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Windows 7: A complete sandbox?

30 Oct 2009   #1
jbmadsen

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
A complete sandbox?

Hello everyone.

After installing Windows 7 Ultimate, I found that one of my usual programs (Autodesk Maya 2009) doesn't quite work as it used to. I can install it and use it as (almost) normal, but there are querks here and there.

Also, I've always disliked installing new programs on my work PC if I'm not quite sure the program is gonna last. Eventually it just bloats my PC and forcing me into a re-format to get a speed of a fresh installed PC back.

Installing multiple IDE's to test which one works best will usually do that to a machine, as well as trying anti-virus, reg. cleaners, etc.

Thus, I would love if anyone have an idea for a complete sandboxed virtual machine to install Windows XP on. By that I mean a program where the entire virtual machine is placed in a single file or folder, and where programs installed in this virtual machine leaves no traces on the host, except the size of the virtual machine.. That is, no reg. files or anything, that will bloat up and slow the host machine.
Also, having an easy way to back-up a single file/folder once the primary applications are installed for replacing itself once in a while to avoid having to re-install, would be awesome.

I have been looking into the Virtual Windows that comes with (or is downloadable) with Windows 7 Ultimate, however, I have read that it is coupled with the host, and that makes me wonder how much it leaves on the host that I have no control over.

And of course, a free solution would be most lovely.

Anyone have an idea for a virtual machine to look into?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Oct 2009   #2
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there

Have a look at something like vmware server - you just define data stores wherever you like on your network and then access the virtual machines in these data stores. These run in the background although of course they still need a host Windows system to run on. You can power on these automatically at start up and you don't need to have a user session for these vm's to be active -- unlike vmware workstation where the user has to be logged on to the session to use the vm.

You access them via a web interface. The vmware server is FREE.

So whilst vmware server still needs to run on a host machine once it's started up the various virtual machines, any authorized user can log on to the console snap in to gain access to whatever VM that may be running - even if they are remote users on the internet.


If you want just a minimal core OS then look at vmware's esxi. Again the vm's can run on data stores anywhere in your network.

It's a bit fussy on what hardware it runs on and you'll need at least 2 DECENT commercial quality network cards and a separate machine to control the vm's from but it uses minimal resources so the guests can really be tested properly.

This is also freeware. You could also try the HYPER-V in Microsoft's W2008 server (download W2008 server FREE from tecnet / MSDN if you are a member) or get the trial.

There are also commercial products like ESX - but you need commercial quality servers / blades for running these and ESX is not cheap.

Suggest you do a bit of googling on vm infrastructure as there's loads of possibilities -- some cheap, some not. Depends on your exact requirements.

Many Server farms provide facilities to their customers which are in reality vm machines individually tailored to each customers requirements.

Here's a screenshot of an XP virtual machine running under vmware server.

Cheers
jimbo


Attached Thumbnails
A complete sandbox?-vmconsole1.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2009   #3
HughShaw

Windows 7 Professional (x64)
 
 

Hey buddy, you sure installed a lot of programs on your virtual XP. Is there any reason you don't just use them in Windows 7 and only use XP for older apps?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Oct 2009   #4
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HughShaw View Post
Hey buddy, you sure installed a lot of programs on your virtual XP. Is there any reason you don't just use them in Windows 7 and only use XP for older apps?
Hi there
That virtual machine was created by a simple P2V (Physical to Virtual) conversion.

99% of that stuff runs on W7 without a problem -- I was actually just testing converting a Real to a Virtual machine with vmware converter and it seemed to work pretty well too -- those apps all work on the vm as well.

In normal use I just load one or two apps on a "virginal" vm. I kept an activated copy of a base XP machine which I use as a "master" XP system.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #5
jbmadsen

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Fantastic jimbo45.

I played around with Vmware Server/Player for a while, and it seems to be exactly what I needed.

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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