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Windows 7: regarding running a portable OS


08 May 2013   #21

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

Virtualbox limits you to 800x600, 1024x768 and some larger unless you use scale mode which is awful. If you install guest additions you can drag to whatever size you want.


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08 May 2013   #22
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Virtualbox limits you to 800x600, 1024x768 and some larger unless you use scale mode which is awful. If you install guest additions you can drag to whatever size you want.
Understand, he's on vBox. I did not get that part. I am now always in VMware Player. They don't seem to have that restriction.
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08 May 2013   #23

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

I went the other way. I am now all vBox, mostly because of snapshots which can restore your VM almost instantly.
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08 May 2013   #24

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

I have guest additions installed. I just wanted to do a quick test. I currently have default installations of Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8 Pro in addition to partially configured Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. I'm not ready to customize quite yet. After my final exams wrap up, I'll have time to dedicate to details.

The current state of the project is all three OSes installed in VBox on the host with default installation vdi files saved to an external drive. I'm guessing that it will serve me better to configure baseline configurations on the host before running from the external drive. I'll post more complete information with a few observations and questions before moving on to detailed configuration.

My biggest issue at present is having only one monitor (15.6" on a laptop). Running the host and all three guests at the same time makes for a very cluttered view. Tinkering with window sizes is something I will optimize as time rolls forward.

drpepper
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08 May 2013   #25
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
I went the other way. I am now all vBox, mostly because of snapshots which can restore your VM almost instantly.
I just make periodic copies of the VMware folder(s) and roll those in when there is any trouble. A lot easier than an image.

When I used vBox, I was not aware of the snapshot facility. Maybe that is something more recent.
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08 May 2013   #26

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

It has been there for some time. I first used it on the early Win 8 betas.
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11 May 2013   #27

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

recap:
Vbox extension pack and guest additions installed
Server 2008 R2 Enterprise installed in Vbox, fully updated, partially configured
Win 7 Pro installed in Vbox, fully updated
Win 8 Pro installed in VBox, fully updated
all three still on host system

I ran into a few issues during the installation/updating process:
  • Win 7 would not install from physical DVD or USB. I attempted to use iso burned to DVD with Active @ ISO Burner packaged with the download from Dream Spark (formerly Academic Alliance). Error message: no bootable media found - corrupt files. Using DVD burned with Image Burn and USB burned with Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool failed also. Error message: windows failed to start 0xc0000225. Research recommended changing settings>system to chipset:ICH9. Problem not solved. To achieve successful installation, I had to mount the saved file to the optical drive to install the OS. (I experienced no problems installing the other two OSes form DVD. I found this to be odd.) On every reboot after a round of updates, I received the message: press any key to boot from CD or DVD. (The same "press any key" message apears on every launch of the OS now that it is up and running.) This message timed out, and normal VM start up resumed.
  • Win 8 would freeze on reboot following a reboot after a round of updates. I had to close manually using the red X and sending shutdown signal. I found this to be odd because the other two OSes did not freeze on reboot.
I examined settings>system for comparison and found: (I attemted to construct a table for comparison within the confines of formatting for the forum.)

........................server 2008......win 8........Windows 7
MOBO tab
chipset...............PIIX3..............PIIX3........ICH9
enable IO APIC....enabled...........enabled....enabled
processor tab
enable PAE/NX....disabled...........enabled....disabled

Should I modify any of these settings?

More to follow after addressing this...

drpepper
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11 May 2013   #28

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

You won't be able to install from USB as VBox can't boot from USB. I find it simplest to install using an ISO rather than physical media.

I have never had to play with the mobo settings except that I usually enable PAE/NX.
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12 May 2013   #29

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

I was getting a little tunnel visioned with the comb of final exam prep and this project. I spent all day at the the races yesterday and cleared my mind. I attacked the problems using research and a little peeking into the nooks and crannies of VBox settings. The result is that the problems with the Windows 7 and Win8 guests have been resolved. I have decided to add details in case some of the viewers of this thread may find the details useful.

Here is the step-wise process I used and the results following each modification. Using the mindset of make one change at a time which I learned in my racing days, I preceded with tinkering with the VBox settings.

I attacked Win 7 Pro guest first. With a fresh mind, it was obvious that the "press any key ..." message was pointing toward boot order. The OS was looking for a CD/DVD to boot from and waiting for user input. Exploring VBox settings>system>motherboard>boot order, I found (as suspected) that CD/DVD was first in the order. I changed the boot order to HDD first. A test proved that this was the issue. Win 7 booted normally.

While still in Win 7, I decided th check out other settings. The first thing I checked out was settings>system Motherboard >chipset. The other two OSes are set to PIIX3, and Win 7 was set to ICH9. I had no idea what that meant; so I researched and found info relevant to Vbox. I found that PIIX3 is an older technology than ICH9. The recommendation was to stay with PIIX3 unless there were problems. There was an indication that ICH9 may not be stable. The article was dated a few years back; so I didn't let this worry me. The ICH9 chipset has revealed no problems to date; so I decided to use the adage,"if it ain't broke, don't fix it." ... no change ...

Using kado897's feedback about enabling PAE/NX, I decided to check that out. This is found in settings>system>processor. I had to research once again. I found that PAE enables 32-bit processors to access more than 4GB memory. This did not apply to me because I am using a 64-bit processor and am not attempting to access more than 2GB memory in this VM. NX helps guard from malware attacks. I'm all for that extra level of security protection; so I enabled it.

The bottom line for the Win 7 guest is that the nag screen is gone, and everything works to my satisfaction.

Next on my list was the Win 8 Pro guest. Since the Win 7 guest reacted so favorably to the change in boot order, I decided to check out the Win 8 guest boot order. Navigating the same path as described in the Win 7 modifications above, I found the boot order to be floppy, CD/DVD, and HDD. Not only was this the order, but the boxes for all three were checked. I cleared the check box for floppy and changed the boot order to HDD followed by D/DVD.

Because I am new to Win 8, I couldn't figure out how to restart. Research provided me with this jewel which I am including for those not familiar with Win 8. Use the key combination of Win+C>select settings>power>restart. The problem of VBox freezing up in my previous post was not repeated; however, I encountered a different failure. I encountered a VBox window stating that VBox manager had stopped. Closing the VBox window shut the VM down. The VBox main window showed the state of the Win 8 guest to be aborted. Research pointed me to settings>storage>controller. The setting for Win 8 was PIIX 4. I had to wonder if this was incompatible with the PIIX3 chipset setting. I changed to PIIX3 and decided to check one other setting while I was there. The recommended setting for CD/DVD dirve is IDE secondary master. That is what my setting was; so it was time to attempt a reboot again. Success!!

The bottom line for the Win 8 guest is that restart works properly, and everything works to my satisfaction.

The final thing on my list was the Server 2008 R2 guest. Once again using kado897's feedback, I enabled PAE/NX.

One thing caught my eye when exploring the settings. The default for settings>system>acceleration had both enable VT-X/AMD-V and nested paging checked. The first enables virtualization, which I had already done on the host machine. I guess VBox does this just to make sure. Nested paging provides a performance gain on hardware. I'm all for that. I did not modify that either.

This post is pretty long. See my next post to see how things work with all four OSes running at the same time.

drpepper
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2013   #30

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

It is mandatory to enable VT-X etc to run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host. Not sure it is necessary for a 64bit host but I always leave it enabled anyway.
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 regarding running a portable OS




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