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Old 04-23-2016, 05:26 PM   #1
grumpyskeptic
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How best to run WinXP or Win7 virtually within Linux?


I hope I am correct in posting this here and not in the "Linux - Virtualization and Cloud" section.

I am intrigued by the idea kindly suggested by someone on this forum of running WinXP or perhaps Win7 virtually within Linux. I hope this would give the best of both worlds - offering liberation from the rat-race of ever more gimmicky Windows OS and being forced to keep buying ever more overspec'ed computers to run them on, while at the same time still being able to use my favourite and familiar Windows software and have access to the enormous pool of Windows software.

But I know nothing about this, so I would be grateful for any advice about the following:

a) what is the best virtualisation software to use?

b) what is the best Linux distro to use with virtualisation?

c) Does the user have to install WinXP or Win7 from an operating system disk or is it done some other way?

d) How does the virtualised Win operating system deal with licensing and getting upgrades?

e) Would the virtualised Win OS remember things even after re-starting the computer, in the same way that an actual Win OS would?

f) What about security? Is it posssible or usual to download and install anti-virus software for the virtualised Win OS?

g) Can the virtual Win OS save things to a real HDD and copy things from a real HDD or does everything have to be in a sandbox and so no lasting changes can be made or at least not without a lot of difficulty?

Thanks.
 
Old 04-23-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
I hope I am correct in posting this here and not in the "Linux - Virtualization and Cloud" section.
I am intrigued by the idea kindly suggested by someone on this forum of running WinXP or perhaps Win7 virtually within Linux. I hope this would give the best of both worlds - offering liberation from the rat-race of ever more gimmicky Windows OS and being forced to keep buying ever more overspec'ed computers to run them on, while at the same time still being able to use my favourite and familiar Windows software and have access to the enormous pool of Windows software.
First, let me pause right here. The best thing you can do is STOP using Windows software, PERIOD, and look for Linux applications that do the same things. In 2016, there are few things that Windows apps can do, that can't be done with Linux. There are some VERY esoteric programs, but using Windows XP or Windows 7 (BOTH of which are very old), to run a program is just not the best thing to do.
Quote:
But I know nothing about this, so I would be grateful for any advice about the following:
a) what is the best virtualisation software to use?
VirtualBox would be the easiest for a new user.
Quote:
b) what is the best Linux distro to use with virtualisation?
Doesn't matter one bit. For a newer user, Mint would be easiest to set up/run and most familiar, since it's geared towards Windows users.
Quote:
c) Does the user have to install WinXP or Win7 from an operating system disk or is it done some other way?
Since there IS no other legal way to install Windows XP or Windows 7 except from native install media with the keys, you have no choice.
Quote:
d) How does the virtualised Win operating system deal with licensing and getting upgrades?
The same way it does if you install it on any other hard drive..you get keys from Microsoft by purchasing them. But, since Windows XP isn't supported *AT ALL*, and Windows 7 is very old, I'd question the wisdom of installing either.
[QUOTE}e) Would the virtualised Win OS remember things even after re-starting the computer, in the same way that an actual Win OS would?[/QUOTE]
Yes..virtualized machines are no different than a physical machine in that way. Instead of a hard drive, they have an image file, which BEHAVES as the hard drive.
Quote:
f) What about security? Is it posssible or usual to download and install anti-virus software for the virtualised Win OS?
Again, a virtualized machine is no different...it can get viruses, etc., and runs/behaves exactly as a 'real' machine does.
Quote:
g) Can the virtual Win OS save things to a real HDD and copy things from a real HDD or does everything have to be in a sandbox and so no lasting changes can be made or at least not without a lot of difficulty?
No, see above answer.

Again, this isn't a good idea. While it CAN be done, your time would be far better spent learning current applications that run natively, more securely, and faster than Windows apps do on a virtual machine.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 04-23-2016, 06:47 PM   #3
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
I hope I am correct in posting this here and not in the "Linux - Virtualization and Cloud" section.
Hi...

No problem. If a moderator feels your thread belongs there, he/she will move it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
I am intrigued by the idea kindly suggested by someone on this forum of running WinXP or perhaps Win7 virtually within Linux.

But I know nothing about this, so I would be grateful for any advice about the following:

a) what is the best virtualisation software to use?
For "pros and cons," take a look here. Please bear in mind there are specific licensing requirements concerning using Windows 7, possibly XP, in a VM. Please see here, as one example. You would need to make sure that the same copy is not running on any other computer, even though you're running it on a VM. Also, based upon your choice of VM software, here are some links to help you get set up. I chose Windows 7 for information, however, XP shouldn't be too different. Some of these assume you're using Ubuntu....

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/18768...vmware-player/

https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01.html

http://askubuntu.com/questions/18742...gh-virtual-box

VirtualBox can be installed from the Ubuntu repositories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
b) what is the best Linux distro to use with virtualisation?
As TB0ne mentioned, this shouldn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
c) Does the user have to install WinXP or Win7 from an operating system disk or is it done some other way?
To keep it legal, you should install from the retail CD/DVD you purchased. If this is an OEM version of Windows, check with Microsoft to make sure using using it is permissible in this manner. I don't think it is. Please see here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
d) How does the virtualised Win operating system deal with licensing and getting upgrades?
This process shouldn't be any different, although the VM may ask you for the license key upon installation of Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
e) Would the virtualised Win OS remember things even after re-starting the computer, in the same way that an actual Win OS would?
It should, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
f) What about security? Is it posssible or usual to download and install anti-virus software for the virtualised Win OS?
Yes. Although, make sure you allocate enough memory for the "virtualized" copy of Windows when you first install it in the VM to make sure you can run the things you want to have and do smoothly. Also remember, the VM provides the graphics and other drivers for the different "devices" and not all of them are nearly as good as the ones you would normally install. I'm not sure you change them in a VM environment, another member would need to comment on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
Thanks.
You're welcome, hope this helps. Let us know how it works out.

Regards...

Last edited by ardvark71; 04-23-2016 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Corrections/Added wordage.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 04-23-2016, 08:48 PM   #4
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
But I know nothing about this
What is your skill level? Have you installed Linux before? How confident are you at installing Windows?
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
a) what is the best virtualisation software to use?
Virtualbox is probably the easiest to use for a beginner.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
b) what is the best Linux distro to use with virtualisation?
Whichever one you're used to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
c) Does the user have to install WinXP or Win7 from an operating system disk or is it done some other way?
Either disc or iso image will work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
d) How does the virtualised Win operating system deal with licensing and getting upgrades?
Exactly the same way as a stand-alone installation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
e) Would the virtualised Win OS remember things even after re-starting the computer, in the same way that an actual Win OS would?
Yes. It has a virtual hard drive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
f) What about security? Is it posssible or usual to download and install anti-virus software for the virtualised Win OS?
Yes, you can install and use any software in the virtualised environment... that's the point!
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
g) Can the virtual Win OS save things to a real HDD and copy things from a real HDD or does everything have to be in a sandbox and so no lasting changes can be made or at least not without a lot of difficulty?
You can set up a "Shared folder" in Virtualbox which provides the guest OS with something that looks like a network share. This would allow you to work on documents and save them outside the sandbox, so that they can be accessed directly or from within other sandboxes.

The big hurdle with Virtualisation is hardware. While you can do this stuff on a 32 bit system, it works a lot better on a 64 bit system with a good amount of RAM.
 
Old 04-23-2016, 08:55 PM   #5
Doug G
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A few years ago, I migrated a physical windows XP system to a KVM virtual machine on a Centos 7 host. For the apps I still run on it, it works the same as it did when it was in it's own chassis. I don't need to use usb/cd/audio or fancy video, I can't speak for how difficult it is to get any of those peripherals running in the VM.
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