64-bit Virtual machine question

Hi,

I have a 64-bit-capable Dell E6410 laptop with 4 gig RAM which is currently running 32-bit Windows 7 Pro.  I have been successfully running a 32-bit virtual machine on an external (USB) drive using MS Virtual PC for testing software intended to run with different versions of Office, and it is working great - a very cost-efficient setup.

What I need to do now is some testing for a new client in 64-bit Office, and I would like to avoid having to buy a whole new 64-bit system just for this project, so I was wondering if I could create a 64-bit virtual machine on an external USB drive using my current 32-bit laptop?

I understand that MS Virtual PC won't run a 64-bit OS as a guest, but are there others that will?  (I'm pretty sure it will be cheaper to buy another virtual machine manager than a whole new machine.)

Has anyone done anything like this on an external drive?

Any other advice or suggestions?

Thanks!


P.S. I should mention I am just a desktop software developer, and not a sys admin - I have been flying by the seat of my pants as far as these virtual machine setups go.
habidatAsked:
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klodefactorCommented:
VMware Workstation supports 64-bit guests under a 32-bit host OS.  However 64-bit guests under VMware require Intel VT in addition to 64-bit support.  Your CPU is probably an Intel Core i5 or i7, and if so you have VT support.  You'll need to ensure that both 64-bit and VT support are enabled in your BIOS.

The fastest way to confirm that your system is configured correctly is to run http://download3.vmware.com/software/wkst/VMware-guest64check-5.5.0-18463.exe (article at http://download3.vmware.com/software/wkst/VMware-guest64check-5.5.0-18463.exe).

After that, all that remains is to download the latest VMware Player :-).

BTW if at all possible I'd move to 64-bit Windows  7 Pro as your host OS.  I don't know whether there's a licensing cost given that you already have 32-bit, but this kind of thing will bite you more and more as time passes.

--klodefactor
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, if your laptop supports Intel-VT, you can install VMware Player 3.1.4, and install a 64 bit Virtual Machine inside the Hypervisor for testing 64 bit applications.

VMware Player 3.0 Free Download
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_downloads/vmware_player/3_0
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Download and test with SecureAble
http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

 64 bit Ready!
 Not 64bit ready!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you get a 64 bit, Yes and Yes, you are ready to download Install VMware Player 3.1.4, and Install your 64bit OS!
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rindiCommented:
If after the above tests you can't install a 64bit VM, you could  install a 64bit version of a Linux distro (if there isn't enough spare room on the HD, get an additional HD you can swap in, they aren't expensive), something like Linux Mint, then install VMware Player on that and try again.
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habidatAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the information!  And so speedy!

I confirmed that my laptop can support Intel VT, using klodefactor's links - thanks!

I am not completely clear on whether I need to use the VMWare Workstation product in order to do want I want to do (for $189) or if there is a free VMware tool (VMWare player?)  that will work, as hancoccka suggests, so I'm off to investigate the free tool first.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Workstation and VMware Player will both do what you want.

But VMware Player is FREE!

Workstation has a few more features and costs $189!
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klodefactorCommented:
I also mentioned VMware Player because it doesn't cost anything.  Player will suffice if you don't need multiple VM snapshots, encryption of your virtual disks, the ability to record and replay VM sessions, or other advanced features.

If you need advanced features, the VMware Workstation 7.0 is well worth the price.

--klodefactor
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rwardCommented:
Another option is Virtualbox, which is free.  It supports 64-bit guests.
http://www.virtualbox.org
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65tdRetiredCommented:
VMWare Server should also meet your needs, also no charge, just register the product.

http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_server/2_0
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Server is not designed to run on desktop operating systems. It's also been discontinued, and extended support ended on June 30 2011. It's not been developed since 2009.

You may have issues running on Windows 7 Pro.
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habidatAuthor Commented:
Hi all, thanks for the help!  

After days of download problems at both the MSDN and VMWare sites, I am finally ready to install VMWare Player, and then Win 7 64-bit and Office 2010 64-bit on my little external drive.  When it is all up and running, I'll be back to award points!

I really appreciate the speedy and useful responses - this site it worth every penny of the membership!

AZ
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habidatAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the help! - I awarded points between hancocka  and klodefactor since both responded quickly with similarly useful information.  Much appreciated!
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