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Windows XP Virtual Machine

Posted on 2014-04-07
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Perhaps this is just a dumb question, but I currently use a Windows XP virtual machine on my Windows 7 64-bit development workstation for maintaining some old applications my predecessor developed under VB6 (which I'm hoping to be able to migrate to .NET as soon as I have the development manpower available).  We're finalizing the workstation upgrades to get all of our users onto Win7-64, and I've gotten the old, clunky program "band-aided" so that it will actually run in that environment, but I still do quite a bit of my daily work maintaining these systems on my XP VM.

Since the virtual machine needs access to our company network in order to actually do anything, but it doesn't necessarily need to get out to the "outside world", I can block it's Internet inbound/outbound Internet traffic to help prevent malware from infecting it.  From all of the advice I've read all around, this seems to be the only answer for users of the XP VM.

Even so, I'm wondering if I should/could upgrade the VM's OS to a 32-bit version of Win7.  I know, it sounds kinda stupid... "Why have a Win7 VM on a Win7 box?"  My thought is that having a 32-bit OS on the VM would allow me to work in my VB6 applications without TOO much heartache.  Any thoughts?
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Question by:G_Hosa_Phat
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by:Dan Craciun
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I think keeping a separate development/testing environment is a good idea, regardless of the OS.
And a VM is simply more convenient than keeping a different computer just for that.

HTH,
Dan
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by:G_Hosa_Phat
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@Dan - Thanks.  I guess the heart of my question is really more about what is the best way to do this so as to be able to maintain my legacy VB6 systems while still keeping our network secure.  As I said, I already have it in the pipeline to get these antiquated systems updated to .NET so that I can trash VB6 altogether.  But, the last time I tried to do any of the maintenance on my 64-bit Win7, I ran into all sorts of issues with 32-bit system files not wanting to play nice.  I suppose I could probably have similar issues with just the difference between WinXP and Win7, but I'm guessing that I can more easily make the migration if I'm not switching both OS and architecture at the same time.

So, I'm debating on whether to just block all Internet traffic to the WinXP VM and leave everything as-is, or try to build a new 32-bit Win7 VM for VB6.  I guess the latter would require a second license for Win7, which makes it a little less appealing (but just barely).

I guess I'm really just trying to see if anyone else out there is still muddling through maintaining old VB6 code in the world of .NET, and how you might be dealing with these same issues?
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Dan Craciun earned 500 total points
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As long as your application is running on XP, with VB6, keep a VM with VB6 on XP for testing.

If you replace all the systems on your network with Windows 7, then the XP testing machine is not really needed anymore.

As for the XPocalypse tomorrow, I'm not sold. I still have XP on old machines where the client did not have the budget to upgrade and will probably have it for years to come. I keep the AV updated, I put the XP machines on their own separate networks and made full system backups that I can quickly restore. If that's enough, we'll see.
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by:G_Hosa_Phat
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Well, luckily (or un-luckily, depending on point of view), we hope to have all of our workstations upgraded to Win7 in the next couple of months.  Unfortunately, with all of the other projects our Development team has on the "platter", I can't say the same for the migration of the VB6 code.

Regardless, I appreciate your input.  I may go ahead and build an Win7 VM and fiddle with it in my "down-time" to get it up-to-snuff for when I don't need my XP box anymore.  Of course, now the trick is finding some "down-time" to get it going.
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by:Dan Craciun
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Glad I could help and good luck finding that down-time :)
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