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Windows 7: regarding running a portable OS

12 May 2013   #31

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

If you have just selected the last post, see my previous post detailing resolution of problems i encountered with the Win 7 and Win 8 guests.

Here is how my setup works and where I am headed next.

Because the updating process is time consuming and can be unattended with the exception of restarts, I decided to push this machine a little while prepping for finals. I launched all three guests and began updating all of them while doing exam prep on the host. I had Task Manager open in the performance tab so it would catch my peripheral vision if there were any big changes. The highest meory usage I observed was around 7.5GB. Processor usage stayed around 40-50% most of the time. Update installations at reboot sometimes jumped to the 70-80% range. It seems that my machine can handle my project well.

Here is the resource usage with all four OSes open to the desktop with no programs running. I am pleased with the outcome.

regarding running a portable OS-task-manager.png

My next step is going to be configuring the guest server. I am thinking that my best bet will be to use a bus topology at first to avoid extra virtual hardware (switches, etc.) before I have had an opportunity to learn how to configure and use the three NICs on the guest systems and introduce the guests to the server. I have previewed the methods. I just need a little time to get the details straight in my mind and test them.

...anyway... This is how I see the initial network topology. This is the first time I have used MS Visio; so please excuse the quality. I will get better at it.

regarding running a portable OS-topology.png

That's it for now.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2013   #32
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

drpepper I do have a question. You have 4 Windows systems. Do you have to have 4 different COA to use all 4 of them at the same time?
1 Host Windows 7
1 Server (VM)
1 Windows 7 (VM)
1 Windowd 8 (VM)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2013   #33

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

Layback Bear,

good question ... The answer is not exactly ... The OSes are genuine and activated ...

As defined here, What is the Windows Certificate of Authenticity? , the COA is a physical label on the device or on the box or sleeve containing the physical installation media. Downloaded installation files cannot, by their electronic nature, have the physical label. With that said, here is the scoop on the "genuine" (using Microsoft's jargon) nature of my licensing.

The host Win 7 is activated using the COA on the computer. The three guest OSes were downloaded from Dream Spark (formerly known as Academic Alliance). Dream Spark is a partnership of sorts between Microsoft and academic institutions which have entered the partnership with Microsoft to allow students to obtain free MS software. I don't know if partnership is the technically correct term or not, but it is descriptive. The terms for the downloaded software include permanent licensing and a 24 month grace period to allow for use on a new (or other) computer at a later date. These are single machine licenses by terms of the EULA.

Some of the software I downloaded is in the form of plugins for MS Office or requires no activation. The remainder of the software includes an activation key in the standard 25 character format. (five characters-five characters-five characters-five characters-five characters). The OSes do require activation. I successfully activated each of the guest OSes online during the creation of the respective VMs in VBox. In the past I have encountered problems when activating online because of changes in system hardware. I had to call Microsoft to activate the software in question. I encountered no such problems.

One of the virtualization gurus is welcome to clarify this, but here is my understanding. One of the design purposes of virtual machines is to allow for the running of an OS in a virtual machine at the same time the host is running. This eliminates the necessity of dual (or more) booting. I chose virtualization for this exact purpose. I can move my cursor with the mouse to any of the open windows and click to make that window active.

Why did I choose this method? The topics of virtualization, networking, server/client relationships, and the Windows 8 OS are all new to me. This represents my own personal lab for learning and testing. The testing aspect of a virtual machine is another of the design purposes of virtual machines. As I run into questions or stumbling blocks in a VM, I can make the host window active to research answers and/or solutions without modifying the state of the VM in question. Once I start building the network by introducing the guests to the server or start modifying various configurations of the server after the network has been built, I can monitor the results by making the window of my choice active. It is like having multiple physical machines and seeing in more or less real time what is happening on all of them.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 May 2013   #34

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit


Sorry, I missed your reply because it was on a previous page of the thread. Thanks for the heads-up on the 32-bit host running a 64-bit guest. I probably missed that because all four OSes are 64-bit.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2013   #35
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Thank you drpepper for going into that in depth answer to my question. Looks like you got things going in the proper direction. Please keep us informed on how things go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2013   #36

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

You're welcome, Layback Bear.

If things go as I envision them, this will be a chronicle of all steps, successes, and failures. Maybe it should be called a blog of sorts. I am hopeful that I am not the only one who learns in the process. The way I see it, sharing the learning experience is just as worthwhile as the successful completion of my project.

Feel free to ask questions as they arise. I can learn from your questions. Answering them will reinforce the topics in my mind.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2013   #37

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

I would like some feedback from someone with a good understanding of networking.

Networking is one of the topics which my project will help me understand better. Before moving on to configuring the guest server, I thought it may be wise to examine network connections via ipconfig /all. I enabled shared clipboard to simplify viewing of the network connections side-by-side on the host.

I found the following connection details to be identical for all three guests.
Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter 
   DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
   Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes 
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :
   DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 
   DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . :
   NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Enabled
Everything looks good to me except the IPv4 address/subnet mask combo is identical. I am thinking that I need to establish subnetting to before attempting to create the network. Is that correct? If yes, should I do that before starting to configure the guest server?

I was concerned that the NICs may have had identical MAC addresses. The following excerpts put that concern to rest while adding another question.

Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 08-00-27-D5-9F-77 (win7 guest)
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 08-00-27-91-8A-0C (win8 guest)
Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 08-00-27-D0-FC-60 (server guest)
These addresses post no potential conflicts. However, I found NIC options in VBox. In the user manual (6.1 Virtual networking hardware) two server versions are listed: Intel PRO/1000 T Server (82543GC) and Intel Pro/1000 MT Server (82545EM). The T Server is described for use with Windows XP, and the MT Server is described for OVF imports from other platforms. I see no reason why I need either of these server NICs. I suspect that the Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter is sufficient for my purposes. Is that correct?

The DNS Servers' IP address in the guests is shared with the host, which is the default gateway for the host. I see no need to change this at present. I believe any needed changes (if any) will be made in the server configuration. Is that correct?

Thanks for your feedback.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2013   #38

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

I will ask if someone with networking knowledge can assist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2013   #39

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

thanks ... much appreciated!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2013   #40

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

Several hours of research online and in books has given me tentative answers to the questions posed in my earlier post. I think a little time spent in preliminary note taking and calculating subnet options will at least give me a viable foundation for proceeding.

here is what I believe I need to do in a nutshell:
1) spend some time researching domain name options for the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) requirement to establish the server as a domain controller --> don't know yet if I have to lease a domain name, or if I can get away with using a unique available domain name without a lease.
2) use existing NICs as is
3) perform some more configurations (active directory, etc.) on the server before worrying about the clients
4) decide on subnetting and IP address assignment for clients --> configuration to be performed when joining the network
5) DNS and DCHP configuration to be performed when joining each client to the network
6) add win7 client to network
7) add win 8 client to network --> more difficult, some additional requirements for compatibility with the server

Details will follow after mapping out a strategy for my next steps. I'm not sure at this point whether I will be ready to move the guests to the external drive after performing the steps above. I have found virtually no information about running a network inside a VM. There is an overabundance of information (information overload) about networking and virtualization as separate topics. Initial reading suggests that remaining configurations and testing can be performed when running the network from the external drive. I can't be sure until I try it. As I observe behavior I should be able to confirm or deny that theory.

If anyone can shoot holes in my plan, feel free to do so. Receiving correction is part of the learning process.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 regarding running a portable OS

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