Installing WIndows 8 in a "virtual Environment"

Discussion in 'Installation, Setup and Upgrades' started by LoneWolfMage, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. LoneWolfMage

    LoneWolfMage

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    Hello all ..

    I'm "migrating " over here from the Win7 forums to see all the stuff about Windows 8.

    I've been THINKING of toying around with Win 8.

    I have some guestions about using it in a Virtual Environment.(not in any particular order or perfernce)

    NOTE: totally new to using ANY TYPE of Virtual machine software but I have read a few things about it.

    1) IF i choose to use a "virtual" aspect. I have heard that each time I reboot or shut down the system .. (mind you this was a couple years ago) that the OS of choice would have to be re installed(or something the that respect). Which would mean I would have to keep my system on 24/7 which i do not do. Is this true ?

    2) What "safguards" (other than the obvious, backing up files, etc) should be taken prior to attemptingthis "leap", so at to prevent damage to my main OS and its files ?

    3) going along to my first question, granted yes I know a VM uses ram, and according to the tutorial that is on this site for using Virtual Box, it also makes a "partiton" on my hard drive. Given that, Im' GUESSING that the RAM is freed up and only used when im using the "Virtual OS" but the HD space is ALWAYS used. Or ar both freed up when I shut the system down? OR will always be able to Dual Boot from one OS to the other as I see fit ?

    4) I am aware that Win 8 is still in testing, but I still woudl like to try it out along side win 7,on my desktop ( or possibly even along or replacing Vista on my laptop which it can be cleanly installed as I have a recovery partion on my Laptop, its an HP) Which would YOU ALL suggest that I do ?

    If you want specfic specs on either machine I can provide them in a separate post insted of making this post any long than it alredy is :)

    Sorry if my first post here is a bit confusing but i figured it woudl ask here since this is for Win * specific , rather than posting on the Win 7 forums :)

    ~LoneWolf
     
    LoneWolfMage, Sep 29, 2011
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  2. LoneWolfMage

    Ian Administrator

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    Good to see you over here :D

    First of all, don't worry - running Windows 8 in a virtual environment is very easy to do :)

    In answer to your questions:

    I'd recommend installing VirtualBox, as it's easy to use and works well with Windows 8. You can shutdown the virtual machine and no data is lost at all, so you can just boot Windows 8 whenever you want to test it. You can shut down, restart, etc... without losing the Windows 8 install - it's still there and waiting, just like a normal machine would be.

    It's highly unlikely that you'd lose any data by doing this, as the virtual machine is totally separate and everything is stored on a virtual hard disk - which is just a single storage file within your host operating system. Everything is contained, so the virtual OS can't do anything to your existing operating system.

    The partition is simply within the virtual drive, so it doesn't touch the ones on your existing hard drive - it's simple partitioning a "virtual drive". You can set up a dynamic disk so that space is only used up as required (up to a max), so you could safely set up a 50GB dynamic disk and it may only use 20GB. The RAM and CPU power will only be used while the virtual machine is in use - but you can set sensible limits so that your main system doesn't suffer. If you post your full system specs we can let you know more about suggested settings. When the virtual machine isn't running, you will only be using up extra diskspace.

    First of all, I'd try it on your most powerful machine (your desktop?) in VirtualBox, once you've set it up in a virtual machine you'll see that there's nothing to fear with a virtual OS - it's much easier than dual booting or a clean install, as it runs just like any normal application would. If you really like it, you could then try dual booting or a clean install after you've tried it :).

    Feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to help - it's easier than it sounds to run a virtual machine and very hard to do any damage.
     
    Ian, Sep 29, 2011
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  3. LoneWolfMage

    Thrax

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    Using a virtualized OS installed on a program like Virtual Box is pretty much the same as running any other application on your system. You install Virtual Box, and then you open the Windows 8 ISO with virtual box and install the OS... except instead of installing the OS straight to the hard drive, it goes to a data file that will contain Win8 and all your settings. VBox turns Windows 8 on and off with a little button that says "power on" or "power off." If you ever get sick of Windows 8, you delete the file VBox created and uninstall VBox.

    There's literally no risk to doing this, and everything you could do on that virtualized OS stays with that file. Hell, you could open your browser inside the virtual OS and download a hundred thousand viruses, and it wouldn't matter, because everything remains contained within the VBox file.
     
    Thrax, Sep 30, 2011
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  4. LoneWolfMage

    LoneWolfMage

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    Ian and Thrax~

    Thank you very much for the information it's MUCH appreciated :D.

    It definately quelled my "fears" about running a Virtual Environment:)

    I just have a few more questions also in regards to Virtual Environment ( with Virtual Box)

    If I want to run say windows 8 or even Linux I CAN (I'm guessing by both of your reposnses and what I have been reading) Have more that ONE Virtual Environment, as long as my Hard drive will allow the virtual partions. Correct ?

    And secondly, when you say "power off" or "power on" via Virtual Box I'm guessing again by both of your responses) I would do that by running Virtual box(in windows 7 first to "power on") for each one i want to run and selecting which one I want to run at any given time correct and then with virtual Box in the OS that I am running Virtually i would select "power off". Correct ?

    As far as applications that may potentially run in the selected Vitrual OS, can those be installed within the Virtual OS so I can try them ? Say for instance I wanted to try a program GIMP or some such in Linux could I do that ? or say an Office suite( I Have Office 2010) for Windows (when it comes available) or other Windows applications (other than games). such as say windows messenger or some such. Or shoudl i not even bother unless I do a clean install or a dual boot ?

    As far as system Specs yes my Desktop is my more powerful system

    I currently have on my desktop:
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    Pentium E5700 Dual core 3.3 ghz
    4 GB ram
    (according to my system spec) 232 GB HD w/168 GB free (it is acctually a 250 gb according to my purchase invoice from new egg where the missing approx. 20 GB is I have no idea :confused:)
    Sound Blaster 24 Bit
    Nvidia GeForce 9400(1 gb vid memory)

    Thanks again for you help it's much appreciated :D
    ~LoneWolf
     
    LoneWolfMage, Sep 30, 2011
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  5. LoneWolfMage

    clifford (c_c)

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    Thats correct.

    Each virtual OS installed has the ability to power on or off within the Virtualization software. You can power off one installed OS and then power on another installed OS. What I'm not sure about is if you can run two installs at the same time without having another Virtualization software installed. I do know each Virtual Machine has a required amount of memory when it is powered on.

    There are those who install applications in Virtual Machines first to try them out before actually installing them to their Host Machine. That is the beauty of a Virtual Machine, if you don't approve then a simple delete of the Virtual Partition would remove all evidence of install.

    That would be 250,000,000,000 bytes, which is 232.83 GB because of a 1024 dividing factor. I always hated their deception of using the largest value for a sales gimmick. If you know to multiply by 1000 to get the number of bytes and then divide by 1024 the same number of times, you will arrive at the binary value.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive#Units_of_storage_capacity

    In binary
    • 1 bit value <= 2
    • 2 bit value <= 4
    • 3 bit value <= 8
    • 4 bit value <= 16 ~ 1 hex bit (0123456789ABCDEF)
    • 8 bit value <= 256 ~ 2 hex bits ~ 1 byte
    • 16 bit value <= 65536 ~ 4 hex bits ~ 2 bytes ~ 1 Word
    • 24 bit value <= 16777216 ~ 6 hex bits (often used in color values, 2 hex bits for Red, Green, and Blue)
    • 32 bit value <= 4294967296 ~ 8 hex bits ~ 4 bytes ~ 2 words combined to form a DWord
    • 64 bit value <= 18446744073709551616 / 16 hex bits ~ 8 bytes ~ 4 words combined to form a QWord
     
    clifford, Sep 30, 2011
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  6. LoneWolfMage

    Thrax

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    You can have as many virtual environments as you want. Each environment is just a file on your hard drive that Virtual Box loads. If you don't want that environment any more, you delete it like deleting a file, and it's gone.

    As for powering on and off, you select the environment you want to start in Virtual Box and hit "power on." If you don't want it any more, you can shut it down just like your desktop (start -> shutdown)... except the virtual environment closes when it's done!

    Virtual OSes look and work just like the actual OS on your PC. You can install any program, download any file... whatever. If you've done it on your usual install of Windows, you can do it in a virtual OS too.
     
    Thrax, Sep 30, 2011
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  7. LoneWolfMage

    LoneWolfMage

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    To CC and Thrax~

    TY TY TY for the added info .. now that I know all this i WILL be trying out Win 8 and Linux, as long as I know that it will not harm my main OS or my files

    Thrax, when you said " You can install any program, download any file... whatever" that would mean it goes to the Virtual OS(guessing ) .. so i would therefore have to makke sure i hve enough HD and ram availiable for those particualr programs ? Yes or no ?
     
    LoneWolfMage, Oct 1, 2011
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  8. LoneWolfMage

    Thrax

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    Just assume that a VM will use about 2GB of RAM when it's running. It won't do that by default, but that's how much you should allocate to the VM when you configure it to ensure that what you're seeing in the virtual OS is relatively close to the performance you'd get were it actually installed on your PC.

    As for applications, you would download and install them inside the virtual machine. So, to answer your question, yeah, you need to make sure that installing the application won't increase the size of your VM file beyond what your hard disk can store.

    My Windows 8 file is a little over 11GB with nothing installed. It's a fresh install of Windows 8 to virtual box. So if you plan to install any applications, plan for 20GB free on your hard drive just to be safe.
     
    Thrax, Oct 4, 2011
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  9. LoneWolfMage

    Octagon

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    I find it surprising that nobody gives the following warning, so I have to do that myself. Do not run Windows 8 in a virtual environment. You can do that easily, but you will get a false impression of the look and feel of the OS. I tried that. With enough experience of evaluating OSes in a virtual environment, I was able to notice that I was missing something important, so I switched to dual boot. With Linux the look and feel you get from a virtual machine is close to that of a real thing, but Windows 8 is different.
     
    Octagon, Feb 29, 2012
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  10. LoneWolfMage

    draceena

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    I wonder what you mean by false impression. I remember running Windows 7 in Virtual Box and other than a "slower" overall response (which I expected) I got a very good overall feel for how W7 worked before I even bought it.
     
    draceena, Mar 4, 2012
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  11. LoneWolfMage

    Octagon

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    I mean that the impression you will get will be wrong. I also installed Windows 7 into Virtual Box and that was reasonably close to the real thing. When I installed Linux, the look and feel was nearly identical, even though composing did not work in Virtual Box at that time. With Windows 8 it was different.

    I do not know what causes that. It may be that in Virtual Box the OS has "slower" overall response in an unpredictable manner. Maybe 3D is not accelerated properly while Windows 8 relies on accelerated 3D a lot. Maybe the VM boots differently.

    I even do not dare to say that if you like W8 in VB you will like the real thing too. Being different may work both ways. Maybe it is possible to say that if you find a show stopper in VB, then you may not bother with the double boot.
     
    Octagon, Mar 4, 2012
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