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What Virtual Machines to test install of Win XP Home Sp3?


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Hi,

:hello:

I am a newbie and I looking at the different virtual machines. There seem to be quite a few around and I am a little confused about the different functionalities between them.

I'd like to reproduce as well as possible my Toshiba Satelitte L25-S1216 laptop for a fresh install of Windows (OEM) XP Home Sp3.

Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, WMware Player and Workstations seem to be the most popular. I am on a budget and would like to choose the most suiatble and free application for my current project. Also, I'd like to get familiar with one as long as it fits the bill. :thumbup

I have been trying to look for review of the different VM used to test Windows Home Sp3 (host and guest) system.

Thank you in advance to point me to the right forum and/or share you expertise. :D

A newbie.

Donat

Edited by dpluigi
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Thanks for this feedback. VMware seems to be really popular. What are the main difference between VMware Plare and VMWare Workstations relevent for testing XP sp3?

Also between Virtual PC and VMWare Player or other VM which free VM would you recommend then?

Note that I am only interested in 32bit machine at least next year, i.e. until I get a new computer in the New Year hopefuly.

Thanks,

Donat

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I see... Could I then use VMWare Workstations Free Trila for 30days to generate the image that I could then keep using later on with VMPlayer?

Regarding MS Virtual PC 2007, XP Home edition is not listed on the host system requirement. Does it mean it could run just fine on XP Home (host/client) but it is not supported or would there be any instability or hardware/driver incompatibility?

(What I read is not clear cut so far).

Anyhow, I think I start getting my mind around all this to get started.

Thanks,

Donat

Edited by dpluigi
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I checked VirtualBox and it looks good. The over poll so far on other threads I read since is leaning towards VMWare and VirtualBox getting stronger support and reviews as it develops.

I read somewhere, maybe a comment by Crahak himself that one could use VMware Server in place of VMware workstation, not as a server though... and its free too.

Also on http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/view/web/20/ it is explained that to create a Virtual Machine for VMWare player there is a free application called VMX Builder.

Bacj to square one. Which of these should I take the time to learn and use resources for as a new tools for futur use too?

Which is easier to get started without compromising the quality of a solid test bed to try my first unattended installs for Windows XP Home in preparation to a real full install on my pysical Toshiba latop?

Thanks again,

Donat

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I read somewhere, maybe a comment by Crahak himself that one could use VMware Server in place of VMware workstation, not as a server though... and its free too.

It was probably me indeed. And yes, it does work great. The two main differences between workstation and server (for most practical purposes):

-workstation has a snapshot manager (which can be useful for testing some stuff) which server lacks

-server is also meant to start VMs without you having to login on your PC (not that anything forces you to make use of the feature)

So unless snapshots are worth $189 to you, then sure, VMWare Server works fine for testing.

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This is it. I am using the VMWare Workstation for now - I can have a go for 30 days to learn the ropes.

Is there a general guide to duplicating/emulating the physical hardware system on a Virtual Machine.

Since I will experiment with multiple partition of a single drive, I am starting with one full black disk (define as one file). Showtime to replicate physical machine behavior into a VM...

It looks good and manageable for me, but my limited hardware knowledge shows. I wish there would be an automated way to attempt to replicate a physical device hosting the VM to create a virtual twin?! (I looked that up but did not find an answer, maybe itis too specific)?!

So here goes specific questions:

For the memory is it critical and advisable to select the same amount as in the real machine? (I have chosen 1/2 my real amount, which is higher than teh recommended amount).

Regarding partitioning, once the VM is first powered on and the full Blank virtual HD defined... running a partion program from boot cd will safely work on the virtual disk image, right... In my case the virtual disk will be on my external usb HD, where my current system backup image reside and there will be 3Gb left on it after I am started. Is it safe for the rest of the data on this shared external HD? WHen I excecute teh VM HD partition it will tell me that I am on the VM machine? ARe teh real and VM HD and storage hd isolated with default setting (i.e. preventing me to delete or format the real storage hardware)?

Also, I have an internal CD RW/DVD ROM and an external DVD burner plugged with usb2. The internal drive cannot read dvd reliably and plainly fails to. Both in real and with the Virtual machine would I be able to boot from the usb dvd player?

In case I'd like to use the physical drive, does the Virtual Device Node should be selected with default selection of IDE 1:0 New CD/DVD (IDE)?

I got location 0(0) displayed on the physical device property in Device Manager, but in VMware setup 0:0 is labelled "Resevered". How can I found the equivalent info on my physical machine with Device Manager?

How can I define such usb external dvd player in the VM (i.e. not forcing to create but testing that the system would detect in at say during the install)?

Would the ability to boot from a usb dvd player imply a modification of my iso/physical unattended CD I have prepared for XP Home install (e.g. wintnt.sif)?

Also, I have three usb ports on the laptop I am replicating. This might be a dumb question but they will added/up as device are plugged in, i.e. no need for extra controller/hardware, isnt 't it?

Sorry for the slew of questions... trying to make sure I set-up the intended VM for the purpose of a install test.

I am getting exited with firsts, first go at a virtual machine and first go at trying out my custom XP install... :w00t:

Thank you for your reply,

Donat

Edited by dpluigi
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I created 4 partitions on the VM with Acronis Disk Director run from a boot CD.

It went well, but after formating the drive and the letter were assigned, I have not be able to boot.

During the boot from CD, including using a XP CD install, the boot up fails and the message:

"NTLDR is missing.

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart".

The solution I found on the web assumes that I can boot up and copy files over to correct the issue.

I checked in the Bios that the CD is read first.

Also, during the partitioning with Disk Director I set the Primary drive C: to active. Afterwards I realized it was not necessary since I only have defined one primary drive, the other aren't. There is not operating system installed on C:.

All partitions were formatted to ntfs wih default settup.

Did I do something wrong in the partitioning or formating?

Shall I delete the VM and start from a new one?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Donat

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I am wondering if by selecting C: are primary and active partition, it would prevent loading from anywhere but c:, which is empty (hence ntdlr missing on a healthy and normally bootable cd(s)).

The problem now is I can use disk director from bootcd, so in any case I am stuck since I can't find a way to load my bootable CD - the VM stops after Bios is loaded.

Acting on hunch, I will delete my current disk and repeat the procedure but create c: partition just primary. Does this seems like a reasonable explanation?

[i did not hear from anyone on that yet, so I am answering my own question and will post if this resolve my issue.]

Donat

Edited by dpluigi
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I'd just create the partition(s) then let xp format and make one active - have you actually installed xp on the vm?

To boot a cd afterwards you'll need to set the boot order in the bios of the vm, or press the right key on startup.

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