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Old 04-11-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
riffin-rich
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Linux host + VMWare + WinXP guest? Help/Thoughts please?


Hello all. I'm a total linux newb. I played with FC6 and have had F7 for over a year ... I only used them for a total of 15 hours ... I'm not at all proficient with Linux. Felt like I spent more time troubleshooting than using my system.

My situation requires that I use Windows XP Pro (particularly to access my network at work).

I'm paranoid about my system's integrity and want to format and rebuild, but while I'm at it, I want to do it right.

My thoughts: choose a very widely-used linux distro (Ubuntu or Fedora).

Then install VMWare Workstation or Parallels Workstation (I use Parallels on my Mac so I'm already familiar with it and I see that the new Parallels Workstation 2.6.23 supports Ubuntu 7.10 and Fedora 8 as primary OS and guest OSes).

Then, inside of VMWare or Parallels, install an XP Pro virtual machine ... completely configure it and save a baseline/snapshot of my installation.

This snapshot will become my baseline from which to update ...

Any suggestions? I'm thinking if I don't share environments between XP and linux, that I'll have a solid installation. Thoughts on which distro to use? I think I might be more comfortable with F8 given that's what I've played with, but I'm open to suggestions/recommendations? Guides from those who may have done this before??

Thanks so much for your time and assistance! Sincerely, Rich

Last edited by riffin-rich; 04-11-2008 at 09:10 PM.
 
Old 04-11-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
Junior Hacker
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Yes, I've done it before with Debian Lenny. Trouble is...I only have 1GB of RAM memory, which was not enough with Linux as host all dressed up nicely. Going the opposite route prove to be more practical in my situation, by using Windows as host and Debian as client. In this configuration the system's resources seem to be shared on a better balance, even when running two Linux in Vmware at the same time. Probably because I don't install all the memory demanding 3D stuff in the Linux clients like I did when they were host.
When installing Windows XP as client, your virtual hardware is not the same as your actual hardware that Windows was activated with. And because Windows product activation only allows three hardware items to change before you need to re-activate, you won't be able to activate it in Vmware.
 
Old 04-11-2008, 11:10 PM   #3
snowtigger
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Pick which ever host OS you feel comfortable with.....it has to be a Linux one of course And only enable what you really need. Think about weather you really need all that fancy eye candy stuff, a lot of it does just consume memory and cpu cycles.

Then think about what you need to do in XP, you need to remember that the guest won't have access to that fancy graphics/sound/whatsit card. You said all you need XP for is to access your work network, so as a guest on VMware it will be just fine.

As an example.
I run Slackware as the host with VMware server installed. The machine has 1Gb of ram, which is plenty as i have no eye candy or unneeded stuff running in the background. So i could have somewhere about 700Mb ram allocated to the guest OS's. And still have enough ram left to the host to accomplish just about any other task i want. But do remember that when no guests are running all the system ram is available to the host.

 
Old 04-12-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
riffin-rich
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Thank you snowtigger and junior hacker. I think I'm just going to spring for the extra memory--2GB.

My big question now is VMWare vs. Parallels? I'm already familiar with Parallels because I use it to run Win XP on my Mac ... I'm intrigued by VMWare because it seems to be the standard; however, I just can't get myself to spring for the extra cash... I'm questioning whether or not it's worth it. I'd love to know if anyone is using Parallels Workstation on their Linux host.

Junior Hacker, not sure if you'll see this, but the main reason I'm doing this is to create a very secure implementation of Windows XP. I will use XP Pro as a VM, completely configure it and save a baseline/snapshot of my installation. This snapshot will become my baseline from which to update ...
example:

Use the system for 2 months
... then revert to the baseline snapshot and run updates and re-baseline with a new snapshot.

Use the system for 2 months
... then revert to the baseline snapshot and run updates and re-baseline with a new snapshot.
etc..

I have no need to host with XP and run linux as a VM.

Any others with thoughts? Thanks kindly, Rich
 
Old 04-12-2008, 11:34 AM   #5
snowtigger
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I couldn't comment about Parallels as i've never used it. But you can also get free versions of VMware.

There is Player, which will play ready made guests. (You can't legally get any windows guest images, but if you look on the VMware site there are lots of other guests available).

Or there is Server, in which you can make guest images.

As far as i'm aware the only noticeable differences between these two free versions is not being able to create new guests on Player. And Player has USB2.0 capabilities, although the beta version of Server now has this to.


Last edited by snowtigger; 04-12-2008 at 11:38 AM.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
Junior Hacker
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Quote:
Use the system for 2 months
... then revert to the baseline snapshot and run updates and re-baseline with a new snapshot.

Use the system for 2 months
... then revert to the baseline snapshot and run updates and re-baseline with a new snapshot.
etc..
If you're willing to also spring for another Windows product key, than I guess this won't become an issue 30 days after installation.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 08:56 PM   #7
riffin-rich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior Hacker View Post
If you're willing to also spring for another Windows product key, than I guess this won't become an issue 30 days after installation.

Junior Hacker, sorry but I may have failed to communicate clearly. I am saving snapshots of my Windows XP Pro guest with Parallels for Mac now. It's very simple. Parallels installed. XP Pro installed as VM. There's something called "Snapshot Manager" in Parallels and it allows you to save your virtual machine as a snapshot at any point in time. If you want to revert to a snapshot, you open the snapshot manager and double-click the snapshot you want to run. Super cool for the security-minded fanatic! Incredible for backing-up and restoring too ... reverting to a snapshot takes less than 5 minutes. No problems with license keys either...

snowtigger, I didn't know about vmplayer. Very cool. Unfortunately, I'm not interested in running the linux distros as VMs ... I only want to run a Windows XP Pro VM guest on a linux host. But thanks for the great info!

Take care,
Rich

Last edited by riffin-rich; 04-12-2008 at 09:05 PM.
 
  


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