidia drivers would install, request a reboot, load, I would log in and then Device Manager would step in remove the drivers, blank the screen, install Standard VGA drivers and stick two fingers up at me. Every time. With one VM I managed to get 355 drivers installed but foolishly tried to update and you just know rolling back was then not an option.
It was the Linux proprietary driver issue that really had me annoyed. It really felt like I'd gone back in time a decade, Debian would not accept Nvidia drivers. I tried those in the APT software channel, the Nvidia installer and even tried hammering them in with usually bulletproof smxi scripts. I knew two graphics cards couldn't have gone south (or it was very unlikely, we've all seen massive and unexpected mass hardware fails). The GTX 760 had worked well as the Host Linux card and the 750 Ti as the Guest Windows workhorse.
I'm very disappointed to have had to rebuilt Xubuntu, but even more disappointed that Debian nudged me down that road. I know I could've fixed it but you have to ask yourself "What do I gain compared to the time I am wasting?" and the ratio wasn't positive. Xubuntu rebuilt like a charm and there were no issue installing fresh drivers for the new card. Bizarrely, despite all expectation the Windows rebuild went well too. I guess the old adage remains true, when in doubt rebuild.
Grasping the nettle and rebuilding against new hardware offered me an opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for some time. I deleted my static Windows 7 partition and it's complimentary data drive recovering valuable storage. Then I backed up all my (not very much to be fair) locally stored data files and then began removing Linux partitions until I could delete the extended and Linux swap partitions and clear down the drive. That felt good, a proper PC spring clean.
I failed to get Debian to correctly blacklist my guest GPU and while trying to install proprietary drivers for host I borked the install. I was smiling broadly when antiX MX-15 (the Mepis / antiX cross) obliged and both blacklisted and installed Nvidia drivers without complaint or problems. It booted up my Windows 7 to system recovery only. I did a system restore on the VM but it simply wouldn't run properly in MX-15. So I put it to one side and began moving forward.
With the VM booting it suggested that most if not all the requisite QEMU/KVM components were installed. So I built a VM, a Windows 10 VM. It's early days, but the VM runs flawlessly in MX-15 where it was built and in Xubuntu. This suggests to me something in Ubuntu-built VMs that's distro specific and an obstacle to portability, so no more 'buntu-builds for me, I'm dumping the distro (again). I'm going to play with Debian a lot more and test drive openSUSE and Fedora virtualisation. I suspect because of Red Hat's input into the whole of virtualisation technology that Fedora with be rock solid, but I've always had a soft spot for openSUSE, even though I really can't love the, very good, KDE environment.
Despite all expectation the Windows 10 VM appears to be much more stable than the Windows 7 one(s). I don't love the 10 interface, but neither do I hate it like I do 8 and to a lesser extent 8.1. For stability and gaming ease, it installed it's own Nvidia GTX 760 drivers (hallelujah) I shall be sticking with a virtualised 10 (until big games companies wake up and start coding for my platform of choice).
...works in the IT industry.