Thoughts On VMWare Workstation

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Overclocker, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Overclocker

    Overclocker Registered Member

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    I'm thinking of buying and installing VMWare Workstation on an employees computer as they are by far the worst with computers. I've seen them get all sorts of problems and I'm frankly sick of responding to it, so I'm thinking of just setting them up with a VM. If they crash it I can just delete that VM and make a new clone.

    What are your thoughts on this software? Any suggestions to alternative software to VMWare Workstation?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Vmware Workstation is the Cadillac, but it comes at a price. I recently upgraded to version 11 as it is Wind 10 ready. Actually if you set them up in a VMware work station you never have to recreate it, not matter how badly the trash it. It has an excellent snapshot facility. You can even format the disk, and rollback to a snapshot, and it's like nothing happened.

    Pete
     
  3. Overclocker

    Overclocker Registered Member

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    Good to know thanks Pete. I'm leaning towards it and works is flipping the bill but still, it's good to know it's the go to.
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Yeah, I've been using it since version 8. Now up to 11. I like it as I can try things that could really dork the computer, but I can do them fearlessly in the VM.
     
  5. syrinx

    syrinx Registered Member

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    I use VMWare workstation to test all kinds of things before they ever touch my real pc. The snapshots are nice as you can do anything in between and a few clicks later, you have a nice clean OS again. I also use VirtualBox occasionally but that one seems to be slightly less resilient (eg I've had some crash issues at times) and so I only use it to do some very specific things that don't work as well in VMWare.
     
  6. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Cadillac is right. If it is paid for by work, by all means use it. I played with it years ago, like version 4, and took a look at the Vmware website after reading this. Wow, it has evolved considerably since then and can do a lot but the price, ouch.

    Virtualbox will have to do for now. If VMware is the Cadillac, Virtualbox is the Toyota, more basic and pragmatical. I'm just finishing setting up a Windows 7 Virtualbox VM. The only problem is getting a host set up that is fast enough and has enough memory to do it justice. The i5 I'm doing it on is barely adequate and I've been eyeballing a few i7 full quad core laptops that can handle 16 to 32gbs of ram.

    I also use Virtual PC 2007. It's virtual is its simplicity and I do my software testing with it. It's something like an old station wagon in the car comparison chart. I find it to be extremely stable and reliable but lacking a lot of features.
     
  7. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Back in the days I used Vmware Workstation for software and malware testing, it was quite cool. I also keep reading that VirtualBox is not that good at all. Does anyone know if you can buy a life-time license for Vmware Workstation?
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I don't believe you can. Not the best business model. They don't need it.
     
  9. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Instead of reading, you should try VirtualBox yourself. Definitely better than VMware Player.
     
  10. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    Virtualbox is a bit fussy and complicated. It definitely pays to read the manual, especially in dealing with virtual disks and snapshots. The snapshot structure of Virtualbox is very complicated and can result in huge files that use up a lot of disk space in no time if it is used carelessly. That is the one area that I prefer Virtual PC 2007 in the most. Its "Undo Disk" feature is dead simple, as is its shared folders.

    Once a VM is properly set up and configured, Virtualbox flies. My Xp VMs are fast even on older PCs.

    The time limited licensing kills off any interest in VMware for me. If I'm going to pay for a license, expensive or not, I want it to be perpetual and transferable.
     
  11. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Once you learn VirtualBox, there is no better freeware solutions. To keep space down, I use Disk Cleanup (system files), sometimes CCleaner (winapp2.INI), sdelete -z, and then compress the resulting VDI.

    Don't use snapshots during this process, just make a manual copy of the VDI. The Linux alternative would be BleachBit, which can even zero out free space for you.

    As for shared folders, just automount them and make sure your user is in the vboxsf group.
     
  12. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    I've set up my Virtualbox disks in VHD format. There are more tools that can access them and they can be mounted in Windows 7 like any other volume. It is the child disk structure that Virtualbox uses for snapshots that causes the disk use. Every snapshot starts a new child differentiating disk and every one is part of the volume structure and they have to be accessed in the proper order.

    Shared folders are no problem. It is just a few less clicks in Virtual PC. Virtualbox has more options like transient folders which is what I mostly use. It also has extensive virtual disk options. I like the immutable disk option which is really cool for testing.
     
  13. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    I guess you're right.

    I think it's priced ridiculously high, especially when it's not even a lifetime license. I'm sorry I have to say this, but this is probably the reason why a lot of people use it in an illegal manner.
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It is expensive for the home user, but then it wasn't designed for the home user. It's designed for business use, and for most businesses it is a cheap solution compared to more hardware.
     
  15. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

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    One alternative would be Shadow Defender (http://www.shadowdefender.com/). You can set it up to virtualize the system partition (and any other partition) so, if they bork it, a reboot will reset it back to normal. You can password protect the settings, to avoid them from disabling the protection. It's much cheaper at USD$35 for a lifetime licence.
     
  16. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I use Shadowdefender all the time, but it doesn't even come close as an alternative to a VM. The list of differences is more than I care to type.
     
  17. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Yes correct, it's not the same as true virtualization. At the moment I'm using Sandboxie for software testing, but for extensive testing you need a VM of course.
     
  18. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    I was having problems with VirtualBox on Windows 10, so I wanted to try Hyper-V. Unfortunately, that is not available for the Home version, so I had to troubleshoot.
     
  19. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

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    That goes without saying, but SD meets the requirements of the OP, which is an easy fix if the system gets borked. Full VM seems overly complex unless OP has other more complex needs. Price is much better too and a one-off payment. VM is like a complete toobox when you only need one screwdriver and one spanner.
     
  20. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    Why not use something like DeepFreeze? Set it up once properly, install deepfreeze, they have issues, just reboot.
     
  21. DedicateNier

    DedicateNier Registered Member

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    I use VirtualBox for similar purposes. Unlike VMware Player, it supports virtual machine snapshots. A free virtualization solution from VMware, VMware Player, doesn't support snapshots so you need to buy a license for VMware Workstation, if you want that functionality.
     
  22. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Sorry to be late to the thread;
    FDISR/Raxco Instant Recovery will do the job nicely: schedule background auto snapshot updates onto local disc or network drive, remote into the system, reboot or restore into saved system/snapshot, rinse and repeat.
    Almost no down time.
    Can have multiple system snapshots.
    Special feature " Data Anchoring" between snapshots so lose nothing. !!
    Even keep a baseline installation snapshot for a real bork up.
    Easy peasy.
    Very solid performer.
    Good support.
    raxco would be happy to speak to you.
    See the Forum up above...
    http://www.raxco.com/business/products/instantrecovery
    Free Trial ....

    With all due respect: better and safer than Rollback.

    Ask Pete.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
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