Virtual Machine?

By Tyharo ·
I have been reading up on virtual machines after my uncle recommended that I turn my laptop into one. Although I'm still researching, i would like to know what this would do to my laptop. I have three total laptops up and running, two on linux and an my new laptop on windows 7. I'm going to mess around and try to get the feel of what exactly a virtual machine does by trying it on an older laptop. I was recommended to try it on my new one but I'm don't want to mess my new laptop up. If I do end up making my new laptop into a virtual machine would it slow the computer down? And since the laptop is a gaming laptop, would i notice drops in game performance?
Notice that i am still reading about Virtual machines, so I'm really new to the idea of it. Any tips or recommendations would be much obliged.

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It depends

by adelgadom In reply to Virtual Machine?


If what you are looking is investigate and introduce yourself into virtual machine world, then, I'd recommend you use one of your old machines and test it with one of the free virtual machines software available.

Of course your new gaming laptop will decrease it's performance if you convert it into a virtual machine. It will use RAM and processor as needed for your virtual machines.

But if you are interested in trying xen on linux, you'll need a processor with VT or AMD64 technology, wich is quite new.

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More info

by dldorrance In reply to Virtual Machine?

Adding a program which is a virtual machine (VM), allows you to run multiple operating systems (OS) simultaneously in addition to your native OS. When the VM is running it will share your computer's memory and microprocessor with the native OS thus slowing down the computer. The slowing is maximum when both OS's are doing something; the slowdown will be minimal if the OS in the the virtual machine is idle. The slowing will not occur if you choose not to run the VM at the time as when you need full computer capabilities for gaming.

There are several virtual machine programs which work on Linux or Windows based systems. As they are free downloads, you lose nothing by trying a VM. Since the VM is like any other program; if you decide you don't want to use it you simply don't start it or delete it. A non-running VM program will not alter your computer, besides taking up some space on your hard drive.

Personally I use a VM to run Windows on a Linux based system; I also use a VM to "try out" various OS's without having to reformat/partition a hard disk drive. I do not do any gaming. On my 1.6 gHz, dual core machine, programs in VM's tend to run very slowly with only 1 GB RAM, but run at an acceptable speed with 2 GB RAM.

I would recommend Virtualbox (the PUEL version, not the open source editon (OSE) which lacks USB support). Read about the PUEL version here:

Download the PUEL version here:

If the latest PUEL version (V. 4) does not work "out of the box" on Linux (as it did not work for me), look at the section on older versions and download the latest version 3 choice.

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Install OS?

by Tyharo In reply to Virtual Machine?

I'm using Virtual box by oracle and i have Ubuntu working. When i run the OS it launches in a small window and will ask me to install or try.
Do i want to install the operating system?
And if i have the VM closed will it still effect my pc'c performance?

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Need a bit more specific information

by dldorrance In reply to Install OS?

Let me see if I understand the question. You have installed virtualbox. Do I understand that you want to install Ubuntu into virtualbox to try it out?

When you have virtualbox closed it does not use any resources, except to occupy space on your hard drive. If you have virtualbox running but no OS is running in it, virtualbox uses very minimal resources, perhaps a few percent of your microprocessor.

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by Tyharo In reply to Need a bit more specific ...

Yes, that's what i have so far.
I have used Ubuntu before on another laptop so i know how to use it.
So I have directed Virtual box to the Ubuntu.iso file and I am ablw to run it but in a minimal small window. I will get the install window asking me to Try Ubuntu or if i want to install it.I know from install ubuntu previously that you are able to install it along side andother OS. So do I want to install the Ubuntu OS?
Will intallation of Ubuntu create its own partition? or will I need to find a partitioning program?

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Just a guess here...

by dldorrance In reply to Correct

As you know Ubuntu is a live CD. If you choose a default install (the first choice) Ubuntu is loaded into memory only. So installing Ubuntu into a virtual machine is also a 2 step process. In the first step Ubuntu is loaded into *virtual memory*; in the second step it is loaded onto a *virtual HDD*. Sounds like you are on step 1.

(I believe you can install Ubuntu in one step by choosing OEM install (or some such language) rather than default (live CD) at Ubuntu startup time).

Don't worry about formatting and partitions. The VM takes care of that in subsequent steps, as you will see when you direct the virtual memory resident Ubuntu to install to the virtual computer.

Hint. When you get to this step chose the default storage method, which is to store Ubuntu onto a dynamically expanding/contracting file, rather than actually allocating space on your physical HDD, the latter limiting your native OS from using it. This second option, however, may speed up your machine by 20% (or so I am told by a friend who manages computer systems).

Installing Windows, which is not a live CD, is a one step, rather than a 2 step process.

Hope this helps.

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Still having a problem

by Tyharo In reply to Just a guess here...

I'm not running the CD, im using the .iso file that i downloaded from ubuntu. When i start ubuntu through virtual box, it launches and will ask to install or try. I click install and then it asks me to format or use a partition. If i use a partition, the one partition thats there i am not able to install on.

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Scratch that last post

by Tyharo In reply to Still having a problem

well i did end up formatting but it didnt do anything to my actual running os but install ubuntu.So it works...kind of. Now the problem is that the actual OS when running will not go full screen. It is always contained in a small box about 1/3 the size of the actual screen. If i do switch to scale mode the window will become distorded and hard to look at. How can i get this to go will screen to match my resolution?

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Several possibilities...

by dldorrance In reply to Scratch that last post

Have you installed Guest Additions? This will provide full video as well as full mouse integration. If not in an OS running in Virtualbox click on Display at the top of the screen and click on Guest Additions.

If you have already loaded the above and still have this problem, in your guest OS check the Video settings (in Mint it is menu>control>panel>hardware>display) and adjust.

If the problem still exists in Virtualbox while in the guest OS click on File and then click on Full Screen.

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Old is not good

by unhappyuser In reply to Virtual Machine?

We virutalize old machines because of potential hardware issues, like age, or the need to keep older software running that's not compatible with the new OS'.

Setting up a virtual environment on an old machine is not recommended. You need enough CPU, HD and memory so you can allocate them to the various virtual machines on that particular physical machine. If you are in the experimentation stage you can probably play with the old machine but it will be very slow. Try upgrading the memory if you can as that will help some.

Good luck!


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