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Old 02-28-2017, 07:59 PM   #1
grumpyskeptic
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Should I virtualbox WinXP or dual boot with WinXP?


Currently I am running Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa Cinnamon. I want to run my old friend WinXp and also upgrade to Linux Mint 18.1 Serena Mate or Xfce or KDE (not yet decided on which desktop).

1) Is there any advantage or disadvantage in running WinXp in a virtualbox compared to dual booting with WinXP?

I would prefer both operating systems to have access to all my files.

2) If I decide to dual boot with both Linux Mint 18.1 Serena and WinXP, which one should I install first? Mint 18.1 or WinXP?

3) Do Windows anti-malware/virus programs have any problems when they find the files of a Linux operating system?

Thanks.
 
Old 02-28-2017, 08:32 PM   #2
frankbell
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Given that WinXP is well out-of-date and no longer supported by MS, I think VirtualBox with an NAT network would be by far the better choice.

Using a bridged connection would open a door into your system.

Afterthought:

Win7 is far superior to WinXP and legit install disks can be found on Amazon and I'm sure other places at a quite reasonable price.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-28-2017 at 08:37 PM.
 
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:38 PM   #3
syg00
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I have XP for some old software I want to keep. Figured a could virtualise it and toss out the old box. I extracted a vhd using M$ofts tool (disk2vhd ? - something like that) and tried to run it under Win10 Hyper-V. I have very few other reasons to run Windoze at all.
Ran like a lame dog. I decided to keep the old kit.

This was just this week, and the Win10 box is a 16Gig modern i7 - so plenty of grunt. My advice based on that would be to dual-boot it - install XP first then Mint and let grub handle both for you.
YMMV.
 
Old 02-28-2017, 08:40 PM   #4
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It's been a while since the last time I ran VirtualBox, but I remember WinXP ran smoothly there.

1) In regards to advantages/disadvantages, I guess it all depends on your hardware resources and what you intend to use Windows for. If you don't have too many resources (RAM and CPU power), Windows might not run smoothly in a virtual machine. Likewise, if you plan to play games on Windows, I don't think games can run well inside a VM.

2) I generally install Windows first since it erases any other boot managers (Grub/Lilo) that Linux install in the MBR to be able to boot. That said, you can easily restore Grub/Lilo using a Linux live CD or a tool like SuperGrub. Something else: it's better to install Windows in the first partition of the first HDD, since sometimes it complains when it's not installed this way.

3) Not at all. Windows doesn't even have to "know" it's inside a VM, so you won't have any issues with anti-malware/anti-virus software. The only caveat is this type of software consumes hardware resources, and if you don't have a system that is powerful enough, Windows might run a bit slow inside the VM.
 
Old 02-28-2017, 09:22 PM   #5
hydrurga
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I run a Windows XP VM under VirtualBox on a Linux Mint 18.1 host. It works fine. The main advantages for me are:

. Having the VM running at the same time as I'm working on Mint and being able to switch between the two with one click.

. Being able to create a snapshot using VirtualBox and play about with the VM to my heart's content knowing I can revert to that snapshot at any time.

. Using a shared folder to share info between Mint and the XP VM (I use a separate NTFS data partition for this purpose).

. Shared clipboard and Drag & drop functionality between Mint and XP.

Note that I don't let the Windows XP VM access the Linux ext4 data files. In general, Windows does not deal well with ext filesystems, and if you use a dedicated NTFS partition to store the Windows XP data files (which Mint can read as well) and use that as a shared folder in VirtualBox then that works fine.
 
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:23 PM   #6
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Given that WinXP is well out-of-date and no longer supported by MS, I think VirtualBox with an NAT network would be by far the better choice.

Using a bridged connection would open a door into your system.

Afterthought:

Win7 is far superior to WinXP and legit install disks can be found on Amazon and I'm sure other places at a quite reasonable price.
Frank, could you explain why that is, please.
 
Old 02-28-2017, 09:30 PM   #7
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1) I add my voice to that of several others that have recommended the VM solution, for all the reasons already mentioned. I still have a Windows XP Virtualbox VM that I use to run some ancient software once in a blue moon. As mentioned, if it's for gaming, your results may vary (not a gamer myself, but things like sound and video rendering are necessarily sub-optimal in a virtual machine .. dosbox is the exception to this, but it's mainly used, superbly, for ... well ... old DOS games :-) ... For networking, the above suggestion to use NAT is indeed more secure - I use Bridged in some rare cases where an application is finicky and requires its own IP address and or MAC address. For file sharing between host and guest, my preferred method is Virtualbox's Shared Folder feature. Alternatively, smb/cifs can be used.

2) As mentioned, if, for whatever reason, you decide to dual-boot, definitely Windows before linux, again for the reasons already mentioned. File sharing between the 2 systems / partitions in such a case is easiest from the linux session, since ntfs support is excellent (ntfs-3g) - all you need to do is mount the Windows partition via an entry in your fstab file (no need for manual mounting thereafter). I have also successfully used ext4 file system drivers on Windows to read and write to a linux ext4 partition, but this is a less intuitive and popular option.

3) Windows anti-malware programs will not even see what's in the linux (ext4) partition if you dual-boot, unless you've installed linux on ntfs (not recommended). As mentioned, if you virtualize XP, anything within the VM will be oblivious to the linux host's existence.

Cheers :-)
 
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:30 PM   #8
cwizardone
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Since the scanning software for my flatbed scanner is not well supported in Linux, I run XP-sp3 in VirtualBox on a Slackware desktop. Runs perfectly (for that purpose).

You can set up "shared directories" in VirtualBox and/or you can map your linux partitions in XP so they show up as "drives," i.e., d: drive, e: drive, and so on.

As has been previously recommended, if you decide to dual boot, install XP first, then Linux. When dual booting you can set up Linux to see your XP partitions, but, unless there is a new utility available, it is not easy to setup XP to see your Linux partitions.

Last edited by cwizardone; 02-28-2017 at 10:45 PM.
 
Old 02-28-2017, 09:44 PM   #9
jefro
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If your host system has enough resources then I'd run a VM for minimal tasks.

You could even consider wine, reactos or dosbox to run stuff.
 
Old 03-01-2017, 06:36 AM   #10
allend
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I regularly use two virtual machines (one at home and one at work) with XP installed for running a software package I need that cannot be used on Windows versions later than XP. These machines are run in qemu rather than VirtualBox.
I can also multiboot at home into XP, but I rarely do so (2-3 times a year).
I find that the VM versions actually boot faster.
At home, I use networking via a bridged connection, so that Samba can be used for file sharing. Network security is handled by my iptables based firewall, so I am not concerned about opening a security hole. Also, I do not need internet access from XP to perform my tasks.
At work, I use networking via a vde2 virtual switch, to isolate the XP VM to an address space apart from the rest of the network.
I like that I can do things in a VM then cleanly revert when required. I have struck many problems in the past when using XP on bare metal, trying to clean up after software installation then removal. IMHO, the ability to restore from a known good backup makes running malware/antivirus software pointless. It also guards against bare metal hardware failure. A VM image is easily transferred to new hardware if required.
The performance within a VM depends on many factors: the applications being run, host hardware capability and tweaking of the host and guest options for disk, graphics and networking. This can be very time consuming to set up, especially when starting from a low knowledge base.
The resources required can be minimal; I happily run an XP VM with 250MB RAM on an old dual core CPU machine with 1GB RAM.

Long story short, the time spent virtualising XP has been well worth the effort.

Last edited by allend; 03-01-2017 at 06:40 AM.
 
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Old 03-01-2017, 07:25 AM   #11
grumpyskeptic
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Thanks.

If I run WinXP Sp3 in a virtualbox, is it able to update itself with the very long list of security and other updates, or can I only use what is already on my WinXP Sp3 installation CD?

I have several valid licence numbers and stickers from old discarded computers, but out of curiosity can I ask if it needs a licence number in a virtualbox? The other thing about WinXP was that it did not like too many changes to the computer hardware, is this a problem in virtualbox?

The programs I want to use in WinXP are the online (human to human) Reversi board game, DigitalVolcano's Duplicate Cleaner, the file manager XYplorerfree, and the Windows file manager and its associated image viewer. The first three will not work in Wine, have not tried the fourth item.

I did buy a copy of Windows7 with licence and installed it, but despite spending a long time looking I was unable to find a 64bit version of a driver for my old printer HP Deskjet930c, so I gave up and installed Linux Mint instead which had no problems with the printer. I like the 930c as it has large print cartridges that are relatively easy and cheap to refill. (I wish someone would start making The People's Printer where you just poured ink into its ink-tanks when required.) There is a 32bit driver I think, cannot remember if I also tried this or if it would work at all with a 64bit operating system.

It would be interesting to have a stripped-down version of WinXP where it had just enough to run in a virtualbox.

I do not understand most of the jargon in the previous posts.
 
Old 03-01-2017, 07:34 AM   #12
hydrurga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Thanks.

If I run WinXP Sp3 in a virtualbox, is it able to update itself with the very long list of security and other updates, or can I only use what is already on my WinXP Sp3 installation CD?
Yes, XP's Windows Update will be able to access the internet. However bear in mind that official support for XP has long since disappeared and updates have now dried up.
 
Old 03-01-2017, 07:50 AM   #13
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If it's a working XP system.
Don't touch it.
 
Old 03-01-2017, 08:38 AM   #14
allend
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You can install Windows XP in a virtual machine without a licence key, but the install will only be valid for 30 days and will drive you mad with nag boxes. Perhaps this will prompt an alternative solution.
I kept my XP installations up to date with Windows updates until support ceased. I do not know whether the Windows update service is still available.
The hardware that a virtual machine runs on is defined within the virtualisation software that is used. You cannot transfer an XP installation prepared in VirtualBox to a qemu virtual machine, as XP will barf about the hardware change.
Quote:
I did buy a copy of Windows7 with licence and installed it, but despite spending a long time looking I was unable to find a 64bit version of a driver for my old printer HP Deskjet930c
Installing the driver in Windows 7 is detailed here ; you need to click on the Wireless or wired network connection (Windows 7,Vista) heading under Step 3. Alternatively, you can access the Microsoft Update catalog directly and choose for your architecture.
Quote:
I do not understand most of the jargon in the previous posts.
More words?
 
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:59 AM   #15
Rickkkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allend View Post
... You cannot transfer an XP installation prepared in VirtualBox to a qemu virtual machine, as XP will barf about the hardware change. ...
... Interestingly, I've had success importing a Windows 10 .vdi or .vdmk that I'd been running on Virtualbox for several months into QEMU/KVM/libvirt, just out of curiosity and to compare how it worked with respect to VBox. It worked transparently. I decided in the long run to stick with Virtualbox, simply out of familiarity, but was impressed with QEMU's no-nonsense support of headless, RDP server-based virtualization, which is the way I use most of my VMs on Virtualbox.

Just my 2 cents .. Cheers.
 
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