Using Windows 7 in a Virtual Machine For All Browsing

  1. I could use some help figuring out what really works.

    Purpose: Malware seems to be getting much nastier and this is being directed beyond businesses towards ordinary folks. I want to protect myself against this stuff - like ransomware. I have backups but it looks like even backups can get 'infected'.

    Goal: Be able to clean out 'browsing' as it seems this is the major vector for this stuff.

    Issues: Uncertain what to use: vmware? Uncertain about licenses: Windows 7 can only be run as boot o/s or guest o/s, but not both. If I set Linux as boot o/s, how do I install and keep Windows 7 upgrades? Can I set up a dual boot: Windows 7 boot o/s and Linux boot o/s with Windows 7 guest or does that violate license even though I am using only one at a time? Can I use cloud storage somehow to keep emails, downloads, etc on a more permanent basis and then access them when Windows 7 is the boot o/s?

    Alternatives: Is there a better way?
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,158   +599

    Proper configuration and usage habits go a L O N G way in avoiding infections.

    Just to restate some well known guidelines:

    1) keep your OS updated
    2) run attached to a router with NAT and SPI features
    3) run with the Windows Firewall active and at home use the PRIVATE network and at a hotspot, use PUBLIC
    4) NEVER run daily activity from the admin account or from an account with admin rights
    5) use an anti-virus which will scan email and your weblink clicks to avoid bad content
    6) I use SpywareBlaster to control ActiveX components
    7) run your browser(s) with little or no add-ons.

    and stay off the shared video and porno sites as they tool are a major vector.

    Implementing the above clear back to XP/pro, I have not had any issues.
    Siavash and Cycloid Torus like this.
  3. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,214   +200

    I'd agree that you can't use the same copy of Windows 7 as boot and host in VMWare Player. I haven't tried but I have two hard drives in my desktop with the same copy of Windows 7. I can't remember what went wrong now but it was a really bad idea to have the two hard drives connected at the same time. I have them both in the desktop but only one drive connected at a time. It's my approach to a backup after backup software failed me at a crucial time.

    Inside VMWare Player I have Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. The latter was installed mainly out of curiosity and I've not booted into it for ages. It could be used for safer surfing within Windows 7.
    Cycloid Torus likes this.
  4. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,541   +288

    Great reply, thank you!

    Some dumb questions:
    admin account: is there anything I cannot do from an unprivileged account with admin password authorization?, is there any reason to use an admin account at all?
    anti-virus: scan email and weblink clicks - suggestions / recommendations?
    ActiveX: thought Chrome did not have that, still at risk?
    "shared video": does that include YouTube, too?

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