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Running Windows XP and Win 7 32-bit as virtual machines

Posted on 2014-09-15
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Last Modified: 2014-09-19
I haven't used virtual machine technology before.  My new notebook came with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, and I prefer to run Windows XP and Windows 7 Professional 32-bit.  I've installed the free VM Player on the notebook, and created a VHDX file containing Windows XP and Win 7 32-bit volumes from my old laptop.  I created Windows XP and Windows 7 virtual machines with VM Player, and I'm given the choice of installing the operating systems with an .iso file or by inserting the installation CD.   Can you provide instructions for using the VHDX file in VM Player?
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Question by:ddantes
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by:becraig
ID: 40324145
You can probably just try getting a copy of vmware converter and converting to vhdx.

Here is a blog also on conversion:
http://www.mydigitallife.info/how-to-convert-and-import-vhd-to-vmdk-vmware/
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by:ddantes
ID: 40324179
Thank you for your comment.  I already have a VHDX file with the volumes I wish to use for virtual machines. Since I am entirely new to this, are you saying that the VHDX file, in its present state, is incompatible with VM Player, and it must be converted to a different format?
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by:becraig
ID: 40324196
They are both different proprietary formats, it may be possible to use both but to the best of my knowledge .vhdx are HyperV disks and vmdk Vmware.

http://www.starwindsoftware.com/converter
The link above points to a converter that can convert virtual disk between each (and it is FREE :~) )
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by:ddantes
ID: 40324214
Thank you for that link.  So, once I have a converted VMDK file with the required volumes, I still need to know how to apply it to VM Player so the virtual machines will be populated with an O.S. and other drive content.  Please advise.
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by:becraig
ID: 40324220
You create a new VM in Vmware and "use existing disk"
Then point to the disk you converted to vmware format and that's it.
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by:marsilies
ID: 40324229
Are you using VMWare Player? How did you create the VHDX files?

Once you have the vmdk file, you can import it into VMWare Player using this guide (Technically for WMWare Workstation, but the steps are the same for VMWare Player):
http://blog.laksha.net/2009/10/how-to-create-virtual-machine-using.html

You may run into hardware issues when booting the VMs, depending on what converter tool you used to make the VHDX file in the first place. You may need to run a repair install on XP, and repair the W7 boot.

You may also run into Windows activation issues, especially if the original installs were OEM licenses. You may need to buy retail licenses for XP and/or W7 and use those keys to activate the VMs.
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by:ddantes
ID: 40324261
becraig:  When creating a new virtual machine, there are 3 choices:  Use installer disc, use installer disc .iso, or create blank virtual machine and install O.S. later.  I chose the third option.   Now, there is no option to "use existing disc".   The player is asking me to insert the installation CD.   This is the reason I posted the question.

marsilies: Thank you for your comment.  I am using VM Player.  There is one VHDX file, containing 3 volumes, and it was created with Disk2vhd.
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by:becraig
ID: 40324277
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40324286
If you want a long term way to run virtual machines, get VMware Workstation V10. I know there are others, but VMware Workstation is best in class (for me) and the most flexible virtual application.

I have this running on my Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit machine and I have Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, Vista Business 64-bit, XP Pro, Windows 2000 and earlier machines. They all work well and I can network them to the host Windows 8 machine. Top notch.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40324299
just select I will install an operating system later or don't use the wizard..  all you have to do is point the hard disk to the right .vmdk file
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40324316
David:  I think this will help me.  With VM Player, how do you "point the hard disc to the right .vmdk file?"
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by:marsilies
ID: 40324426
The step was mentioned in the link I provided, but in the VM creation wizard, after choosing to install an operating system later, it will as you to choose a disk, and you choose “Use an existing virtual disk”. This will allow you to browse and select your existing virtual disk.
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by:becraig
ID: 40324468
You create a new VM in Vmware and "use existing disk"
Then point to the disk you converted to vmware format and that's it.
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by:ddantes
ID: 40324495
I'm doing my best to follow your instructions, but still having some difficulty.  In VM Player, after choosing "I will install an operating system later", the next screen says: "Select a guest operating system."  I selected "Microsoft Windows".  It also asks for the "Version" and I selected  Windows XP Professional.  The next screen asks for a name and location for the virtual machine.  I named it "Windows XP" and accepted the default location, which is the "Virtual Machines" subfolder, within my profile's document folder.  The next screen asks for the disc capacity and to choose whether to store the virtual disc as a single file or in split files.  I selected 80 GB for the capacity, and store as a single file.  The next screen is for customizing the hardware, and then the virtual machine is created.  I am not seeing an option to "Use an existing virtual disk" to install the operating system.  Had I seen such an option, I would not have posted this question.  Please advise what I am overlooking.
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by:becraig
ID: 40324503
Sorry :

To create the Workstation virtual machine using existing .vmdk file(s):

    In Workstation, go to File > New > Virtual Machine.
    Select Custom and click Next.
    Select the hardware compatibility you require and click Next.
    In the Guest Operating System Installation selection screen, select I will install the Operating System later and click Next.
    Select the guest operating system that is installed, including the version.
    Click Next.
    Provide a file name and choose the location where you want to save the virtual machine.
    Click Next.
    If necessary, adjust the number of processors and number of cores per processor required by the virtual machine and then click Next.
    Adjust the amount of memory to be allocated to your virtual machine and click Next.
    Select the desired networking type for your virtual machine and click Next.
    Select Use an Existing Virtual Disk and click Next.
    Click Browse and navigate to the location of your existing .vmdk file.
    Select the .vmdk file and click Next.

    Note: Ensure that all child .vmdk files are in the same location as the selected .vmdk file.

    Review the settings displayed in the Summary window.
    If necessary, click Customize Hardware and make the required changes.
    Click Finish.
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by:marsilies
ID: 40324509
Looking into it more, it looks like VMWare Player does not have the option to choose an existing disk when creating a new VM:
http://pubs.vmware.com/ws8/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm#href=using_ws/GUID-430C2B24-6287-4B2C-8F77-224938CE2C9B.html

I'd say, create a new disk of the same size as the virtual disk, then stop the VM, close VMWare Player, then delete the newly created vmdk file and copy and rename your existing vmdk with what the newly created one was called, then start up VMWare Player again and see if it uses it.
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by:becraig
ID: 40324513
Oops my bad I should have indicated we are using VMware workstation to create the VM.


I kinda figured you followed the link above:
Get the trial version of workstation:
http://www.vmware.com/products/workstation/workstation-evaluation
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by:ddantes
ID: 40324521
OK, thank you for idiot-proofing your instructions!   Now, if I understand correctly, I can't use VM Player, which doesn't have the "use an existing disc" option.  I need to install the trial version of VM Workstation convert the VHDX file to VMDK.  Is this correct?
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by:becraig
ID: 40324525
My apologies again :~(

You can convert with starwind (since this is free and you will always be able to use it)

Then create the VM with VMWare workstation.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40324666
Thank you.  I'll post again after following those instructions.  Please allow me a day or two...
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by:ddantes
ID: 40325800
The StarWind converter only converts from VMK to VHD.
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becraig earned 500 total points
ID: 40325851
I just noticed that limitation the best tool I can think of would be the vmware converter which has been proven to work, this you would only be able to use for a trial period but it will get you there.

 https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=converter

I had a few small fires on my end yesterday so I am sorry I did not thoroughly validate all of  my responses.

1. Get Vmware converter and convert t vmdk
2. Using Vmware workstation create the new VMs using the vmdk(s) you created in the step above
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by:marsilies
ID: 40325856
Look at Case 2 on this link to convert the VHDX to a VHD file, then you can use StarWind to convert the VHD to VMK:
http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-convert-vhd-vmdk-starwind-v2v-converter/
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by:ddantes
ID: 40326087
becraig:  Thank you for the link.  I installed the VMware converter and it apparently doesn't support VHDX file format.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40326092
If you are going to use VMware for a while, you might also consider just rebuilding the virtual machines. I find if they are built well, they will last for years as virtual machines.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40326304
Thank you John.  I'm not sure how this will apply to my situation.  If I delete the virtual machines which were built with VM Player, and build new ones with VMware Desktop, I still find myself with a VHDX file which I don't know how to apply to the virtual machine.
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by:becraig
ID: 40326324
Here are some links that might help with the conversion:
http://rmlinar.net/blog/2014/07/29/convert-single-vmdk-to-vhdx-with-microsoft-virtual-machine-converter-2-0-mvmc/


You can also convert using powershell:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/cbernier/archive/2013/08/29/converting-hyper-v-vhdx-to-vhd-file-formats-for-use-in-windows-azure.aspx

Before attempting to do this with powershell you will need the hyperV module installed.
Not sure if this works with the flavor of windows you are using but give it a try:

Download and install the Windows PowerShell Hyper-V module (http://pshyperv.codeplex.com/). You need this module to access all the cmdlets designed specifically for Windows PowerShell. From the CodePlex PowerShell Management Library for Hyper-V page, download the latest stable, non-development release. Make sure the “block” attribute is removed from the zipped files before you install them. This will execute setup scripts without needing digital signatures. If you’re doing the install on Server Core, unblock and unzip the module file on another computer before copying the setup files to the server. Otherwise, you’ll need additional tools to perform these operations on the server (the stream.exe tool on SysinternalsSuite and 7-Zip).

From an elevated Windows PowerShell command prompt, enable the Hyper-V cmdlets by importing the newly installed module (Import-Module HyperV). If you get an error message, verify that you didn’t miss a previous step. If you intend to regularly use Windows PowerShell to manage your Hyper-V environment, you should add the Import-Module and Set-ExecutionPolicy cmdlets to a Windows PowerShell profile file. This will let you use the cmdlets without having to configure the server each time. You should always use an elevated Windows PowerShell command environment to avoid any issues running the cmdlets.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40326731
I'm not sure how this will apply to my situation.

If you want the machines for long term use, and if the current one are not working, make new ones from the Windows install disks and build them up properly. I do that so the machines are good for useful work for several years.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40327020
If I delete the virtual machines which were built with VM Player, and build new ones with VMware Desktop, I still find myself with a VHDX file which I don't know how to apply to the virtual machine.

Hyper-V uses vhd and vhdx. Vmware uses vmdk's .. where did these vhdx's come from initially?  If you use vmware converter it will make vmdk (s)

Oracle VirtualBox can open vhd/vhdx's
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40327304
Just to reiterate, I have never used a virtual machine before.  Comments which presume some experience or competence on my part will be incomprehensible to me.  I created a VHDX file using Disk2vhd.  I have VM Player installed, but it doesn't recognize the VHDX file.  I'm afraid the well-intentioned experts have presented me with too many choices, which I appreciate, but I need a simplified strategy.  How can I convert the VHDX file to a format which can be used by VM Player?  If this is too difficult, how can I convert the VHDX file to a format which can be used by VM Desktop?
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by:becraig
ID: 40327336
Ok so I have you a link to do this with powershell, however if you have a trial version of VMware converter installed you can do a p2v with that.  


Or use disk2vhd to create a *.vhd and NOT  *.vhdx file you should then be able to convert the VHd and you're on your way.
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by:ddantes
ID: 40327351
I have VMware converter installed.  It is a free version.  It does not support VHDX format.  So how should I make use of the converter?
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by:becraig
ID: 40327383
I am suggesting to use that to do the p2v you did earlier, unless you no longer have access to the physical machine.   Also I suggested a very simple path for converting to vhd using the PowerShell plugins, have you looked at that ?
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40327424
I have not looked at Powershell.  If I can avoid expanding this project with more applications, I would prefer to use existing resources.  I will use Disk2vhd to create a VHD file instead of VHDX.  And then, will VM Player accommodate that format?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40327616
Just to reiterate, I have never used a virtual machine before  <-- That is (in part) why I suggest you create one. It will be helpful to your learning.
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by:becraig
ID: 40327638
Once you have the vhd which converter can read then simply use converter to make into a vmware compatible file then create the vm abd attach the disk.
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by:marsilies
ID: 40328055
Just forget about the vhdx files you already have.

If you have the original pc still, I'd suggest loading vmware converter on it and using it to make new vdk files directly. This will not only make a compatible image file, but will also make sure Windows boots correctly once in a vm.
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by:becraig
ID: 40328077
This was suggested in comment 40327383

At this point since he has converter the options are simple.
1. Do the P2V again this time making it a vmdk
2. convert the vhdx to vhd then create the VM and attach the disk

I think he opted to just use disk2vhd to recreate the vhd and then migrate the vhd to vmdk then create the machine.

Despite the pain, I am all for the OP taking the long way around simply because the learning during the process will be invaluable.
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by:marsilies
ID: 40328171
@becraig I saw the earlier comment, but I'm not sure the OP knows what "P2V" means (Physical to Virtual conversion).
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40328538
Thanks to all Experts.  I am currently making a VHD file using disk2vhd.  It is still unclear to me whether this can be connected to a virtual machine in VM Desktop or VM Player, or whether the VM Converter must first be used to produce a VMDK, before attaching the disc.
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by:becraig
ID: 40328561
You must convert to vmdk first.  

Once you have the VHd then use VMware converter to make it a vmdk then create the new  vm and use that disk as existing disk.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40328578
Perfect.  I wish there was a book "VM for Dummies".  I'll post again after performing these steps...
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by:marsilies
ID: 40328581
I'd convert the VHD to a VMDK. It looks like VMWare Workstation may be able to import Virtual PC VMs, but it wants the .vmc file for importing, not just the vhd. Once you create a VMWare compatible VM from the images,
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40328589
Convert first and connect to VM Player (or preferably Workstation) second.
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by:ddantes
ID: 40330805
I used disk2vhd to create a *.vhd and NOT  *.vhdx file.  Then, using VMware Converter, I opened the "Convert Machine" dialog.  For the source, I had these choices: Powered On Machine; VMware Infrastructure Virtual Machine; VMware Workstation Virtual Machine; Back-up Image or 3rd Party Virtual Machine; and Hyper-V Server.  I selected "Back-up Image or 3rd Party Virtual Machine" and navigated to the .vhd file.  I got a message that the format is not supported.  Please advise.
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by:becraig
ID: 40330816
Ok so you do not have a hyper visor installed it seems :(


Take a look at this and give it a go:
http://www.mydigitallife.info/how-to-convert-and-import-vhd-to-vmdk-vmware/

I should have posted since yesterday but I was traveling.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40330872
OK, I installed the trial version of WinImage and am converting the VHD to VMDK.  No worries about not posting yesterday, it took most of the day to create the VHD.  The conversion looks like it may take a long time, and then I will post again.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40331780
A VMware virtual disc has now been created with WinImage.  I used VM Player to create a new virtual machine.  I still do not see an option to install the operating system with the newly-created VMDK.  Please advise.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40331786
You can use VMware Workstation to open an existing VMDK file. I have done that before and it works.

Here is a VMware Knowledgebase article to assist you with the steps.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2010196

I do not know if you can do this in Player - you may need the Workstation product.
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by:becraig
ID: 40331794
The instructions should be above on creating a new vm then adding virtual disk in VMware converter.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40331820
There is no problem creating a new vm.   The problem is adding the virtual disc to the machine.  Using VMware converter, there are two options:  "Configure machine" (relating to hardware choices) and "Convert Machine."  Selecting "Convert Machine",  I selected Source Type: Backup Image or 3rd party Virtual Machine.  I navigated to the VMware virtual disc which had just been created with WinImage.  There is a message that this is not a supported file type.

I don't understand why I am to use the Converter when the physical disc has already been "converted" to a VMDK.  And, with the VM Player, I thought there was going to be an option to use the VMDK to install the operating system.  Feeling a little discouraged...
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by:becraig
ID: 40331843
Ok so the player only does that plays (or runs vms).  To CREATE a virtual machine you need to use workstation the player cannot create a vm and you are attaching a disk to a vm.  The process should be painless from the steps above.  Launch workstation create a new vm and then configure to point to the vmdk
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by:ddantes
ID: 40331888
I removed VM Player and installed VM Desktop, and created a new virtual machine, electing to install the O.S. later.  There was an option to map a virtual disc to the machine, so I navigated to the VMDK file and mapped it.  Then I restarted the VM, and there is a message the no operating system was found.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40331917
does vm desktop == Vmware Workstation? Also which operating system? XP or Win 7? Either way the master boot record needs to be recreated.  Boot from the os install media and select repair and go to a command prompt and then run 'fixmbr"  also check that the boot.ini  is disk(0) partition (1)  use this tool to fix:
bootcfg /rebuild

For windows 7 after the fixmbr use "bcdboot c:\windows"
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40333161
Sorry to say, this project is becoming too difficult for me.  I was able to follow the step by step instructions in this article:

http://aztcs.org/meeting_notes/winhardsig/virtualmachines/vmware/Using_VMDK_File_to_Create_a_VM_in_VMwarePlayer--Windows.pdf  

I was able to connect the VMDK to a new virtual machine in VMPlayer.  When the Player started up, it said there was a disc read error and I needed to use Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart.  The same disc read error occurred after a restart.  I removed the virtual machine and recreated it, using scsi instead of IDE for the hard disc type.  The disc read error no longer appears, but the machine says no operating system is installed.
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by:marsilies
ID: 40333247
Which Windows version VM were you trying to boot?

Since you didn't use VMWare Converter to do the P2V conversion, the Windows images likely aren't properly configured and don't have the proper drivers to boot up properly in the VM. You could possibly do a repair install for XP to fix it:
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1013846

For Windows 7, you'll need to run a Startup Repair from the Windows 7 Install disc:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/startup-repair-faq#1TC=windows-7
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40333283
Understood. I'm starting over, using VMware Converter to convert the powered-on machine to a virtual disc.  I'll post again after testing this.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40333965
After converting a physical to virtual disc with VMware Converter, I was able to open it with VMPlayer.  The virtual disc has three volumes, each with a different operating system, and all of them boot into a BSOD.  However, that is a matter for a separate question.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this question, for your expertise and patience with my learning curve.  It's a little difficult to decide how to award points because there were so many contributors.  I'll take my best shot, and if I've overlooked something, feel free to correct me.
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