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I'm planning on running Windows in a VM for the purpose of playing
some game (what else). In the past I have experienced Windows
_arbitrarily_ writing to disks which it has no business touching.
IIRC, Windows will write some BS code to a USB stick if only you
just stick it in there.
I have several encrypted partitions spanning a few disks which I'd
like if Windows didn't even know about. I can't risk Windows messing
up those partitions by scribbling some crap about how "this disk is
not yet formatted" or something right on the disk itself.
I have been googling this for a couple days, and the best I can come
up with is a couple anecdotal references about Windows writing to
the MBR of a HDD even if you don't tell it to do so.
Does anyone have experience with this or able to advise?
From my experience, you allow Windows a certain amount of disk space, within a partition, as a VM. It will not have access to anything more than that, unless specified from your Linux server, and mounted in the Windows VM.
I would say go for it, I don't believe it can harm anything.
To some degree you could expose one to the other. First is how you enable networking. It would be as any networked computer. Same degree of exposure. Second is the way VM's allow more integration with the host. They may call it vmtools or other words. That may allow direct access to folders and other ways to transfer any worm or virus.
If one were to disable the network at the construction of the machine and one were to not install tools and one had new VM support in cpu and bios it would be as secure as it could be. The last is sometimes a bios choice. It prevents or tries to prevent any execution in similar spaces. I forget what AMD calls it. Pretty sure intel has similar word.
I use VM's all the time. I consider them secure and safe if one knows how to configure them on supported hardware. I think they all warn about shared folders.
I don't use shared folders, so I don't know. Of course, if you install Windows in a VM and connect it to the Internet you should have protections like antivirus software installed on the Windows. But I don't see the point how a windows virus could damage his linux-box. And I doubt, that a Windows in a VM will see his encrypted drives or alter the MBR over the network connection, or even shared folders.
I think jefro is right there is always the chance for some exposure
depending on your configurations. For example, I will need Windows
to see the CDROM drive, and use it to install things. I don't know.
I just think I can't trust it. It's not virus or any malware I worry
about, just Windows "accidentally/incidentally" writing to hard drives
and messing up the data there by thinking it's a not-formatted HDD.
Thanks again all!
The VM for Windows can be configured without access to any of the host's file systems and without networking -- it can be set up as an isolated "sandbox". If you need to attach a CD or DVD to the VM then Windows cannot write to it unless it is writeable. If you attach a USB stick to the VM then Windows can do to the USB stick exactly what a Windows system running on real hardware can do to a USB stick.