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Windows™, Windows™, Windows™ (and VirtualBox)

Posted 2007-04-30 Tags: None

So a while ago, I leaped into Ubuntu, and I haven't really looked back very much. I mean - sure, I use Windows™ to play games, inasmuch as I play games anymore, and I've used Media Center™ a bit, but not very much. At work, I've been using Ubuntu Edgy Eft almost exclusively (with a mind to update to Feisty Fawn soon), but I find that I need to do more and more testing in a Windows™ environment. On my laptop, I dual boot, but as my laptop is my very own personal device, I'm not bringing it to work anymore and I can't do testing that way. So, I've decided to go with some kind of Virtual machine. The software I'm going with is called VirtualBox.

I've been fairly impressed with VirtualBox thus far. It's been pretty intuitive to use, because I never read the instructions and I'm using it fairly effectively. Hilariously, the hardest thing to deal with has been installing Windows™. I decided to install the copy of Windows™ that I should have on this computer (because it's difficult to purchase a non-Windows™ computer from our preferred vendor listing). Unfortunately, this copy of Windows™ had already called back to the mothership one time before I deleted it off the hard drive, so when I tried to verify my copy of Windows™, it choked up a lung and told Microsoft™ I was evil. I had to phone Microsoft™ and get a new code for verification (which was interesting on its own - I had to read out a 42 digit number to a computer, and then it got to the "this may be a pirated, I'm directing you to a Person™" phase, I had to read out the 42 digit number to a person. I'm sure the other people in my cubefarm were not impressed).

By default, the virtual machine gets 192 megs of RAM, which I have since found out is just enough to start upgrading to IE7™, but not enough to finish the job. My install crapped out on me and I couldn't get that virtual machine back. I tried again - same thing. Then I upped the RAM to 512 and things are flying easy. I've got a snapshot at a few different stages of installation, so if something goes horrendously wrong, I can just backtrack and start again really easily. All things told, this is a very painless way to run Windows™ at work and not have to really install it, and, all told, it only took me about an hour and a half to get everything working. That's the install time of VirtualBox and Windows XP™, with a couple of screw-ups in the middle.

Oh, and the name of my new virtual Windows ™ machine? Moriarty, because my desktop is called Sherlock.