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Thread: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

  1. #1

    Default running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    I'm just an ordinary punter trying to foresake MS Windows for SuSE 11.1. However, I need to run a windows program to occasionally configure my satellite box. Wine won't work; the MS software needs .NET2 and after many, many tries, always ending in failure with 'culture name ga-ae not supported', I've given up after finding the bug listed on winehq, and am looking to run virtualized Windows instead.

    Is it possible to run para-virtualized Windows on a laptop with a processor without virtualization support? I've read of using ZEN Hypervisor to load VMware and then run Windows on that - but doesn't that just double the virtualization problems?

    Any pointers to the way forward and sources of help would be much appreciated. I already have hypervisor running (after switching off NVidia drivers).

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Croques View Post
    Is it possible to run para-virtualized Windows on a laptop with a processor without virtualization support? I've read of using ZEN Hypervisor to load VMware and then run Windows on that - but doesn't that just double the virtualization problems?
    For what you are trying to achieve Virtualbox seems a much better option! You don't need the cpu and bios support like with Xen/KVM. Virtualbox does a full virtualization (like VMWare) that's not dependent on the VT/V function.

    So in short : Boot back into the regulair kernel -you get to keep the NVidia propriety driver- , install Virtualbox packages and create a Windows guest in that.

    Xen is a very good product, but in my opinion meant for the bigger tasks in life (e.g. server virtualization). The server side is where I like to implement it, and it works well.

    For a desktop, products like Virtualbox and VMWare Workstation are the better choice as they also provide many easy functions (multiple snapshots etc).

    Hope that helps!

    Willem
    Have a lot of fun!

  3. #3
    ab@novell.com NNTP User

    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

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    Magic31 is probably right in his recommendation but just for the record,
    yes it's possible, though I believe as with any paravirtualization you
    need a modified kernel in the GUEST OS, so in your case windows. This
    means (essentially) that microsoft needs to provide this, which they do
    with w2k8 (perhaps exclusively.... maybe vista too, but I don't think
    w2k3 and earlier are candidates for this).

    Good luck.





    Croques wrote:
    > I'm just an ordinary punter trying to foresake MS Windows for SuSE 11.1.
    > However, I need to run a windows program to occasionally configure my
    > satellite box. Wine won't work; the MS software needs .NET2 and after
    > many, many tries, always ending in failure with 'culture name ga-ae not
    > supported', I've given up after finding the bug listed on winehq, and am
    > looking to run virtualized Windows instead.
    >
    > Is it possible to run para-virtualized Windows on a laptop with a
    > processor without virtualization support? I've read of using ZEN
    > Hypervisor to load VMware and then run Windows on that - but doesn't
    > that just double the virtualization problems?
    >
    > Any pointers to the way forward and sources of help would be much
    > appreciated. I already have hypervisor running (after switching off
    > NVidia drivers).
    >
    >

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  4. #4
    Will Honea NNTP User

    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    Croques wrote:

    >
    > I'm just an ordinary punter trying to foresake MS Windows for SuSE 11.1.
    > However, I need to run a windows program to occasionally configure my
    > satellite box. Wine won't work; the MS software needs .NET2 and after
    > many, many tries, always ending in failure with 'culture name ga-ae not
    > supported', I've given up after finding the bug listed on winehq, and am
    > looking to run virtualized Windows instead.
    >
    > Is it possible to run para-virtualized Windows on a laptop with a
    > processor without virtualization support? I've read of using ZEN
    > Hypervisor to load VMware and then run Windows on that - but doesn't
    > that just double the virtualization problems?
    >
    > Any pointers to the way forward and sources of help would be much
    > appreciated. I already have hypervisor running (after switching off
    > NVidia drivers).


    I run XP Pro on my laptop with no cpu virtualization support using Virtual
    Box and it runs just fine - but get the non-OSE version from
    virtualbox.org. VBox uses its' own virtual devices so device support is
    pretty much a non-issue

    As for speed and peripherals, you need the non-OSE version for USB access.
    I've tried both hardware (VT/V) on my desktop and I see no real difference
    in speed or functionality running Windows. Matter of fact, VBox suggests
    not using hardware virtualization even if it is available unless you have a
    specific need so I only use it for OS/2 guests.

    --
    Will Honea

  5. #5

    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    Well, isn't virtualization 'a good thing'?

    And VirtualBox seems an excellent incarnation of it. I now have WinXP running very sweetly inside SuSE 11.1 with .NET2 Framework; all installed on a three year old Toshiba laptop.

    For the record, I installed the VirtualBox OSE offering from yast's software manager together with support for my kernel flavour. There were/are a couple of wrinkles; one was the need to put myself in the vboxusers group, and the other is setting up shared file access between systems.

    All I need to do now is find out how to get ping to work across VirtualBox's bridged network and then things will be really humming.

  6. #6
    Will Honea NNTP User

    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    Croques wrote:

    >
    > Well, isn't virtualization 'a good thing'?
    >
    > And VirtualBox seems an excellent incarnation of it. I now have WinXP
    > running very sweetly inside SuSE 11.1 with .NET2 Framework; all
    > installed on a three year old Toshiba laptop.
    >
    > For the record, I installed the VirtualBox OSE offering from yast's
    > software manager together with support for my kernel flavour. There
    > were/are a couple of wrinkles; one was the need to put myself in the
    > vboxusers group, and the other is setting up shared file access between
    > systems.
    >
    > All I need to do now is find out how to get ping to work across
    > VirtualBox's bridged network and then things will be really humming.


    There is virtualization and then there is virtualization <g>. Virtualbox
    does a lot of the isolation in software that the hardware virtualization on
    newer processors do on-chip which means it runs on older CPUs that don't
    support hardware virtualization. I personally don't see any difference in
    the speed even on my newer machines but my older Toshiba laptops don't
    support hardware virtualization so that was an important feature for me -
    Xen is unusable without it.

    Someone described the bridging setup to get the virtual session usable on
    the network several weeks ago and I think the resolution was that full
    instructions are available in the documentation at virtualbox.org. It's a
    straight routing exercise but you need to be aware of the security hazards
    unless you protect the Win machine specifically.

    --
    Will Honea

  7. #7

    Default Re: running para-virtualized MS windows - is it possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Honea View Post
    Will Honea wrote:

    Someone described the bridging setup to get the virtual session usable on
    the network several weeks ago and I think the resolution was that full
    instructions are available in the documentation at virtualbox.org. It's a
    straight routing exercise but you need to be aware of the security hazards
    unless you protect the Win machine specifically.
    For readers, present and future let me add my final comments about the VirtualBox installation. Will Honea specifically said not to use the OSE version, although his advice came too late for me. But experience shows it to be good advice, because I found the OSE version would not ping my satellite box; Telnet and FTP yes, ping no! Ping shouldn't be a deal-breaker but the windows software I specifically need to run, first checks the network connection is up by pinging.

    Reading around revealed ping to work in the newer 2.1.2 version of VirtualBox from virtualbox.org, so eventually I replaced the OSE version with that.

    Installation was sensitive; sudo rpm -i Virt*.rpm from the command line didn't set permissions and group membership correctly so it would only run as root. And setting permissons manually using YAST, although seemingly accomplished, failed to allow VirtualBox to run as a user other than root. To get round that I set-up a folder repository in YAST where the VirtualBox.rpm was saved and did a clean install using YAST.

    Thanks for everyone's comments.

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