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Windows 7: Windows 7 End of Life > Browse Internet using Linux

31 Jul 2019   #1
cellsee6

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 
Windows 7 End of Life > Browse Internet using Linux

I like Windows 7 Pro. Support for it will end soon. I have 6 computers all networked running Windows 7.
I use Media Center . I understand there is no such program available in Windows 10.


I hope I am posting my question in the correct forum.


Window 10 Pro upgrades seem to cost about $150 each. I’d like to avoid paying $1,050 to upgrade my computers. I am not a rich person.


My questions:
Q1.) I’m wondering if anyone has installed Virtual box on their Windows 7 computers and use the Virtualbox / Linnux guest for all Internet use. I searched the Seven forum for this information but could not find any relevant posts.


Q2.) What was your experience Virtual box onto my Windows 7 and install a version of Linnux in Virtual box and use the Virtual box / Linnux software for all Internet searches, etc?


Q3.) What version of Linnux did you use?


Thank you for your help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
31 Jul 2019   #2
AK6DN

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cellsee6 View Post
I like Windows 7 Pro. Support for it will end soon. I have 6 computers all networked running Windows 7.
I use Media Center . I understand there is no such program available in Windows 10.

I hope I am posting my question in the correct forum.

Window 10 Pro upgrades seem to cost about $150 each. I’d like to avoid paying $1,050 to upgrade my computers. I am not a rich person.

My questions:
Q1.) I’m wondering if anyone has installed Virtual box on their Windows 7 computers and use the Virtualbox / Linux guest for all Internet use. I searched the Seven forum for this information but could not find any relevant posts.

Q2.) What was your experience Virtual box onto my Windows 7 and install a version of Linux in Virtual box and use the Virtual box / Linux software for all Internet searches, etc?

Q3.) What version of Linux did you use?

Thank you for your help.
I run Win7ult64b on my main PC, which is a 4core/8thread Xeon E5-1620v2 with 64GB of memory and 512G SSD. Soon to be upgraded to an 8core/16thread E5-1680v2 with 128GB of memory.

I installed VirtualBox and then installed Win10pro64b inside VirtualBox.
Did not (yet, maybe never) buy a Win10 license. It runs fine without activation.
There are some limitations (ie, you can't personalize your setup) but that is small potatoes (cost $0).

I also used disk2VHD from Microsoft system tools to image my Win7pro64b laptop disk into a file.
And now I can run Win7pro64b in VirtualBox.
I did need to purchase a new Win7 license for that (cost $42).

I also have a VirtualBox installation of Ubuntu Linux 18.04.2LTS that I have setup (cost $0).

So I can run Win10, Win7, Linux in VMs on my current Win7 box. Haven't decided what base OS to move to after Win7 goes off support next year. May stay Win7 as is, go to Win10, or go to Linux. Undecided.

If you just want secure web browsing, google 'sandboxie' for a program to run any application (like a browser) in an isolated sandbox. Most secure way to browse the internet, other than an isolated VM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jul 2019   #3
AK6DN

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

And by the way, to make Windows 10 look and operate very much like Windows 7, install these applications:


google "shellfolderfix" and install/configure
google "winaero tweaker" and install/configure
google "open-shell (classic-start)" and install/configure


with these installed you can make Win10 do a very passable imitation of Win7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Aug 2019   #4
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10 multiboot
 
 

I've had no trouble at all using a VirtualBox linux VM with a Win7 Pro host. That's the way I've been doing internet browsing for around 5 years now. It's worked well enough that I even quit using any AV software (other than the built-in Windows Defender) several years ago.

In fairness, though, I'm probably not your typical internet user. I don't follow random links and don't have Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts, so that may give you an idea how sociable I am. I'm just not on the internet as much as most people seem to be.

I also create known-good, clean snapshots of my VMs (Mint 18, Ubuntu 16, and a range of Windows VMs), and when ending an internet session always return to the snapshot, so it wouldn't be easy for malware to gain a foothold in my system.

How well all of this might work for you would probably depend on what kind of internet user you are and what kind of websites you frequent (in terms of complexity and system resource requirements). If they're not too demanding, a linux VM running Firefox should work as well as from your Windows host.

If you download files, though, be aware that it's more difficult to move files from your linux VM to your Windows host. It can be done, but it's not as easy as you've been used to managing downloads. I have a Windows/Samba network share on my LAN, and use that as a conduit between linux and Win host.

My main system is i7-7700, 16GB ram, and 500GB SSD boot disk. I'm using VirtualBox 4.3. I know there are newer versions of VBox, but every time I've changed VBox versions my Windows VMs seem to lose their activation status, so as long as VBox 4 works fine for me, I see no reason to upgrade it and go through another annoying round of VM activation hassles.


Quote:
I have 6 computers all networked running Windows 7. I use Media Center. I understand there is no such program available in Windows 10. [...] Window 10 Pro upgrades seem to cost about $150 each.
FWIW, I believe you can still upgrade to Win10 free from Win7. That won't help with Media Center, of course, but it should take away cost as a deterrent.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2019   #5
cellsee6

Windows 7 Pro 64bit
 
 

Thank you all for posting such interesting and informative answers.


Follow up questions:
All my Windows 7 Pro computers are used machines. They all have valid Windows 7 licenses but no installation media.


- AK6dn: Where can I find more information about disk2VHD?
From what you wrote it seems disk2VHD creates installation media? From what I understand, Virtual box requires valid installation media to install an operating system.


“Sandboxie”: Never heard of this before. I will investigate.


Thank you for the ideas on how to modify Windows 10.


dg1261: Thank you for the information. Thank you for describing how you use Win7 host with Linux guest.
I know nothing about Linux. Where can I learn more about how to create a Windows / Samba network share?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2019   #6
AK6DN

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cellsee6 View Post
Thank you all for posting such interesting and informative answers.

Follow up questions:
All my Windows 7 Pro computers are used machines. They all have valid Windows 7 licenses but no installation media.

- AK6dn: Where can I find more information about disk2VHD?
From what you wrote it seems disk2VHD creates installation media? From what I understand, Virtual box requires valid installation media to install an operating system.

“Sandboxie”: Never heard of this before. I will investigate.

Thank you for the ideas on how to modify Windows 10.

dg1261: Thank you for the information. Thank you for describing how you use Win7 host with Linux guest.
I know nothing about Linux. Where can I learn more about how to create a Windows / Samba network share?

disk2VHD is part of the SysInternals Suite from Microsoft. More info, and download, here:
Windows Sysinternals - Windows Sysinternals | Microsoft Docs


With disk2VHD it is possible to (essentially) take an image of a disk on a physical system and turn it into a .vhd file which can then be configured into VirtualBox as a drive. If the original disk was bootable, the .vhd image will be bootable. One caveat for Windows is having (all) the correct drivers available in the original disk image that will work on VirtualBox. For example, I used AHCI disk controller on my laptop Win 7, but had to configure IDE disk mode on VirtualBox instead.


The caveat with Win 7 OS licensing is HOW the system was licensed. If it was via an OEM license (like my original Lenovo T530 laptop) once I imaged the system disk to .vhd and moved it over to VirtualBox the Windows 7 OEM license was no longer valid (not activated). So I just bought a new non-OEM license to use for $42 (last week; still being sold by some ... NOT microsoft).


For transferring files between Windows (or Linux) in VirtualBox, and a Windows (or Linux) host, two ways work. Using standard Samba Windows file sharing, just like between two PCs. Or with VirtualBox you can define a 'shared folder' from the host which will map into a (virtual) network share on the guest.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 End of Life > Browse Internet using Linux




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