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Windows 7: Virtual PC and Ubuntu 11.04


28 Aug 2011   #1

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 
Virtual PC and Ubuntu 11.04

G'day,

I've decided to expand my boundaries, and experiment with both virtualisation and Linux. This is something completely new to me as I have never attempted to use either before.

I propose to follow Kari's excellent tutorial for the task:

Linux - Install on Windows 7 Virtual Machine using VirtualBox

My goal is to be able to claim that I can run a virtual PC and make a post to SevenForums from a browser within Ubuntu. Who knows, if all goes well I will experiment even further. I propose to use Microsoft Virtual PC and Ubuntu 11.04.

At this stage, I've had a very quick glance at the tutorial, so some of my questions may actually be answered there, but I do have a few beginner questions before embarking on the journey:

1. I have a total of 8GB RAM on my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 system. Presumably assigning 2GB to the virtual PC will be sufficient for my experiments, yet leave enough for Windows to manage itself when I "go virtual"?

2. How is my connection to the internet managed in Ubuntu? In other words: if I mange to open a browser in Ubuntu, does it connect to the internet using my "native" Windows 7 internet connection?

3. My current anti-malware suite is resident MSE and Malwarebytes. Does this still provide protection at the virtual level. For example, lets assume I unwittingly download a malicious file using a browser in Ubuntu in the virtual world - will my "native" anti-malware still interrogate this download, or does the virtual world operate in the same manner as a sandbox? How does the "native" Windows Firewall interact with virtual Ubuntu?

Any other advice, pointers or suggestions are welcome.

Regards,
Golden

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

28 Aug 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Hi Golden, nice to hear you are starting experiments with virtualization

First, let me tell you that it's better to forget Microsoft Virtual PC, if your goal is to run a Linux virtual machine. What fundamentally differs Virtual PC from other virtualization platforms is that whereas other platforms like VMware or VirtualBox can run almost all existing operating systems on a vm, and can be installed on several OS's (Windows, Linus / Unix, Mac OSX), the Microsoft Virtual PC is meant to be installed on Windows 7, to run Windows XP, Vista and / or Windows 7 guest systems. Read more in this post: Windows Virtual PC fail

OK, then your guestions.

1. The total amount of RAM used by your running virtual machines is of course taken from your host's RAM. In your example case, your Linux vm would use 2 GB leaving 6 GB for the host system. That's sufficient, both for Linux guest and Windows 7 host. I use 1 GB of RAM on all my Linux vm's, never had any performance issues. According to my own tests the Seven hosts needs to be left at least 2 GB to be able to smoothly run your vm's.

2. A virtual machine uses so called emulated hardware. For network connections, the vm emulates a NIC. This emulated NIC in its turn uses your host system's NIC to connect to the network. Please read step 16. on that tutorial, after that check this post: Linux - Install on Windows 7 Virtual Machine using VirtualBox

3. The firewall of your host is the tool that controls in- and outbound connections of your rig. In a sense, it's The Thing that decides if your host can connect to other network computers (for instance your Linux vm), and if those other networked computers are allowed to connect to your host. Your host can get an infection from your vm as it would get it from another physical computer running on the same network, which is rare but can happen. A vm is not like sandbox per se, it's just an individual computer on your network.

A virtual machine is like any other computer in your network. It can not use, in fact it can not even see the AV solution of your host. It needs it's own AV and firewall solutions, as any other individual computer. In Linux, using an AV and firewall is not as mandatory as it is on Windows, due to extremely small amount of Linux malware. More about Linux AV: The 4 Best Free Linux Anti-Virus Programs. And here's a nice Open Source Linux Firewall: Express Open Source Firewall Project

That's for start

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Excellent - thanks Kari. VirtualBox it is.

One more question:

When running Ubuntu in VirtualBox, do I still have access to the underlying Windows 7 environment?

For example, lets assume I have succesfully installed VirtualBox and Ubuntu, and I am setting up the network connections as per step16 in your tutorial. Perhaps I might like to have your tutorial open in IE in my native Windows 7 environment on one monitor, and at the same time have my virtual Ubuntu open on my other monitor. Does that make sense?

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


28 Aug 2011   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

With the great help of Kari I also ventured into Virtual Box a while ago. I installed Ubuntu and it works really well. I have, however, no experience with Virtual PC.

1. In vBox I allocated 1GB of RAM from my 3GB (4GB respectively) total RAM. It works really well and my Ubuntu is just as fast as my windows7. Booting is under 30 seconds and browsing is "as usual"

2. In vBox you allow the passthru to the internet connection. One thing though - the native Firefox browser of Ububtu is very slow. I installed Chromium from the Ubunto program library and that is a LOT faster.

3. The beauty with vBox are the Guest Additions. If you install those (can be found under the "Devices" tab), you have a seamless switching between Ubuntu and Windows 7.

4. I have not installed any AV program in Ubuntu and never had any problem.

5. Make sure you install Ubuntu directly from the .iso on your HDD (or SSD). Installation from a CD is less efficient.

6. Rather than Ubuntu, you might also have a look at Mint - that is an Ubuntu with enhancements that make it easier for Windows users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Thanks for the suggestions Wolfgang - I might give Mint a go as it would be easier having some similarity to the Windows environment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

As to your last question. This is how the screen looks when vBox and Ububtu are open. I have full access to the Windows taskbar, to my Rocket Dock and to the Windows 7 Start menu. This snip was taken with a Windows 7 snipping tool. So you have full dual function Ubuntu/Windows.


Attached Thumbnails
Virtual PC and Ubuntu 11.04-2011-08-28_1316.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Excellent - thanks Wolfgang.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

As Wolfgang already told you, a running VPC / VMware / VirtualBox vm is like any other Windows app, running on its own window. Just move or minimize to access your Seven desktop.

If you are looking a really Windows like Linux distro, you might want to try Ylmf Linux. It's based on Ubuntu, looks and feels almost as XP . It comes with pre-installed Wine, which allows you to run some (not all!) Windows apps on Linux. Here's Ylmf running on VirtualBox:



Ylmf homepage & ISO download: Ylmf OS-YlmF Operating System

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Thats great Kari - thanks very much.

I guess, looking at the "Create New Virtual Machine" setup panel, its posisble for me to create 3 virtual machines, one running Ubuntu 11.04, one running Mint 11, and another running Ylmf, right?

I've installed VirtualBox, and am currently downlaoding Mint 11. I'll be ready to rock in about 30 minutes I reckon.

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Yes. Only you storage capacity is the limit; you can have as many vm's as you want to. This image is from the step 12 in my tutorial, showing that I have three different Linux distros installed on vm's, Ubuntu even two times on two different vm's:



You can also run several vm's at the same time, as long as there's enough RAM available for host system to work. With your 8 GB, allocating 1 GB to each vm, you can easily have a few running at the same time.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Virtual PC and Ubuntu 11.04




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