Installing OSs in separate system partitions is redundant. Use VMs instead

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by DesuMaiden, Oct 10, 2013.

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  1. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    A macbook user told me his 500gb HDD uses the following system partitions:

    220 gb for Apple's OS.
    150 gb for Windows
    100 gb for Linux.

    Multiple system partitions is redundant. Have one system partition (Apple) and run Windows and Linux inside a Virtual Machine.

    Also a decoy and hidden OS is useless. I am not worried about an adversary forcing me to disclose my password; I just want to protect my personal info, so full-disk encryption is more than good enough.

    I don't know how to install another operating system in the preboot menu of Windows. So I install operating systems in virtual machines rather than separate system partitions.

    My PC is powerful enough to run a Windows 7 host OS and another operating system in a VM at the same time.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Are you asking questions about the solution or your opinion on it.
    Saying that multiple system partition is redundant kind of closed the deal, no.
    The simple answer - graphical stack.
    Mrk
     
  3. guest

    guest Guest

    I wouldn't say it's redundant, but cluttered and less convenient instead.
     
  4. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    Indeed it is. You have to restart your computer every time get access to the other system partition.
     
  5. TheCatMan

    TheCatMan Registered Member

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    Was thinking about this also kinda made a question below about virtual performance and quality.

    The draw backs I assume are when your using vbox and virtual os, your going thru that additional software layer. So your hardware will not perform as good I would imagine in theory ?

    However booting into each o/s which is fully installed should in theory make full use of drivers and your hardware without going thru any virtual layers.

    I will when I get time install windows 8 or 7 and see how the performance and drivers is.

    A decoy hidden os could still be a good idea for some, imagine if an adversary gets into your system live (while its logged in and running) and get your personal data or worse plant something criminal on it.

    There was one case someone in the England got caught and the adversaries found his system live and was able to check his virtual machines and found tons of criminal files of fraud etc, this got me thinking of a kill switch situation but then again it would have been nice to password protect the virtual box instances, or add some kind of password control to get into a system, yet have all running in the background and not just the windows prompt ! Something with more "I don't know" wtf it is factor
     
  6. nosirrah

    nosirrah Malware Fighter

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    I kind of like the idea of having a host OS that you literally just lock down and keep up to date and then set up dedicated VMs for whatever you need in the OS that makes the most sense for those particular functions. This also simplifies backup and restore as well as duplication for the purpose of tinkering with an OS on a level that could blow things up. You can also avoid boot loader issues.

    As far as a decoy OS goes, that is more or less automatic if the OS with critical data in it is virtual.
     
  7. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    I tried multibooting different OSes once, but found it too cumbersome and time consuming. Plus, as I have a mobile broadband internet service - a major downside for me was trying to get an internet connnection on any other OS. (have to uninstall the service from one to the other!)

    IMO, using VMs is far more efficient and practical - any number of OSes can be installed – and accessed, with one click of the mouse.

    On the question of performance issues – I guess these will generally depend on the OS and graphics requirements. I have Windows 8 Pro installed as a VM and it is far 'snappier' than Windows 7. The only issues I see are with regard to some Linux distros which require 3D acceleration (which my laptop doesn't support) Eg, Cinnamon desktop is totally unstable on my system and Ubuntu12.10\Unity and 13.04\Unity are so slow as to be unusable.
    I have 8GBs of RAM and normally allocate 4GBs to Windows 7 (Host) and 4GBs to Windows 8 Pro (VM) – so I can have both running at the same time. I normally allocate 2GBs to each of my Linux distros (1GB is usually enough) so I can have 2 distros running alongside Windows 7.

    Agree with nosirrah – apart from being included in your system image backups - you can use snapshots to instantly restore a borked VM – or, configure a VM to the level you want – then copy the VM to an external source (as a failsafe) so that it can be restored whenever you wish.
     
  8. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    The difference is performance obviously. Just try gaming in a Windows virtual machine (on a MacBook). Also there is the issue of direct hardware access, like USB 3.0 and other peripherals not being fully supported.

    In the end, it depends of user need and preferences.
     
  9. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi ComputersRock,

    To get access to other system partitions, you can mount partitions.

    -- Tom
     
  10. biased

    biased Registered Member

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    Redudant?

    Saveing the data is about redudancy. That is the point of it. Look two ways at your use -

    1# you have data not to loose. put your data eggs in a basket but do not drop the basket. means, one drive and many OS, drive goes down, no good for any

    2# you have data not to loose. put eggs in splitting up the baskets. drop one bakset, still have other baskets. means, one drive goes down, still have drive for any to use that is booting

    Me, when I need do use different OS on different drive. Not doing only boot partition on one drive, but each drive have own boot record. Old day using boot.ini now useof bcd but same end. Purpose of different OS on different drive/partition that of many purpose.

    Words maybe you could use is conveynient? More hard when doing boot bcd, more hard keeping of what partition do have some OS? So thus vm can be simpler. But simple cannot always mean to be safe, and then redudancy come in for data, even if data is OS and not improtant things.
     
  11. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

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    How do you do that?
     
  12. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi ComputersRock,

    Let's say you have the following:
    /dev/sda - an 80 GB WinXP formatted NTFS drive where
    /dev/sda1 is the Filesystem Volume

    and just for kicks - you are running Ubuntu Linux 12.04.3 LTS from a USB stick in RAM.

    From a Terminal window, in order to mount the Windows NTFS filesystem, issue the following command from a Terminal window (as root) from the USB flash drive instance of Ubuntu running in RAM:

    $ sudo -i
    # mkdir /mnt/sda1
    # mount -v -t ntfs /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1

    Then from your current root directory in RAM:
    # pushd /mnt/sda1/

    You are now located at the C:\ directory on the Windows NTFS Filesystem partition and (as root in Linux, you must use Linux commands to navigate the Windows Folders aka directories in Linux). This means you can use the command, dirs -l , to list the directory paths back to your Linux in-RAM system, and using cp -p you can copy files into RAM, and by mounting from RAM your Linux partition transfer the copied files to the Linux drive (Filesystem partition you just mounted)

    # popd
    # umount /dev/sda1
    # exit
    $

    -- Tom
     
  13. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    Sure, i guess if you have substantial horsepower to do this, it's more convenient than multi-booting, but what, if I may ask, are you trying to achieve? Is it for security purposes, testing software, experimenting with other O/S'...?
     
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