Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

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Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

Postby confused.brit on Mon May 18, 2009 9:11 pm

Have an old (2002ish) 'desktop replacement' laptop which im looking to give a new lease of life. 'Built for XP' so fairly modern, but the graphics driver for the Via graphics card inside is some customise job which, because the company (time Computers) went bust, is no longer available The only working geeric Via driver is unstable, and bluescreens at every single reboot, requiring 'last known good' to boot the system.

It worked well on Mint Elyssa's liveCD, which sparked this idea:

Since the people using it want to use windows as its what they are comfortable in, but it is going to be more stable as a Linux machine, is it possible to have it as a host OS, maybe just a command line only version, that autoloads a VM of windows on boot?
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Re: Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

Postby revdjenk on Mon May 18, 2009 9:43 pm

confused.brit

Wow, you are a Saint!!
And I am glad you are comfortable in doing all this research for them.
To be honest, I have not done this, but knowing that virtualbox is an application, and applications can be started when the whole system is booted (see Preferences > Sessions > Startup Programs tab), and a virtualized machine can be left in a "running" state, I can see where this is do-able.
You should also be able to do this with Mint, as Mint 6 only requires 256megs of ram to run (after it is installed) so you could assign more ram to XP to enable it to run with speed.

However, even after saying all this, I would hope you ask the people using this machine to give Linux 2 weeks to see if they can duplicate everything they need. It would be safer, faster, and be less flaky. Wine's improvements in the last few months has been marvelous, so even some Windows apps they may "need" may run. Maybe they will do some "work" so you won't have to!!!!

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Re: Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

Postby confused.brit on Mon May 18, 2009 10:30 pm

I would like to but these people are pretty technophobic.

These are the people you come across who dont update the AV if it nags incase it breaks something, so i had to find one to silently update for them...

They have heard about Linux and are terrified of it.

This is a long term project right now, i'll test it out on my machine first if I can, then if it does ok, pull in the laptop and set it up this way.

I hope I understand Grub enough to have 2 linux installs, with /home an NTFS parition in the middle or something. 1 labelled boot windows, one being a mint install, so I can try and convert em over time, but they dont get too afraid to turn it on if im not there.
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Re: Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

Postby altair4 on Tue May 19, 2009 7:49 am

This will get you part of the way there and expands a bit on what revdjenk wrote. I'm using my own Win2K VM as an example:

Step 1: Find the exact name of the VM

Open Terminal
Type VBoxManage list vms
This will give you a list of all your VMs in this kind of output:
Name: Win2KMint
Guest OS: Windows 2000
UUID: ba3250b8-5311-4c31-bea3-77b5ab599dac
Config file: /vmlin/VBox/Win2KMint/Win2KMint.xml
Memory size: 996MB
VRAM size: 8MB
Boot menu mode: message and menu


Step 2: Create a Session startup entry

Menu > Preferences > Session > Startup Programs > Add
Name: Win2K
Command: VBoxManage startvm Win2KMint

This will not load Win2K on boot as you desire but it will load Win2K upon login. This requires your users to login in twice - once into linux and once into Win2K. Similarly it will require them to logout twice - once from Win2K and once from linux. There is one other rare problem with this method. When you start VBox in the usual manner - starting the VBox application and then selecting the VM to start - you may from time to time get an error message for whatever reason. If you start the VM directly and there is an internal VirtualBox problem it will just fail.
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Re: Is this doable? Maybe not in Mint but in linux?

Postby Zwopper on Tue May 19, 2009 8:58 am

In theory(at least), you should be able do use Openbox or fluxbox without any panel activated, have gdm set to auto login, start vbox in fullscreen mode with "restore session " at startup and there should only be no login screen - just a "magic" hibernation feel.
This requires the user to "save state" instead of login out completely from windows, ONE new thing to learn.
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