Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Az7, Aug 5, 2009.
I'm a big fan of "Shadow Defender" simple & reliable. I've purchased a x64 Vista machine & I'm frustrated that SD does not support x64.
VB304 - Seems to be rather complicated, for my intended usage, virtual surfing.
231 page manual, & I kinda understand some, + left with more
questions than answers. Too bad this, not as simple as SD.
The virtualisation softs VB and VMWare are remarkably easy to use.
The GUIi are easy to follow.
I actually didnt rtfm after install of VMWareWS: just more or less followed the prompts.
Been a while since I used VB, but, recall it was pretty much similar.
go to manual now when I cant do something
Most of what you'll need is there.
Dont flinch: do the install ( image if you have to) and roll on.
Shadow Defender is very good for "Protection", But if you want more than that.. VM is the key..
* Testing new OS.
* Testing new software , driver, updates etc.. (need reboot).
* Running different OS on the same machine at the same time (Windows XP inside Linux).
* Running multiple Operation Systems simultaneously, to share of the underlying physical machine resources between different virtual machines (full utilization of the HW, for example running multiple servers on a single powerful machine).
VB is very easy to use BTW.
Trying to understand this:
Host = real machine, which is 64 bit vista
Guest = VM "which requires install of another OS?"
Does the guest need an installation of another OS? Why can't it clone or use the "host" OS?
Can I use my Image software to install, from usb hdd to the 'guest' for it's OS?
Then host & guest would be x64, which requires hardware visualization, + ept (vt-x)
1. If 2nd Os is an image of the real OS, will the wireless stuff still work?
2. How much memory & hdd space should the guest recieve.
Host = 750 gb hdd, mem 12.0
Think of virtual machines as another computer, inside your existing computer. For all practical purposes, a completely different machine with a different operating system, except you don't need to switch to another set of keyboard, mouse and monitor to enjoy it.
The virtual machine therefore needs its own OS.
Will your peripherals work? Well, they will definitely work in the host. In the guest, you won't see some of them. Instead, the virtualization software will create virtual devices for you. But it's transparent.
For example, in virtual operating system, you'll use virtual architecture, virtual keyboard etc - even though the physical hardware will be the same. But you need not worry about this. Similarly, if you have network connection on your machine, you can also let the virtual machine use. The difference is, while your real host will see, say a Realtek wireless device, the virtual machine will be using a generic virtual card, for example e1000 or vlance or another.
So you won't see some of the stuff in virtual machines due to virtualized hardware, including wireless, bluetooth etc. They will continue functioning normally in your real OS. Some of their services will be indirectly available to virtual machines, like networking or 3D acceleration, which some of the products offer now.
Your virtual machine will also use its own hard disk, which in real OS will be a file for all practical purposes, but the guest will see it as its own disk. That's the beauty of it.
And you'll be able to share folders and connect to guest machines by accessing their IP address, just like any two machines on LAN.
Depends on the guest, but typically (comfy minimum):
XP, 512MB ram and 4GB space is ok.
Linux, usually 512MB ram and 6GB space.
Windows 7, 768mb ram and needs 15GB to install but takes only 6-7GB after install.
Heavy Linux, usually 768MB ram and 10gb space.
If you have 64-bit real os, then you can also install 64-bit guests and give them 4gb ram or more.
So if you really want good performance and room to spare, 1gb ram and 10gb space per virtual machine. BTW, you can overcommit. Furthermore, disks can be dynamically expanding, so you can have 100 10gb virtual machines, but if they only each use 2gb, only 200gb will be taken and not 1tb.
Thanks! For taking the time to write that informative post, I'm such a virtual noob!
A very good post. Taught me something I was not aware of. Thank you.
Lots of Q's in your post
Mrk has given a nice succint 'conceptualization' precis
Mrk's tutorials linked above give more procedural stuffs.
Here's a couple of user friendly starter guides:
Does the guest need an installation of another OS? Why can't it clone or use the "host" OS?
Yes as noted the 'new' (virtual) machine needs an OS
Each VM you create needs an OS installed.
In fact it is possible to 'clone' your current install into a VM but it can be complex and not always a success in VB. there can be issues with many factors in ther HAL and driver installs.
Google will show, search "physical to virtual virtualbox" the VB forums are a great repo of experience and knowledge.
Check here for many topics:
Be aware that the install of any MS OS into a VM may require (re)activation: due to different "HWare" ( even though it is virtual )
If you clone your current OS into a VM you may run into licensing issues.
Can I use my Image software to install
Many of the imageing tools have kb articles about restoring images to a new -or even 'used' VM -:
Afaicr Acronis -which I dont use- has this function.
I know from experience that Terabyte has the tools to do this relatively easily.
Again, there could be licensing issues re 'restoring' to 'different" HW
(There was/has been lots of discussion re Imaging from within the VM, I think Peter2150 at one point had FDISR and SD in a VM, Terabyte tools can be installed in VMs; you will find this is not strictly necessary as the options within VB reveal themselves.)
As an aside, if you do install a licensed OS and activate it in a VM you can of course make as many 'clones/snapshots' of that base system as you might want
Also, remember when you have made the VM it is just a file system, on the disc, in a folder and can be copied, kept, taken to any new real HW that you might require or have upgraded to.
Of course that might violate the licensing agreement with MS , but you have in fact paid for the OS in the 'machine'.
If you are on 64b system and here asking these q's VMs will not be a problem. I promise, that the creation, use, manipulation of Vms will become like breathing.
Also check VMWare Server and VMWare Player for an option.
I ended up $$ for VMWare workstation: never regretted it.
( the lack of good 3d acceleration is sometimes a pain in VMWare: VBox is ahead there, but it is in the pipeline with VM)
Sorry, jumping about a bit.
HTH, dont mean to teach you how to suck eggs
New Horizons will open
Some questions about virtualising:
Is it possible for malware to break out of a vm? Also if my real system has a keylogger/screen logger, etc, will it be able to record whatever is done in the vm?
What about hardware keyloggers, will they be able to record whatever is in the vm?
If you have ever used VNC or RemoteDesktop, virtual machines are quite like that. You start a program, that shows the desktop of another computer. It is a virtual computer that runs inside of a program, but acts just like a real computer. It is simply another OS inside of a window. Nothing magical or complicated about it, although it tends to sound that way to those who don't know much about it.
If you are reading this, and have never tried it, I would highly suggest you do so. It is without a doubt the most expensive purchase for software I have ever made, and without a doubt the single most beneficial program I have ever used. I do so much with it I am simply amazed. Give it a try, and you might find many ways yourself to use it almost daily.
Ooops, sorry : I should have mentioned some other imaging apps that have 'restorable' images with VMs: Ghost and ShadowProtect have established pathways into VMs. ShadowProtect has some nice implementations.
The product page there describes some how tos for SPdesktop and VMWare.
Note that MS Virtual PC might be another option to look at for VMs:
There has been a change from Virtual PC 2007
To the newer Win7 iteration with XPMode of which I have no direct experience of:
And in fact looks like some weird tack-on jobbie for MS.
Also: (There is so much info about sometimes it is hard to track it all)
Have a look at vmconverter for an option re 'P2V'
VMWare I assume.
lol, yes I seem to have forgotten to include that when mentioning the expensive part
thanks for responding! I am not entirely sure about this, but I think I heard sometime back from posters on this forum that there were malware which could breakout of vms, although i could be wrong about this. I wasnt paying total attention as back then vms were not something I was very interested in. So it is possible that I had misread what the poster/s in question was/were refering to.
Indeed it would be nice if some of the more experienced posters on this forum could respond to some of these concerns.
Also when you delete a snapshot of a vm is it possible for any information to be recovered about that snapshot? Or is it similar to using eraser with sbie, and the info is totally gone, unless someone is going to use an electron microscope?
EDIT: Are there some programs which dont work correctly in a vm? For example I know some malware samples hide their true capabilities while virtualised so as to fool researchers. Similarly are there some programs that for whatever reason are simply incapable of working in a vm?
There have been vulnerabilities in VMware workstation that allowed admin rights in the guest to have admin rights to the host system.
the total list can be found here
Good post, Mrk
Yes, but nevertheless you must be careful: If you save your dynamic virtual disks on a separate partition you will have probably enough space on it after a fresh installation of your guest systems. But after a while you'll find out that the size of your dynamic virtual disks for, say, your Windows guests are growing and growing - e.g., after each simple defragmentation job or other file operations. As a consequence the size of your host partition might get too small if you set the maximum size of your dynamic virtual disks too large. Thus, it's not wise to set the size of the virtual disk to 100 GB if you know that you need only 5-6 GB for your guest system (under the wrong assumption that it won't grow much bigger).
If you run into a situation that your dynamic virtual disks become too big, you can use the Microsoft tool sdelete (btw. it can also be used for Windows versions beyond Windows 2000 without any problems). You should defragment your Windows guest first, then execute sdelete -c, then shutdown the VM and exceute the VBoxManage modifyhd --compact command (see the Virtualbox manual). This can significantly reduce the size of your virtual disks.
It might even make sense to download Parted Magic, save it as an ISO file and use it temporarily as your CD/DVD-ROM in your VM. Now boot Parted Magic by altering the boot sequence of your VM and reduce the virtual disk to a reasonable size.
But in this case, if I allow something with admin rights in the guest out into the host it will still have admin rights, but I still have to transfer it out of the guest myself right? I mean it cant break out of the virtual machine by itself right? Is that what you are refering to?
due to a Vulnerability the guest operating system with admin rights could break out and have admin rights of the host system. IM not sure what was needed to be done in the guest OS to take advantage of the flaw.
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