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Windows 7: Some Basic Questions re Virtual Machine

26 Oct 2014   #1
pjd

Win 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Some Basic Questions re Virtual Machine

I would like to be able run a second instance of Windows 7 on the same computer. It seems the way to do that is to create a virtual machine

What alternatives are there and what are the pros and cons of each? Can I use my existing Win 7 licence or will I need to get another license?

At this stage I'm not interested in running different operating systems or different versions of Windows, although I might want to do that at some time.

I don't mind admitting that my reading on this makes me nervous. It seems overly complex for what I want to do - run 2 concurrent instances of Win7. I can understand that probably needs to be so if you want to run different flavours of Windows, OS/X and *ix on the same box at the same time.

I have recently reinstalled Windows 7 64bit on an 256GB SSD, it has 183GB of free space, the processor is an 6GB I5 @ 3.GHz. All of my data (documents, images, etc etc) is on separate drives.

Ideally I'd like a gadget called - CloneThisWindowsHere

Thanks


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Oct 2014   #2
andrew129260

Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pjd View Post
I would like to be able run a second instance of Windows 7 on the same computer. It seems the way to do that is to create a virtual machine
It is the quickest, easiest way, yes.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pjd View Post
What alternatives are there and what are the pros and cons of each? Can I use my existing Win 7 licence or will I need to get another license?
You will need another license if you want it fully activated with all benefits, or simply run windows without a key. It is still legal, it will just shut down every 2 hours and some features will be disabled like visual themes etc. But nothing that would prevent you from messing around with it or just using it to test software. I would just get another key though, you can find them cheap if you just want a key.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pjd View Post
At this stage I'm not interested in running different operating systems or different versions of Windows, although I might want to do that at some time.
Legally you can run almost any operating system, except Mac ios or osx.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pjd View Post
I don't mind admitting that my reading on this makes me nervous. It seems overly complex for what I want to do - run 2 concurrent instances of Win7. I can understand that probably needs to be so if you want to run different flavours of Windows, OS/X and *ix on the same box at the same time.
It really is not that hard, vmware player is probably the easiest to use, so I would go with that. Just think of it as a computer inside a computer. The same way you install windows and install anything is just like in the virtual machine.

We have some tutorials here:

VMware Player - Install and Setup Zorin

That above link is an example on how to install zorin, a linux operating system. Buy using the guide it will familiarize yourself and you can install windows easily as well. Youtube has some good video tutorials on it as well. For example, search "how to install windows 7 in vmware player".

Here is also a tutorial on how to speed up performance should you run into issues with the virtual machine running slow:

Virtual Machine - Speed Up Performance

Keep i mind that virtual machines are not meant for playing games or anything like that. They are designed for testing software, and messing with settings etc without the scare of breaking anything. It is a fantastic way to learn how to break and fix pc's.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2014   #3
pjd

Win 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

@andrew129260 - thanks for that, that tutorial looks straightforward enough, much simpler that others I've read.

Although why the Documents folder is suggested as an appropriate place to install a Virtual Machine was a bit of - seems the least likely place to me. I'll create %SystemDrive%\VirtualMachines\Windows7 and put it in there... later I might add a %SystemDrive%\VirtualMachines\Windows10 Preview

It'll be a couple of days before I get round to doing this - so I won't mark thread as solved just yet

cheers pjd
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Oct 2014   #4
oneeyed

Windows 8
 
 

Why exactly do you want a second Windows running though ?

There may be lighter/easier ways to accomplish some of what full virtualization does.

If you want a separate OS for security purposes, Sandboxing might be a good alternative.
Sandboxie is a good example of that : Sandboxie - Sandbox software for application isolation and secure Web browsing

If you want to run multiple versions of the same software without facing incompatibilities/glitches, simplify install/uninstall, or install software without it affecting your system (no registry modification)... Then Application Virtualization is an alternative.
Free solutions include :
Cameyo (Cameyo | Free Application Virtualization)
PortableApps (PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB, portable and cloud drives)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2014   #5
pjd

Win 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

@oneeyed - thanks for the suggestions

I already use Sandboxie to test software of questionable provenance. And I am familiar with what cameyo and PortableApps do. Mainly I want to be to have an environment that I can customise to something closer to other peoples rigs, and destroy it when I'm done.

And I have a couple of programs that only allow one instance - for very good and very valid reasons. There are times when I would like to have two instances of these programs running side by side - not to compare different versions of the software, but to compare visualisations of different/same datasets with the same software.

I don't really know where my reluctance to 'embrace' Virtual Machine architectures comes from. Too many lost weekends grappling with IBM VM/370 or the perils of writing a KDF/9 emulator for OS/360 perhaps. But primarily, it's because I don't get any enjoyment whatsoever from fiddling around with operating systems etc. Au contraire, I find it very frustrating because despite all the gee-whiz glitz and glamour its all much the same as it was 30 years or more ago .

If I'm to do anything I want something more generic than application wrappers. The alternative is an destructible second computer.

BR
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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