Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Questions about virtualization software
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jc0481
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Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by jc0481 »

If you do how is it? I want to run Linux Mint as my main OS. I don't want to have restart my machine every time I want to run M$ Office or some other Windows only program.

Do you like it or don't like it? How's the performance?
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by speedsterharry »

I use VirtualBox for running winXP and a closed-source program I can't get rid of. I tried Wine but emulation wasn't good enough. Performance with VB is excellent from my point of view (Xen or kvm seem to be much faster but difficult to install and picky about machine configuration), and so is the quality of emulation (didn't spot any glitch). What is funny with virtualisation is that WinXP boots order of magnitude faster than on real hardware.
The only problem is when you want to copy/paste from one program on virtualised Windows to another on Linux, that doesn't work (or I don't know how to do it). I have to save file on disk, in a folder accessible from both environments then load elsewhere. Not a big deal in itself, but kind of slows down the workflow.
Last edited by speedsterharry on Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jimallyn
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by jimallyn »

It's been years, but I used to run Win98SE in Win4Lin. Most programs and the OS itself were much more stable running that way than they were running on "bare metal."
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Bolle1961 »

Windows 7 (3GB) and Windows 10 Tech Preview (4GB) in VirtualBox. Works good.

Windows 7 for some GPS tools and software for my Sony voicerecorder
Windows 10 just for fun :)
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Cosmo. »

speedsterharry wrote:The only problem is when you want to copy/paste from one program on virtualised Windows to another on Linux, that doesn't work (or I don't know how to do it).
Open the settings for the virtual machine, go to the general settings, advanced tab and make the appropriate settings for the shared clipboard. You can (and should) do this also from inside a running VM.

Be noted that activating this setting is a potential security leak, as a weakness in one of the systems (host or guest) can affect the other one. So I suggest to disable this setting in general and only enable it in the time it is really needed.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by powerhouse »

I run Windows 7 on a Xen hypervisor with VGA passthrough, which means my Windows VM has access to its very own graphics card using Windows graphics drivers. You can do the same with KVM.

Performance is absolutely stellar - it is as fast or even faster than running Windows on bare metal (see http://forums.linuxmint.com/download/fi ... &mode=view). I'm using this configuration over the past 2 1/2 years with no issues.

BUT: Unless you have suitable hardware and are familiar with Linux, VB is the easier option. But VB won't give you the same performance, but is perfectly sufficient for MS Office and some light gaming.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Flemur »

Do you like it or don't like it?

Win7 in VirtualBox, to run Photoshop. No games, no fancy graphics needed.

How's the performance?

Starting V-box with P-shop already running is faster than starting P-shop in Windows.
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Jim Hauser
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Jim Hauser »

I have been running XP Pro in virtualbox with Mint 17.1 KDE. In my case, even with the CPU & memory set to 50%, it runs better than XP on bare metal. I do not use XP online so there is not much need for all of those security updates. With it I can read and write files to my Home folder. The performance overall is outstanding!

Best of luck and cheers...

Jim
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by John_Brass »

I also installed and use Win-XP in a VirtualBox. I disabled network connection as Win-XP is not protected any more. Everything works well in Windows.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Habitual »

jc0481 wrote:Do you like it or don't like it? How's the performance?
XP/SP3 here on an LM17.1 host w\16G of RAM.
Runs great with 5G of Memory assigned.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by ex_isp »

I frequently use VB with an XP image to run a database ro reloading that I've been unable to launch in Wine or PlayOnLinux.
It's and old DOS exe that contains a lot of pre-made entries for powder/caliber/weight formulas and allows you to add you own
to continue it's growth. Use it a lot and it runs better in a VM than natively in Win.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by shipinomore10 »

I am currently running Ubuntu 14.04 as a host and Windows 10 TR Pro on part of my hard drive and Mint 17.1 Cinnamon and Windows 10 TR Pro in the other half of the hard drive.
You could also run most windows OS's this way. No Problems yet. Why don't you use Libre Office 4.x I have used this and no problems using Office word or Excel sheets and even
using Office and out put from Libre files.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by White Phoenix »

I am using VMware on Linux Mint 17 for a virtual Windows XP Home SP2. I couldn’t get VirtualBox to install XP. As I recall, it was very confusing, so I gave up. VMware installed easily, and runs very well. VMware does fine on most things, but of all the Linux flavors Mint is the only one they haven’t specifically supported. I have a slight problem getting VMware to recognize there are 3D graphics drivers that will support it. Other than that, it works well and plays nice with Linux. So there is really no reason for VMware not taking the final step and support Mint.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by richardsmithson »

I run Windows 7 in Virtual box for OnScreenTakeoff Software by Plan Swift. They do not yet have a Linux application and I have not been able to find any other apps for measuring plan sets.

It works quicker for me than booting Windows and then using the software.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by kyphi »

Regarding transferring data between Windows in VirtualBox and Linux Mint as host, this is easily accomplished by establishing a shared folder accessible by both operating systems. This folder will be present in your home directory in Linux Mint and visible in Windows under Computer, Network Location. No internet connection for Windows is necessary (nor desirable).
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Dave B »

powerhouse wrote:I run Windows 7 on a Xen hypervisor with VGA passthrough, which means my Windows VM has access to its very own graphics card using Windows graphics drivers. You can do the same with KVM.

Performance is absolutely stellar - it is as fast
or even faster than running Windows on bare metal (see http://forums.linuxmint.com/download/fi ... &mode=view). I'm using this configuration over the past 2 1/2 years with no issues.

BUT: Unless you have suitable hardware and are familiar with Linux, VB is the easier option. But VB won't give you the same performance, but is perfectly sufficient for MS Office and some light gaming.
Hi powerhouse,

Just catching up on a few threads. Have to ask, was that part an April fools? :)

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z31fanatic
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by z31fanatic »

lol
I too laughed at the claims that Windows on their virtual boxes runs faster than natively.
Whatever makes them feel good I guess.
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by powerhouse »

David Black wrote:
powerhouse wrote:I run Windows 7 on a Xen hypervisor with VGA passthrough, which means my Windows VM has access to its very own graphics card using Windows graphics drivers. You can do the same with KVM.

Performance is absolutely stellar - it is as fast
or even faster than running Windows on bare metal (see http://forums.linuxmint.com/download/fi ... &mode=view). I'm using this configuration over the past 2 1/2 years with no issues.

BUT: Unless you have suitable hardware and are familiar with Linux, VB is the easier option. But VB won't give you the same performance, but is perfectly sufficient for MS Office and some light gaming.
Hi powerhouse,

Just catching up on a few threads. Have to ask, was that part an April fools? :)

David
No, I wasn't joking. What I did was measuring the performance of my Windows VM using Passmark and compare the results with those obtained by running Windows on bare metal. The results were either the same or sometimes even slightly better for the VM. However, I do use striped volumes for storage so this will bring disk performance to RAID 0 level. I can't explain why the graphics performance is slightly better in the Windows VM.

My Xen configuration allows the use of (nearly) all CPU resources when not in use by Linux.

For practical purposes the Xen setup is as good as bare metal, with a few advantages (fast backup and restore of Windows VM, for example).
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by Dave B »

When you measured guest display performance, was that at same native display resolution as running bare metal?
Also in connection with display, is the bare metal install of Windows running all the latest drivers?

Could any other speed variance witnessed be due to hypervisor installation of Windows being newer, less resources running, compared with a more mature (bare metal) Windows install?

If your system is running on SSD, one reason a bare metal Windows install could provide lower disk performance figures compared with Windows guest running on GNU/Linux host, if the bare metal system was originally cloned from HDD and is possibly not aligned, Mint (host) install was fresh onto SSD. Probably not the case, just trying to help provide reasons why your hypervisor is returning higher performance figures in some areas.

Thanks,

David
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Re: Anyone run Windows in a virtual environment?

Post by powerhouse »

Thanks for the comments, David.

Your points are all very valid and I must admit I don't have good answers.

I did install Windows on a bare metal machine with SSD, but I did not bother doing performance tests. Later I installed Xen with Linux Mint dom0 and a Windows 7 guest.

Once Windows was running as a Xen guest, I ran various Passmark tests and compared the results with the ones provided by Passmark. My graphics card performs slightly better compared to the average result provided by Passmark. All other results were in line with Passmark results. The SSD performance of my 120GB disk almost matched the Passmark result for a 250 GB SSD, almost because 250 GB SSD do perform better.

Passmark provides results for similar systems as comparison. In each and every category my Xen based Windows VM performed the same or better. I haven't checked Passmark for a while now, but for the first time in my life do I own a PC for already 3 years and do not see any need for an upgrade or replacement.

For nothing in the world would I want to give up the convenience of a virtual Windows system as opposed to a bare metal installation. Last week Windows ran out of disk space. I installed a 250 GB SSD, flagged it as LVM-2 partition and added it to my Windows LV, then restored my Windows partition backup to the new disk. I could have just grown the file system, but I didn't want to use two different drives with different performance.

Here my benchmark results: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 82#p797962

Note: My CPU benchmark on the Windows VM was 11906, slightly lower than the bare metal result of 12102.
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