Security when dual booting with Win 7 and Win NT 4.0

By lharwerth ·
I have some old software that I use everyday that runs on Windows NT 4.0. It's proprietary geologic mapping software. A new version would cost about $15,000, with annual maintenance of about $3,000. I can't afford that right now. Currently I'm running on a very old machine that is not connected to the internet. Moving files for email purposes is a real headache - especially since Windows NT doesn't support USB. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that this software won't run on WIN 7 or 8, but it might run on WIN XP. I need to test it, but now Microsoft will no longer support XP after April, so I need to figure something out.

I thought that dual booting might be an answer, but can I protect XP (or NT if I have to) from malware in a dual boot situation with either WIN 7, or WIN 8, or is it vulnerable? Would it be better to try and run either XP or NT in a "virtual machine"? I have never dual booted, or run a virtual machine before. Which do you think would be a better fit for my circumstance? Does anyone have a better idea? Any advice would be helpful.


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Not really sure if you understand either process here.

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Security when dual bootin ...

If you Dual Boot it means that you have 2 OS's on the one machine and the one you want to protect NT in this case isn't running when you have the other running so it can not get infected.

I currently support a business which uses a Propriety piece of Software that only runs on NT and unfortantly it doesn't run on XP so we are stuck with a NT4 Server for a very long time to come. They do construction work well earth works actually and the environment gets very dusty and the hardware doesn't live a long time in it so I've been building them units for the past 10 or so years which just run NT without a issue. Naturally these units are not connected to the Internet but so far other than some obvious things like USB Drivers not being available for NT there have been no problems.

As for XP this months XP Updates March 2014 was just 1 warning about XP no longer being supported and I honestly don't expect any next month so Microsoft has effectively shut the door on XP now. I really can not see them breaking their necks coming out with another Patch now but I could be wrong.

As for running them Virtually that just means that they run within another OS in a separate environment and when you restart the Virtual Machine it is back the way that you originally set it up. Not an issue if you have Sufficient Hardware capable of running both OS's without too much lag when you need to but a real problem if you are looking at Base Hardware which just runs one OS. Dual Booting or running Virtually should be perfectly OK provided that you follow Safe Computing Practice and ideally do not visit Porn Sites with the Old OS's I personally wouldn't be considering any Internet usage for the NT System but maybe that's just me.


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re: Dual Boot vs. Virtual Machine

by lharwerth In reply to Not really sure if you un ...

Thanks for the reply Col,

Sorry, I didn't do a good job of stating my situation and asking my question.

I know I have to run this old software that currently runs on Windows NT 4.0. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, the software requires an old LPT1 Sentinel hardware key too. As I think about it, that probably eliminates a 'virtual machine' as an option. I don't know if the LPT1 port would be recognized "virtually". (Does anyone know?) Anyway, the old software is running on a very old machine that I need to replace before it craters. It would be convenient to be able to share the files that I generate from this old software via email. Right now I'm writing all my files to a CD-R, using an old drag-n-drop / write-to-disk utility that is on the old NT machine. The disks aren't recognized on all machines, but one Vista machine in my home does read them, so I transfer them to that machine for the purpose of email. (I know, it's very 1980's, "sneaker net", if you will.) Since I know I need to replace the old hardware soon anyway, I am looking for the best solution I can find.

I acquired an older Dell Latitude with XP on it, and a port replicator for it that has a LPT1 port, hoping that I could get the old software to run on XP, and I could use that same Latitude for all my internet duties too. "Killing 2 birds with one stone" - so to speak . Before I had the chance to install, and test the old software on it, I learn that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for XP. So, it looks like I need to find another solution.

So, I would like to have the old software running on a newer machine, and it needs to be able to see the LPT1 hardware key. That PC needs to be able to access the internet, while being able to shield the old OS from the internet. I need to be able to share the files I generate from the old software, running on the old OS, with the newer OS, so that I can email them, or write them to a flash drive, ect. What would you suggest as a "best option", for a novice when it comes to using more than one OS on a one time? Maybe I'm over-thinking this. Any suggestions would be appreciated as I work through this.


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