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Windows 7: Virtual Machine Hard Drive Space Questions

18 May 2014   #1
altek

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 
Virtual Machine Hard Drive Space Questions

So, I am kind of new to virtual machines and I have been playing around with them with the basics the last few weeks, but I have a few related questions and I have been reading about VMs all over the web and I just can't understand all the stuff about 'virtual disks' and all that stuff. I have been playing with VMWare and Oracle's VirtualBox, doing basic creating VMs from ISOs (linux distros and what not), but recently I have been trying to play with some Windows VMs (XP, 7, 8) and it's a bit more difficult for me. For one thing, I had to download all the 32 bit versions because apparently my system dosen't support VMs for 64 bit VTs or something(?). Anyway, my question is when I create a VM in either Virtualization software, it creates a 'virtual disk' on my hard drive my native OS is on (Windows 7 64bit). A virtual disk, as I understand, is basically a virtual hard drive that the VM OS uses as a physical drive. So I am basically creating 'partitions' for these VMs on my 60gig SSD that my Windows 7 is on. Problem is, this takes up so much space, even if I use the dynamic expansion disk options, just using the amount of disk space needed and not a fixed space size. So these Windows VMs are like 8gigs+, I install 1-2 VMs and keep them configured on my machine so I don't have to install anytime I want to use them and my SSD is at max capacity. I have a 500gig 2nd storage drive. Is there a way to run the VMs off that drive, or just store the virtual disks there since I have a lot more space there? Or does it have to run on the same drive as my OS? Any suggestions on space conservation when it comes to VMs? Tips? Thanks.


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18 May 2014   #2
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

For VirtualBox, see this tutorial, Part 1 Step 9: Linux - Install on Windows 7 Virtual Machine using VirtualBox (VirtualBox has changed a bit since the tutorial was written but the principle to select the location for the VHD is the same).

In VMware there's a similar setting when creating a vm but as I do not use VMware, I am unable to tell what and where to look.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2014   #3
altek

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
For VirtualBox, see this tutorial, Part 1 Step 9: Linux - Install on Windows 7 Virtual Machine using VirtualBox (VirtualBox has changed a bit since the tutorial was written but the principle to select the location for the VHD is the same).

In VMware there's a similar setting when creating a vm but as I do not use VMware, I am unable to tell what and where to look.

Kari
Thanks man! I'll look into this a little later then. So basically, I can run my VMware or VirtualBox on my OS drive and set the VM I am creating to have its virtual hard drive on my secondary storage drive? That is all I want to do. Sounds like this does the trick?
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18 May 2014   #4
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by altek View Post
Sounds like this does the trick?
Yes. I use a dedicated drive to store all my virtual machines as the screenshot shows (just reinstalled, still quite empty):
Virtual Machine Hard Drive Space Questions-2014-05-18_22h07_40.png


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18 May 2014   #5
derekimo

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

The VMware settings for what you want are when you reach this screen,

Virtual Machine Hard Drive Space Questions-vmware.jpg

Just click the browse button to the location of your choice.


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18 May 2014   #6
Boozad

W7 Pro x64 SP1 | W10 Pro IP x64 | W8.1 Pro x64 VM | Linux Mint VM
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by altek View Post
For one thing, I had to download all the 32 bit versions because apparently my system dosen't support VMs for 64 bit VTs or something(?).
If you have the following:
  • Processor that supports VT-x
  • Motherboard with chipset that supports VT-d
  • Bios that supports VT-d
You need to enable Intel VT-x in your BIOS. Then you can run 64-bit VMs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2014   #7
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there

If you are installing a WINDOWS VM then you need to allow as much Virtual disk space as you would for a "Real" installation -- As with a REAL machine it's best to keep user DATA (documents, photos, video, music etc) SEPARATE from the main OS. You can either add extra virtual drive(s) (can be done AFTER installing the GUEST OS or you can SHARE drive(s) with the HOST).

Whether using VBOX or VMWARE install the additions (VBOX) or VMWARE TOOLS (VMware) on the GUEST after the first boot --this will fix things like proper video resolution, sound, mouse slowness etc etc.

For games / video enable the 3d / hardware acceleration settings too or sometimes video will be slow - especially on a laptop. This is usually a setting in the Virtual Machine's configuration file (.vmx in VMware - I don't use VBOX but there must be a similar config file too).

If you need to increase the size of the virtual HDD afterwards - you need to image the VM (just like on a REAL machine), delete the old virtual disk, create a new one (use Create virtual machine wizard) and then restore the image. You can boot an iso image -- it's all in the virtual machine settings.

I've seen people spend HOURS and HOURS deleting and totally re-installing a VM and applications with updates because they think they have to re-install again when they run out of space. !! Use FREE MACRIUM or any other disk imaging software you like. I use a commercial piece of software ACRONIS but there's a few choices out there. - some free ones too.

Some vm software has an "increase space" utility - but IMO take an image is always the best - then you've got a backup too !!!!.

Finally keep backups of your VM if you want to use it a lot. Just like you should do with a REAL machine. You can either copy all the VM files to an external HDD or use some disk imaging software like FREE macrium. VMware workstation also has "Clone Virtual Machine" -- but if you use this choose FULL CLONE not a LINKED CLONE.


Cheers
jimbo
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