VM with windows guest

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by rm22, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    looking to setup my first VM - need something to try out different security apps

    the host is Win7 & guest will be Win7. i'm looking at Virtualbox since it has snapshots - install tutorials look pretty straight forward. But installing Windows as a guest looks like a pain in the butt - looking at all the issues posted on Virtualbox forum.

    i think these are the options?

    1) free P2V converter - VMware or Paragon. But Win7 came installed on the PC so i'd assume OEM license which apparently will not install in a VM?

    2) factory reset iso - same problem as above - will not install in VM?

    3) i have Win7 install disk somewhere - i guess this might also be OEM... if not i'd only get 30 days. it's old too so 5 years of windows updates

    4) online Win7 iso - i guess these have mostly disappeared... but i found a 90 day Win7 Enterprise trial. i'd assume this would be relatively up to date so would avoid the endless windows updates? might be an issue getting touchpad and stuff to work on my laptop - or is this functionality transferred from the host??

    i'm assuming option 4 is the way to go - but i'd appreciate any advice &/or links to tutorials/posts that will help point me in the right direction. obviously i'd like the setup to be as fast as possible so it's not too painful to repeat the process :)
     
  2. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415

    You probably cannot virtualise your OEM machine: would need new activation keys
    You might get lucky ... suck it and see :cautious:

    There are still cheap W7 keys and DVDs around in online retail and ebay to stick in the VM: once there : multiple snapshots :)

    Erm: If anyone was so inclined...there might be a way to futz the date in the VM to <cough> prolong the preactivation use for your OEM or enterprise install.
    This might be illegal and cannot be condoned.
     
  3. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    If you only gauge a product by it's forum, you'd pretty much rule out any product. VirtualBox is easy to use and works swimmingly. "as fast as possible": if you rush something new, you're going to make mistakes/miss stuff.

    OEM media will prompt you for a key since the BIOS won't match the OEM.

    A regular Microsoft login can get many trial ISOs/evaluation keys; check there.
     
  4. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    haha - didn't want to suck it this time :) thanks for the info
     
  5. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    i just meant that i'd rather not sit around for a day or 2 trying to update windows, etc... been there, done that.

    right, so no trial period - key is needed to activate on install. which i guess would fail since it's being used by the host.

    i'm not sure where you mean - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery requires an activation key to download the iso. Digital river links are dead... Technet Evaluation Centre only has Win8.1 & 10... i don't actually remember how i got to the the Win7 trial - i have it bookmarked part way through the profile forms...
     
  6. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    Yeah, I can't find the page I was thinking of; I hate Microsoft's site--it is painfully slow and they keep changing it and the WordPress giant pithy text and pictures of nothing relevant make it more cumbersome to navigate and their search function is useless.

    Anyway, my point was that VirtualBox is worth a solid try.
     
  7. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    ok - thanks for the info guys - we'll see how it goes
     
  8. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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  9. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    @rm22 That first link with VMs from Microsoft is great. I have actually been using the Enterprise VMs from that link over the past 1-2 weeks for various testing across various platforms. Those VMs activate for 90 days, so you just have to make sure you make snapshots to make it easier to maintain usage of the VMs or, of course, keeping the original download package is also a good idea. For what it's worth, you can also disable the C:\wallpaper\ executables from starting up and changing the wallpaper at every boot. You just have to disable to wallpaper changing task in Task Scheduler. I like the fact that I can utilize these VMs legitimately and with proper licencing without having to resort to using pirated versions, so it is nice that Microsoft provides these VMs for each virtualization software and each Windows platform. So I definitely recommend that link as well from Microsoft.
     
  10. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    And they even state to use snapshots to extend usage of the VM in the install instructions.

    I have installed the OEM Windows 7 disk that came with my PC so it only has a 30 day trial - however, when I revert to the snapshot I took after installing the "days to activate" does not reset. I wonder if I need to use their Enterprise VMs to be able to reset using a snapshot? Does this value reset for you when you revert to a snapshot?
     
  11. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    @rm22 It might be better to go with the Enterprise 90-day trials. I believe that the OEM versions may store the activation state in the BIOS along with hardware hash. Although I think that the more likely possibility here is that with both VirtualBox and VMware, they both have options that can allow the guess OS clock to synchronize with the host OS clock. I don't recall if that is enabled by default, but I can see that causing issues with 90-day trial activations when reverting to an old snapshot.

    I just did some additional research and it looks like when installing Guest Additions it automatically synchronises guest OS clock with host OS clock. Here is an article on how to disable this time sync feature: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#disabletimesync

    You would most likely need to open an elevated command prompt and navigate to the location where VB is installed on your system (likely C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\ by default) and from that location, run in admin cmd prompt:
    Code:
    VBoxManage setextradata "VM name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/VMMDev/0/Config/GetHostTimeDisabled" 1
    Change parameters according to your setup. I haven't found a way to disable this time sync within the GUI unfortunately. But this is something that would be critical when it comes to maintaining activation state of Windows past these 90-day trials since, after restoring a snapshot, it is likely this time sync which would be tripping up the activation state.

    Let me know how it goes. Best of luck.
     
  12. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    In both these cases, a Windows 7 Vm will work fine and activate with the product key on the chassis which is usually not used unless a clean install was done at some time. The original OEM install uses a different product key that is the same for all systems from the same OEM. It uses the combination of OEM product key, OEM certificate and OEM SLIC string in the BIOS to activate.

    When a new Windows VM is started, Windows activation will give a message that the product key is invalid in the case of P2V copy and ask for a new product key. Enter the one on the product key tag and it will activate. You can then use the same product key to activate a Windows 10 VM.

    I've virtualized a lot of my old systems with the Paragon Virtualization manager and in all cases, the product key on the box was accepted for activation in all versions of Windows from Xp on.
     
  13. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot - that was the problem. Here's a few additional things to know regarding a date freeze...

    1) You also need to disable the Internet time sync (on windows at least) in the "change date and time settings"
    2) By default every time a VM is started it's time is set to that of the Host - disabling time sync has not effect on this - so you can 'restart' or 'save state' of the VM and preserve the date change.
    3) Reverting to a snapshot is the same as opening a 'saved state' so the time is set to what it was when the snapshot was taken

    I have noticed a few problems already though - a few web pages will not load because of the date miss-match. I wonder what effect this would have on the function of signature/list updates such as for AVs or ad blockers
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  14. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    Great - thanks. I have had to do clean installs so I've used the key on the chassis, but I'll definitely do this when the hardware dies and would, I assume still be able to use it on a Win 10 VM if I ever feel the need to set one up
     
  15. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    I forgot to ask you - what state are these Enterprise VMs in - are they relatively up to date or are there 200+ updates like my OEM install?
     
  16. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    Unfortunately many of them are quite far behind on updates. Once you select your OS, then select which guest OS and VM software from the drop down menu, right near the download link it will show you a "build date" for each VM that Microsoft provides there. As you will see, many of them have a build date of late 2014, meaning that it would be update to date up until that build date. So Windows 7, for example, would have SP1 plus whichever updates were applied up until that build date. So many of them still require a lot of updates. The Windows 10 VMs had a build date of something like mid-2015 so were also somewhat behind on updates, I don't believe that they even had the major 1511 build update. So hopefully Microsoft will provide some newer VM builds at some point in the near future.
     
  17. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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    ok - thanks for the info. That's too bad - the updates were really the only pain in setting up the VM.
     
  18. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    @rm22 You're welcome.
     
  19. rm22

    rm22 Registered Member

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