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Windows 7: Linux in VM?

16 Mar 2012   #1
drpepper

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 
Linux in VM?

Lenovo B570 (laptop)
Intel i3 (dual core, hyperthreaded)
320GB HDD (220 GB free)
4GB RAM
Win 7 HP, SP1, 64-bit

I am considering taking Introduction to Linux (part of my required curriculum) in the summer semester. I think I would like to run it in a virtual machine rather than using dual boot. Is this practical?

If so, which VM is easiest to set up:
Windows Virtual PC
Virtual Box
VM Ware

Thanks for your guidance.
drpepper


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Mar 2012   #2
TE7

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

I have read online that VirtualBox is good for Linux virtual machines. That's why I chose it. If you choose VirtualBox, when you create your machine, you can try setting your memory to 700-750 MB for the machine, since you only have 4 GB of system memory. I'm in VirtualBox right now, using Linux Mint (I recommend that distro of Linux), and I'm using 410 MB with Firefox (3 tabs) and Thunderbird open. If you had more system memory for your Windows 7 host, you could try more memory for your virtual machine. My Windows 7 64 bit host uses about 2 GB of memory with no programs running (except for my startup items that sit in the system tray). I use 1024 MB for my Linux Mint virtual machine in VirtualBox (since I have 8 GB of system memory).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2012   #3
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Hi drpepper,

Yes, running Linux in a virtual machine is practical and actually very easy indeed. Your choices are VMWare Player, or VirtualBox, I've used both, but prefer VMWare Player - you cannot run a Linux distribution using Windows Virtual PC.

https://www.virtualbox.org/
VMware Player: Run Windows 7, Chrome OS - Free Download for a Virtual PC

Which Linux distribution do you intend using? LinuxMint12 KDE is quite nice, and not that different from the way Windows looks and fels, so its easier if its your first foray into Linux.

New features in Linux Mint 12 KDE - Linux Mint

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Mar 2012   #4
drpepper

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Hi Golden,

Thanks for the links. The information in the linked pages combined with recommendations from one of my current professors points me in the direction of VMware Player. That recommendation was in regard to virtual machines in general, not as applied to the Introduction to Linux class.

Unfortunately I do not know which version of Linux will be used. The curriculum is being revised at present. Curriculum details and which professors will be teaching will not be posted until some time in April. When that information becomes available, I plan to open a dialog with the professor(s). I will question:
  1. whether a VM can be used
  2. if dual boot is required for the class
  3. which version of Linux will be used
My reason for asking questions now is twofold. I wish to protect my OS from any errors during the learning process. (I really don't want to expend time and effort to repair the OS when I should be concentrating on assignments.) If a VM is allowed, I plan to be prepared by reading tutorials and asking questions prior to the first day of class.

I would like to address memory requirements with a VM and options for upgrading this machine's memory if I use a VM. Can we proceed with this in the current thread, or should I start a new topic?

Regards,
drpepper
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #5
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Hi,

Just continue with this thread, thats fine.

The best way to protect your current OS (Windows 7 presumably) is without a doubt a VM. I'll be very surprised if its not allowed - dual booting is possible, but trickier because Linux uses a separate bootloader (GRUB).

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #6
drpepper

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Hi,

Yes, the OS is Windows (Win7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit).

Please bear with me here because I am just beginning to learn advanced topics.

1) If my research has provided me with correct information, my version of Windows can access up to 16GB of RAM. (source: Windows 7 In Depth by Cowart and Knittel, page 784)

2) Belarc Advisor gives the following information (copied and pasted):

4012 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory

Slot 'ChannelA-DIMM0' has 4096 MB (serial number 001DA042)
Slot 'ChannelA-DIMM1' is Empty
Slot 'ChannelB-DIMM0' is Empty
Slot 'ChannelB-DIMM1' is Empty


So far, so good ... It looks like I have the physical room for 16GB of RAM.

3) Lenovo's web site states that this machine is upgradeable to 8GB of RAM. That is a discrepancy of 8GB. Is this because of the processor's limitations?
Intel® Core states two memory channels. If I am reading this right, I can add 4GB of RAM to the ChannelA-DIMM1 slot. ChannelB slots are not accessed by the processor.

Please tell me if I have the correct understanding of all three of the above.

Regards,
drpepper
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #7
Stonecutter

Windows 7 home premium 32 bit
 
 

You don't have to use GRUB to dual boot to Linus (Ubuntu at least) as you can choose which boot loader to use during installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #8
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Even with your 4GB of RAM Linux will run well in a VM. 1GB in the Guest machine is more than adequate to run Linux and you can probably get away with 512MB. I would prefer VirtualBox for this as it is more feature complete that VMWare Player. One important feature that is missing from VMPlayer is snapshots which allows you to to very easily back out any changes to the guest that you don't like or don't work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I run Ubuntu in Virtual Box. Runs great and uses my full 22" screen - unlike Windows 8 which I also run in vBox.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2012   #10
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I run Ubuntu in Virtual Box. Runs great and uses my full 22" screen - unlike Windows 8 which I also run in vBox.
Hi Wolfgang. If you have a look at this post of mine it will shown you how W8CP can run properly in full screen in VBox. Virtualbox 4.1.10 Released - Windows 8 adaptations - Windows 8 Forums
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