virtual box questions-

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virtual box questions-

Postby eeezzzeee on Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:04 pm

Hey guys-
I have been searching online for the past hour trying to find information about something I'm thinking about doing. I just wondered if anyone may have some answers for me since I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for.
I use Mint at home and totally dig it. I have a laptop that I bring to work with me to do my homework and stuff. My laptop has XP on it and because I unfortunately need XP for some school related things. I have tried to setup a dual boot on it before, but the lovely dell media direct button and partition have made that a living hell to try and accomplish for me, but i digress. Anyway I have been running a copy of slax off a USB drive so when I have some free time at work I can use a linux distro to work on learning programming and linux. This works well except my laptop gets REALLY hot using slax. When running my laptop under XP it stays cool all the time regardless of what im doing, but when I run slax it gets cookin. I tired looking up on google any things I could change to make it run cooler, but didn't find anything that solved my problem. So finally on to what my current idea is. I was thinking about using XP to host a virtual box and run mint inside the virtual box so I can continue learning about programming and linux using my laptop.
Here are a couple of questions I had-
Since virtualbox would basically be a program running in XP, will all my XP settings still be in effect? as in the power management settings and things like that, or would mint settings of things like power management take over while running? From what I can tell it should still be the XP power settings and management, which should still keep my laptop running cool, right? Would that also mean that my HD wouldn't have the spin down problem? Would I be able to connect mint to the internet from the virtualbox to get packages that I would need?
Thanks for any information or ideas you guys can give me on this.
"If it's stupid and it works.... it's not stupid"
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Re: virtual box questions-

Postby sundayrefugee on Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:48 pm

Yes, your XP settings will still be dominant. The things that keep your system cooler compared to slax are the NT kernel, power management, etc... in Windows, and Virtualbox won't change that ;-) That's the cool thing, and the whole point, of virtualization - it doesn't mess with the host system. Everything will be as it is now, *except* for a degradation of performance to some degree, the severity of which depending on your system. Mine, for instance, a Core2Duo with oodles of RAM, I don't notice any negative effect of running Linux in Virtualbox under Windows unless I play a really graphically intense game. But I can give Virtualbox 1Gig and not notice - I'm sure less powerful systems will notice more impact as you head downward, but I don't think it's anything unmanageable, as long as you don't game with Virtualbox running ;-)

As to slax itself heating up your HD, in that area you're probably better off with a Debian-based distro whenever you decide to run it fully, on it's own, again. In particular, I'd recommend a kernel version (assuming 32 bit) of at least 2.6.22 to get dynticks (2.6.23 is even better, as .22 is rather buggy, and I don't for the life of me understand why distros still use it...), and the KDE environment. KDE makes laptop powermanagement very easy, just make sure laptop-mode is installed, cpufreqd or a similar tool is installed, and install Kpowersave and make sure it runs at every startup. In Kpowersave, go to the lowest performance/power trade-off that you can find acceptable.

Edit to add: Of course, virtualizing in any environment, and Windows in particular, is going to naturally send your CPU cycles up, spin your hard drive more often, etc... So I rather doubt you save anything by virtualizing Linux in that regard, unfortunately. While yes, your Windows variables will still be dominant, running any CPU/RAM/HD intensive app (Virtualization included) is going to be a natural powerdrain, thereby minimizing (if not completely eliminating) any intended effect. ie; you'll notice your fans kick on whenever Vbox is running, your CPU will generate alot of heat unless it's a C2D, etc... IMO, I would think you'd be better off, powerwise, by using a Debian KDE distro, such as MintKDE, and booting into it naturally, and following some of my guidelines above ;-)

Have fun!
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Re: virtual box questions-

Postby eeezzzeee on Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:24 am

Thanks for the quick reply.
I am running a centrino duo processor and 2 gigs of ram, so I should be good to go there.
I just wanted to see if I could get some clarrification on one point you made- as far as the increased spin cycles on the hard drive, do you mean that it will still have the high load cycles that many people have complained about, or just more in general due to the programs use of the drive. I have read about really high load cycles on laptop harddrives from the power saving features. So would this problem still be a problem if the windows power saving features were in place, ie not spinning up the drive and stopping it repeatidly, or would it not matter becuase while the virtual drive was running the harddrive would still be controlled by linux.

*edited to add- I don't know slax is heating up my hardrive only, the whole bottom of the computer gets way hot. because im running it off of a usb drive I wouldn't think that it should be doing anything with the hardrive.
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Re: virtual box questions-

Postby sundayrefugee on Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:35 am

Aye, slax shouldn't be doing anything with your HD from a USB stick - so it likely has your CPU going full throttle with no power management features in place. Just running a more modern distro, if nothing else, should cure that, at least somewhat.

As to Vbox - it depends on how you have Windows set up in the first place, but it *shouldn't* do anything but increase hard drive useage like any other program would. Although, now that I see you have a dual-core and 2 gigs of ram, I honestly doubt that would be by much. Don't bet your system on this, as I don't currently own a laptop (you'd be amazed at how easily they break if you don't know they're under your easy chair... :lol: ), but I doubt with your setup you're going to stress your CPU or RAM enough to heat up your system much. I'd honestly think you would be fine. I was more concerned that you perhaps had an older, single core processor and maybe 1/4 as much ram.

Install away, I say! :D If it doesn't work for you, virtual box just deletes like any other program, and you should be able to find some fantastic power-saving options in a debian KDE distro if you look at some of my tips above ;-)

Happy going, and please post if you have anymore questions, or if something doesn't work quite right ;-)
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Re: virtual box questions-

Postby eeezzzeee on Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:16 am

I think I figured out why my computer ran so hot the other night... cause it happened tonight while I was running XP and its so simple I can't believe I didn't realize it the other night. My laptop battery gets really hot when I charge it, and while I was using slax the other night I was charging my laptop. :oops: I just assumed that it was the whole computer, not just the battery, sometimes I just have to shake my head in disbelief at how observant I am.

I have been doing tons of reading on that laptop harddrive issue, and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any one solution, which is why I want to try the virtual box idea. I tried the USB thing as a way to use linux without killing my harddrive. I think I'll try load mint in a virtualbox and see what happens, I'm not too worried about the power settings as far as heat, I am just really worried about the harddive issue that is affecting linux laptop users, hopefully virutal box will be my solution.

Thank you for taking the time to help me, I really appreciate it.
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