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Windows 7: Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?

15 Apr 2018   #1
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?

I am attracted to the idea of running Win7 and Linux (Mint 18.3 now, I think) on the same machine, with one of these (preferably Linux) installed through VMWare as I find the idea of constantly rebooting from one OS to the other unappealing.

Why look at this ? Win7 is ending its' career (for example,no one is writing drivers anymore), Win10 is repulsive in its' rudeness to users ... and in any case, MS says Windows is not moving past Win10. So Linux for internet security may be a sensible route, with Win7 available for the (expensive) applications I have - CAD etc.

There is a whole segment on this forum dedicated to the dual boot of Win7 and Linux. I've carefully read through most of them, but the threads are quite old, so UEFI is not covered, the recommended tools don't exist now, or are so changed that the tutorials now make no sense, and in any case I prefer to avoid the dual boot setup. I'm aware that using a virtual OS chews up machine resource, but how much needs to be allocated to a virtual OS is obviously moot.

Any one have a setup like this operating satisfactorily, please ?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Apr 2018   #2
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

That's quite easy to do such a setup. The Windows installation is a normal single-boot one, the default. Then all the drivers and basic software and runtimes as usual.
VMWare is a normal program, just one more in the list.
Then comes Linux Mint inside. Creating a virtual machine and installing another OS inside is also pretty easy. It's once again a single-boot setup, again the default, so it won't carry any serious trouble.

I don't expect anything like this to pose serious trouble, it's mostly the normal installs within a VM. All software in both OSs should "just work" (maybe except games on Linux, where the virtual machines are exceptionally poor).
Are you facing any concrete problem with it?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ian50 View Post
Win7 is ending its' career (for example,no one is writing drivers anymore)
Both things are simply not true. Windows 7 works exactly the same as always, and it doesn't like that it'll become obsolete in the foreseable future. Also most hardware have drivers out there for Windows 7, just look at their websites to find them.
The fact that Microsoft decided to pull "support" means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the user and the working of the system. And considering Windows has not seen a major update since Vista, it seems Win7 has still a lot of life remaining.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2018   #3
samuria

win 8 32 bit
 
 

Virtual box is a free software for running virtual PC's and you can run any o/s from MS-DOS to new systems the best of virtual PC's is they run virtual drivers so you can change PC's copy the file and it will still run on totally different hardware no problems
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Apr 2018   #4
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

@Alejandro85

Thanks for the reply - although it was not helpful, I think. Just repeating my query with superciliousness is not useful.

My original query outlined a possible situation and asked if anyone is operating such a system. From your reply, I would think that you are not.

[As an aside, my comments on "end of life" for Win7 are accurate. For example, Intel chips G6 and upwards are specifically manufactured so that Win7 will not run on them, only Win8 and up. There are many newer wifi chips that only work with Win10 and do not have Win7 drivers. As existing hardware ages, new replacements will not run Win7. When MS eventually stops patching Win7 security, it will slowly become vulnerable online.]

Now, I hope someone who is operating a system such as I've outlined may be kind enough to comment.
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16 Apr 2018   #5
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

@samuria

Thanks for that. Very helpful and I'm examining it now.

One of the possible issues I had perceived with VMWare (many years since I last used it) is that it may require installation on a Linux box with Win7 then running as client - the reverse of what I am examining. Virtualbox seems not to have this perceived limitation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2018   #6
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18.3 MATE, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
W7 Host & Linux Mint 18.2 Virtual Machine

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ian50 View Post
I am attracted to the idea of running Win7 and Linux (Mint 18.3 now, I think) on the same machine, with one of these (preferably Linux) installed through VMWare as I find the idea of constantly rebooting from one OS to the other unappealing.

Why look at this ? Win7 is ending its' career (for example,no one is writing drivers anymore), Win10 is repulsive in its' rudeness to users ... and in any case, MS says Windows is not moving past Win10. So Linux for internet security may be a sensible route, with Win7 available for the (expensive) applications I have - CAD etc.

There is a whole segment on this forum dedicated to the dual boot of Win7 and Linux. I've carefully read through most of them, but the threads are quite old, so UEFI is not covered, the recommended tools don't exist now, or are so changed that the tutorials now make no sense, and in any case I prefer to avoid the dual boot setup. I'm aware that using a virtual OS chews up machine resource, but how much needs to be allocated to a virtual OS is obviously moot.

Any one have a setup like this operating satisfactorily, please ?
I have a setup like the one you describe (but I'm using MBR).

I regularly use a LM18.2 VM in VMware Workstation 9 on a W7 Ultimate Host.
I have VMware Tools installed.
The VM is stored on an SSD.

I not sure that this configuration will protect W7 from Internet malware (when browsing using the VM).
Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?-vmwws9-lm18-2-vm.png
Note:
The screenshot is showing the Console View
Using VMware, you should be able to create an empty VM and then run the Linux Mint Live CD/DVD/USB/ISO on it, just like you can with real hardware.
Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?-vmwws9-use-live-distro.png
You could then test if it works to your satisfaction.
Obviously the Live version will be a bit slow and unresponsive.

I also run Windows VMs in VMware Player 14 on a LM18.3 Host.
I have VMware Tools installed.
I have an XP VM, which I use to play old Windows games and it runs smoothly enough (IMO).
My W10 Pro (1703) VM also runs smoothly (isolated from the network).

Unless you want to run modern games, I would suggest that you use a Linux Host and a Windows VM:
  • You should be able to avoid W7 driver issues
  • Your Linux Host OS shouldn't be affected by Windows malware
  • LM18.3 uses less resources, so more can be allocated to the Windows VM (e.g. cores & RAM)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2018   #7
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

@lehnerus2000


Thanks greatly for that very helpful reply. Looking at the details you provided, the setup is close to one I had roughly figured on.

A few questions, if I can:

a) Win7 needs an NFT disk format and an MBR control. Both of these are easily achievable under UEFI "bios" if Secure Boot is disabled and Legacy Boot enabled. Is this an issue at all, do you think ? (I ask because of your comment on MBR)

b) from my experiences with various UNIX/LINUX versions long ago and far away, working drivers for various hardware configs did present problems. Is this still the case, do you think ? I ask this because in the VM setup screens you posted, the network card (eg) is describes as NAT, so I wonder at this ...

c) you suggest that a Linux box running Win7 in the VM installation is best. Could you say why, please, as then I wonder about "activation", product keys etc - all the MS paraphenalia.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2018   #8
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot
 
 

ian50,

Your questions in post #7 illustrate a common confusion regarding virtual machines. This will become clearer to you once you start working with VMs, but the trick is to pretend a VM is a completely independent machine. It's a separate machine, with its own hard drive, its own sound card, its own network adapter ... albeit, they're all emulated or "virtual", but the point is they are not the same as the real hardware in your host machine.

For illustration, the attached screenshot shows Device Manager running in my host machine (Win7) and Device Manager running in a VirtualBox VM (XP). Notice how different a lot of the hardware devices are. If you can grasp the concept that they are different machines, it will help you put some context around your questions.

A VM has it's own virtual hard disk. Your host machine's disk can be UEFI/GPT/NTFS while your VM's disk is BIOS/MBR/FAT32, for example. They're different machines, so they have no relation to each other. It's a non-issue.

A linux (or Windows) VM will need drivers for the VM's hardware devices, which have no relation to the host's hardware devices. Fortunately, the devices emulated by the virtualization software tend to be more common, popular types, so it's almost a certainty linux (or Windows) drivers are readily available for those devices.

As for your last question, like lehnerus2000 I am running linux VMs (Mint 18 and Ubuntu 16) in a Win7 host, although I'm using VirtualBox while he's using VMware. As for whether it's better to setup Win7 host+linux VM vs. linux host+Win7 VM, I don't think it really matters that much ... though I do note your principle concern is Win7's presumed vulnerability to internet malware.

As Alejandro85 tried to point out to you, Win7 is not going to stop working, and not everyone agrees Win7 will soon become significantly more vulnerable than Win10. But if that is what you're concerned about, then it does change the host vs. VM rationale.

I'll let others address the Windows activation issues (I personally don't see it as a factor, as you'll need to deal with activation regardless of whether it's on the host or the VM), but in terms of potential exposure to malware, it ultimately would be better to have Windows in the VM.

Your host is always going to be exposed to the internet. Your VM is only exposed when you're running the VM. If you think Windows is going to be the more vulnerable OS, then it's better to have it be the VM, where it will be exposed less often.

Note I'm not opining how safe Win7 will be to continue using--that's for another thread. I'm personally not that concerned, but I'm just answering your questions and laying out the rationale.


Attached Thumbnails
Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?-vbox-xp.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2018   #9
ian50

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

@dg1261

Thank you for your reply.

I need to clear up some misconceptions in your comment first.

a) I do NOT think Win7 will stop working - that particular straw man was fronted up without any evidence. There is newer hardware now being marketed on which Win7 will just not install or run and Win7 drivers are not being developed for these.; a very different issue to "just stop working". I am only "junior" on this forum because I've only been reading here for a month or so. [Some very useful threads]. I do think Win7 will slowly become vulnerable to developing insecurities as MS stops patching it (as have all the previous now unsupported OS's), which is why I am looking at the Win7/Linux setup here, although it's obviously not urgent. I certainly appreciate the relevant comments here.

b) I have used VM's before, so I'm fully aware that they appropriate resources to appear and act as if these resources belong to the VM. That was noted in my first post, but I have only used a Unix box hosting VMWare for a Win client, not the reverse. Please, do not add patronising straw men comments to your useful and relevant ones.

Having cleared that air, your comment on the host always being exposed to the internet is valid, of course. My caution about using a Linux host was really about the hardware drivers being available or not for Linux (an issue I had before, although a long time ago), and then trying to avoid having to recover Win7 from an image file and ditching Linux. Since my earlier post#7, I've installed VirtualBox in a Win7 host and tested Mint18.3 in it. So far, the supplied drivers are ok although I've yet to test the printer capabilities; it does appear that using a Linux host for a VM machine running Win7 won't run into any Linux driver obstacles for simple net purposes when the Linux desktop is used for that purpose.

Yes, Win7 activation as a VM client remains a potential issue, but again none of this is urgent - just interesting.

So despite the minor misunderstandings, the comments from yourself and lehnerus2000 have been very helpful indeed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Apr 2018   #10
Botard

Windows 7 guest, Debian host
 
 

Hello, is it okay to add some info here, just for the sake of testing without activation?
There's an option from Microsoft website a premade virtual disk for Windows 7, 8, and 10. I think the XP and Vista were taken out. Windows 7 has a four gig size. You can download it and ready to use. It expires after 90 days but you can roll back using a snapshot. I don't know if the free version of VMware has the snapshot but for Virtualbox, it has. Here's the link of virtual disks https://developer.microsoft.com/en-u...dge/tools/vms/
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 Win7, Linux Mint and VMWare on same machine ?




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