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How to virtualize my desktop (Vista or XP)

Posted on 2008-10-12
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I am trying to understand what virtualization can do on my laptop... I have 2 of them, one running XP Pro and the other running Vista Home Premium.

The problem is that I develop on one laptop in Visual Studio 2008 (ASP.NET 3.5) and on the other laptop  in Visual Studio 2005 (ASP.NET 2.0), I tried running both developments on the same laptop but that caused many problems.

What I would like to understand is this: which virtualization solution is out there that allows me to run these 2 developments on either laptop but in different (separate) spaces (containers, hyper-visors? I don't know the terms to describe)

I know there are many server products out there, but I am looking for a solution on one of my laptops...
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Question by:conrad2010
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by:jhyiesla
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There are several solutions.  Basically what a Virtual machine (VM) does is create a new "PC" on top of a real physical PC. If you're a mac user you can do the same thing with Windows XP and Vista on top of the Mac OS X.  You start up the virtualization software like VMware or Virtual PC as you would any other app.  Then you create a virtual computing environment be defining the amount of had drive space and memory that you want to devote to this virtual PC. Then you insert your XP or Vista CD and start the virtual PC and it goes through a normal install of the product, but all within the virtual environment. The entire virtual PC lives within a file on your real PC.  The virtual PC runs on top of your real one so you can have Vista as your real OS and XP as your virtual or any combination and, if you have enough resources, you can run more than one virtual machine at the same time. Each VM has it's own C: drive and no VM will interact with the real C: drive or anything that your real OS recognizes unless you share drive space by mapping a drive.

There are a couple of things that are necessary to run any virtualization software. You have t have adequate RAM.  If your real OS requires 1 GB to do what you need to do and you create a VM that needs another 1 GB, then if you don't have more than 2 GB of RAM, one or the other will suffer.  The same thing applies to your CPU and your hard disk space.

You also have to have legitimate licenses for all your software.  So if your physical PC is running Vista and you want a VM of XO then you also need a real license of XP. If you also want to run a Vista VM, you wold need another license of Vista,

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LeeTutor earned 350 total points
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I'm not sure I understand your question, but let me see...  First of all, I am acquainted only with two virtual OS environments:  Microsoft's Virtual Pc 2007, and VMware's VM Player.  My pc is a Vista Ultimate desktop machine.  I run several editions of Microsoft Windows as virtual machines on it:  Vista Home Premium Edition, XP Home Edition, and XP Pro Edition.  I also have a friend garycase, a fellow expert on Experts-Exchange who runs VMware Server on one of his many pcs, and he built me a VMware virtual machine of Vista Ultimate x64, which I run with VMware Player.  (I also have several different flavors of Linux as virtual machines that I sometimes play around with using VMware Player.)  As far as I know, there is no virtual machine that will allow you to run either of your versions of Visual Studio BY ITSELF.  (Other experts may step into your question more experienced than I in this area and contradict me.)  As far as I know, you have to install a version of Windows XP as a virtual OS, say, on your Vista laptop, and then under your "real" OS, namely Vista, you could run one version of Visual Studio, and under the virtual OS of Windows XP you could run the other.  I do this with respect to Internet Explorer.  Under Vista, of course, I use its version 7 of IE, both on the real OS and the virtual OSes.  Under XP Home as a virtual OS I run its version 7 of IE (it is not exactly the same in both Vista and XP), and under XP Pro as a virtual OS I run IE 6.

Does this help clarify your question?
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by:conrad2010
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That's a good explanation, thanks!

Is it possible to list some vendors with their products that I can check up on?

I.e. VM Ware, what would be their desktop product... and any other vendors with product name you might be aware of...
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by:JohnGerhardt
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Like the opther experts say you wold have no problems installing a piece of VM machine software on one of your laptops and then using VS 2008 on the Physical machine and then VS 2005 on the Virtual Machine.
I would recommend that you dont run Virtual PC 2007 from M$, although it works nicely with M$ products it doesnt work so well with any thing lese.. MAC OSX or linux / UNix.

Sun provide a free very good piece of VM software called virtual box http://www.virtualbox.org/.. Run this on your WinnXP laptop and then either install VISTA or preferably another XP virtual machine using the virtualbox software, then decided on hwich of them you want to run which version of VS... Bare in mind that the virtual machine is not going to be the fastest! and that your physical machine will be a lot slower when the virtual machine is running...!
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by:conrad2010
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jhyiesla: your explanation is appreciated, but I was looking for the info LeeTutor shared... thanks to both of you!
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by:LeeTutor
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VMware Server is a free product, like Virtual Pc 2007 and VMware Player, and although it is MEANT to be run on a server, my fellow expert garycase has run it on Vista, and perhaps XP also.  This article from Wikipedia lists a number of other products you might want to look into:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_virtual_machines

I have heard of virtual box, mentioned above by JohnGerhardt, but I know nothing about it.  Are you using an Apple Mac, or a Windows machine?

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by:cristides
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Don't use VS2008 on virtual machine, because this have .net framework 3.0 and sometimes crash and you lose time, to find where is the problem.
If you want to compile on VS 2005 or VS 2008 we will wait to much, if you have huge projects.
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by:conrad2010
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I am running MS products only... so my first guess would be to try and install  Virtual Pc 2007 and yes, I am running Visual Studio 2008 all day long on mission critical developments, so crashing is not an option... anybody else has bad experience with  Virtual Pc 2007  and VS2008?
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by:cristides
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Virtual Pc 2007 from Microsoft is to slow, is like a  snail's pace :D.
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by:WLFranklin
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With VMwares hypervisor (ESXI) you can setup virtual machines on one machine, and have space allocations for your virutal machines, and instructions on which virtual machine it loads through http access to your other machine with the software VMware server (which is free if you register and a lot more flexible than just the player).  

so to recap you could have one machine with esxi that has two virtual machines(or more) and  and another computer that has http access to the other and decide which virtual machine you want to load up.
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