Use a virtual machine -- it's free!

By Phantasm66
May 3, 2007
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  1. Are you getting viruses, spyware or other problems? Could it not be that this is happening because you are visiting dodgy websites, opening files from unknown sources, downloading "freeware" of questionable origin and suchlike? If the answer is yes, then there's no need to stop, just start being a bit more careful, that's all!

    Visiting dodgy sites, downloading "freeware", or anything like that? If so, you might want to consider doing these riskfull things inside a sandbox, such as a VMware virtual machine.

    You can download VMware server for free at

    Surf for your pr0n inside a virtual machine instead, and then your main installation - which you trust for things such as online banking and so forth - never visits a dodgy internet site.

    Install an XP virtual machine, patch it up by visiting windows update, and then start doing all that naughty stuff inside a VM instead!

    If that XP installation gets infected, just delete it and start again! Or restore from a back easily, just by copying some files.
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    lol, my system is suited and booted for just about anything, no virtual machines for me, but thx for the links
  3. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +7

    It might be suited and booted for just about anything, but the best defence would be if it was never threatened at all.
    Saira likes this.
  4. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    Do I have to install Windows on the VM?

    What about downloading programs and stuff?
  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,210   +424

    Vitualization is definitely the direction computing is going these days folks. Many organizations create backups of many vital systems in VMs - then they can have a complete backup of several services all sitting on one piece of scrap metal but in seperate VMs. If you're really into computing and work in the IT field then you should at least dabble in viruatlization - whether it be VMWare or Xen or something else.
  6. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    Do you have to install Windows on it though?
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +7

    You create a virtual machine, which is like an actual real machine, complete with BIOS and everything, and then you install XP in that, yes.

    So, you wind up with XP running on your machine, and XP running inside a virtual machine running on XP running on your machine. You can then surf with the VM XP, knowing that you can just discard this VM if it becomes compromised.

    Its really quite secure, since to the VM, the host OS is just another machine on the network, it has a firewall, etc.

    Not just for XP as a VM, though. You can run Linux inside a VM, have access to the command line, tools, etc, but still be able to surf the Net, use e-mail, games etc on your XP host OS.

    Its the future.

    You have to install XP in the VM as if it was onto a newly built machine ; you then have to install applications onto XP as normal, yes.

    The only difference between the VM and a real machine is that the VM exists only as some files, and runs on any machine that has VMware installed.

    Vmware is available in many flavours, some are free and it runs on Windows and Linux, and is coming to the Mac. VMs created on Vmware under Windows run on Vmware on Linux and vice versa.
    Rwill likes this.
  8. momok

    momok TS Rookie Posts: 2,265

    Wow.. it sounds really cool.

    Which VMware would you recommend then? in terms of useability, stability, resource usage and looks :p ?

    By the way, what system specs would it take to run it? considering XP running within XP, I'm afraid that my system can't handle it.

    Your friendly Momok =)
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +7

    VMware server is free to download and use. Just stick to that.

    Its not CPU intensive (you know a lot of the time your CPU is doing very little in an OS) but it is RAM hungry, the more the better if you get into running VMs, especially several at once.
  10. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    How safe is malware testing on VMs? Check out this post on the Google Online Security Blog.

    Also, is it possible to run a VM on a processor that doesn't support Intel's or AMD's virtualization technologies (Intel VT and AMD-V)?
  11. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    Does anybody know? Thanks in advance.
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +7

    1)A lot safer than testing it on your own, "on the tin" XP install, that's for sure.

    2)Yes. You don't need the hardware support, just the virtualization software such as VMware, virtual PC, Parallels, etc.
  13. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You can run virtual machines on all processors supported by the virtualisation software. I don't know of any that require these extensions.

    As for the security.. We are talking about (zero day) malware that targets an extremly specific device driver. I say zero day because I haven't heard of any VM vulnerabilities/epxloits. That doesn't say much of course - I'm no security expert..
  14. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    Cool. Thanks. :)
  15. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Umm... I am having slight confusion..

    I am attempting to get the virtual machine. I have the following questions:

    Do I download the EXE that has all of the Windows components? I downloaded the 30 mb file, and it wanted me to connect to one.

    When I "install" xp onto the vm, do I put in the disk, open the vm and do it just like I would the real machine? This is all a bit confusing for me. I am just tired of worrying about viruses, etc.
  16. chiaz

    chiaz TS Rookie

  17. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,734   +7

    Hard to install??? In what way? I ran setup, I rebooted, I used the software... What did you think was hard about it?
  18. chiaz

    chiaz TS Rookie

    Well for example, if I'm using VMWare, I have to slipstream my Windows XP CD before I can install it over my SP2-installed system... But for Virtual PC I do not have to do that.

    And in order to use VMWare, one must register for a serial key that would require tons of info. No need to go through this hassle for Virtual PC.

    Loads more too, but I can't remember much now.

    Just my 2 cents. :)
  19. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Hum.. "tons of info" as in "fill in some fields with fake data once"?

    Also, MSVPC supports only Microsoft operating systems. You can forget about trying to run anything else in there.
  20. chiaz

    chiaz TS Rookie

    Hey how did you know what I did? :p

    True, but Virtual PC remains an alternative....

    However if anyone wants to do things like malware testing, VMWare would work much better since it tracks system changes and take snapshots...
  21. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    I know it, because that's what I always do :)
  22. gervol

    gervol TS Rookie

    What about the space the VMware takes?
    You said that the virtual PC can be ran on any computer that as the VMware servre installed, but how much weight the files you have to brought with you for that, the ones that has all the XP file and such that you can only put back to recover a working virtual PC?
    Can we transport our virtual PC on a USB drive and use it everywhere?
  23. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    Well, I installed XP on it (nothing worked out good, all classic looks) and a 4gig hard drive on it, and told it to make the hard drive as I add stuff, and took 2 gigs with nothing installed.
  24. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    *off-topic* Hey mopar man, didn't your name used to be mopar man 44?
  25. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    *off topic* and weren't you in IRC chat the other night as mopar man 44?

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