Category Archives: Virtualization

Guess the RAM

That’s right folks today we’ll be playing the popular game…. Guess How Much RAM I’m using! Wooo! haha well, let’s see what we’re working with, a fully updated Virtual-Box 4.04 (I assume that’s the latest one). Now let’s see the desktop! Click for bigger picture.

 and hmm so quick question. What OS is this?

I see, and now for the big all important question, how much RAM am I using?! This counts for total, including the page-file or swap space. drumroll please.

Well, folks that’s all the time we have for today, until next post we will reveal the answer. Those of you who answered correctly will turn smart instantly. A great prize indeed, so play the game today!

A little more detail for those of you who actually would like to know more about the test. See it’s running a Windows XP setup install and a Debian derivative Distro called Crunchbang #! Both are known to be light and not use so much ram.

But I’m not going to leave you completely hanging, the answer to the first question, Which OS and I using? Is…. openSUSE!   And using the Gnome desktop, which uses its fair share of RAM. Those of you who got that one right, pat yourselves on the back for using your head and Google. Wait how was I supposed to know that one? See the top left corner, see that green icon? Hint, hint! It’s the openSuse Icon!  

But how am I supposed to guess how much ram the computer is using? By math, guessing, estimating, averaging, whatever you figure it out.

For those of you who would like to know a bit more about the test machine, well, you’ll have to wait until friday when I reveal the answer. But feel free to guess the CPU, the computer type I’m using and the specs. So until next time, remember the Linux Motto. Do it yourself!

Showing Off Virtual Machines

You may already know that my preferred choice of virtualization is Virtual-Box, why? Is it because I love Open-Source? Not entirely, but that did help my decision. See, even before I used Linux and learned about FOSS (Free Open Source Software, I assume), I searched for a good, powerful virtual machine manager, I tried Virtual PC for like a month, too simple. I tried the new Windows 7 virtual machine thing, too big and didn’t work on my machine, and I even tried Vmware. So let me start off with my experience with Vmware.

I downloaded a trial of Vmware workstation for Linux. Since I use Debian, there was no trouble at all installing it, the folks at Vmware made that easy, and after using for a couple days, with 3d and Aero working on it I was impressed. The virtual machines installed very quickly, just as fast and Virtual-Box, if not faster and I really enjoyed all the networking features it provided. (So it got me thinking, I should do some side-by-side comparison)But one day, on the rare occasions that I rebooted, I couldn’t open any virtuals anymore. Some message about the kernel and system thing, I didn’t pay attention much, but later I found out that every-time I reboot I have to remember to start up the Vmware service so my virtual would work, I fixed it now so i can continue testing, just a little bump in the road.

So Vmware I guess you don’t like Linux do you? At least Linux users, maybe you like Linux admins a bit more. So that’s my take on Vmware, it was good and worked, but not for me. Why? I felt it was a bit too user-friendly, but that’s just me.

Now why VirtualBox, I’ll admit it has a silly name, but it does the job super well, also 80% of my virtual machines are Linux Distros, and VirtualBox just loves Linux, it also works well with Windows virtuals too. And for some reason, on a 2GB machine it just runs nice.

Now to get to the fun stuff, actual testing! My test machine is a 2.8gz Pentium Dual-core, 4 GB ram(recent upgrade), Linux Mint Debian 64bit. All other specs are unnecessary. So now that you know the test rig, I did some testing.  (I used the latest of the two programs at the time of writing, i don’t remeber what they where cause I wrote this post a month ago but forgot to post it.) Now I know that Vmware installs Windows 7 at very fast speeds, and so does Virtualbox, but which is faster? The results are below. Note that both tests were very fair and impartial.

VMware Windows 7 pro install default settings, create VM and install VM additions and load 13:28

Now for Virtual-Box install Windows 7 pro, default settings, create VM and install VM additions and load 13:08

As we can see, Virtual-box was the winner! But only by 20 seconds! :( Oh well, still fast enough for me. Also what I beleive is that VMware relied on it’s speed due to it’s default 1 gig of ram and it’s easy user interface. When I created the machine using Vmware there are less buttons to click (which is nice) and you may have noticed that the install is all very automated, when compared to Virtual-Box whose default is 512 RAM, and is not at all automated, this takes time and even may cause a user error in cases like mine. So even with all that Vbox was faster. Good show, good show, Now let’s see how they both install a service pack.

Now the environment. Freshly installed Win 7 Pro with virtual machine additions, the service pack was downloaded from MS as an iso, using Virtual Clone Drive to mount it and run the install, both Virtual Machines were connected to the internet and nothing else was changed.

VMware Win 7 SP1 install: 32:45
Virtual-Box Win 7 SP1 install: 45:02

As we can see it’s almost a 15 minute difference! So I would assume that VMware installs software faster, this may relate to faster speeds to some, but it may have also been to it’s 1GB RAM advantage, so to be fair to Virtual-Box, I ran the test again and upped the RAM 1GB.  The results for virtual box where….. 38:12. Hmm so it’s still slower but ohh well, VMware wins the installation round.

Now I would love to do more tests, but they do take forever. And even though for some reason they install faster than installing on an actual machine, (Somehow) they are still slow.

Well, now that’s about all the time I have today, I will test some more later on in the future but for now, it’s nice to know that the usual “You get what you pay for” doesn’t necessarily apply here. Yes Vbox may not be as user-friendly as Vmware, but it does the job in a no nonsense way, next time, I’ll try Ubuntu and see how fast that is, along with other fair speed tests. But ok please know that I am not trying to prefer one over the other. See for me, Virtual-Box is perfect, due to my heavy Linux Usage, and I’ve noticed that at my tech school everyone sees VMware as King, but mainly becasue they use it for Windows stuff and I agree, for windows I would go with Vmware, but one other problem is that it is a paid product, not free, and even though I could try it out for 30days, mehh, i feel like it’s not enough time to know someone in that time. Also Vmware does not run on a 9 year old P4 laptop with 512 RAM. Go figure.

Side note. Virtual PC is great for people who love Microsoft operating systems and like it’s simplicity. It’s available for Win Xp, Win 7, and and Win 7 Beta (Vista) Vista give a weird warning, but ignore it and it should work. You can even boot from a VHD Virtual Hard Disk using Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ll show you how to do that too, as soon as i get my hands on Ultimate.

Virtual PC

VPC Service Pack 1

Virtual Box The best :) Available for any Operating System you can think of and runs almost anything.

VMware. Must have money, or willing to try out a trial.

How to try out Google Chrome OS

Well, on some of my early posts, I blogged about Google Chrome. How it was hyped up to be a newer OS than what most of us are used to, and now they have even given out many laptops or notebooks with the Google Chrome OS for people to test it out and give their feedback. Many of us signed up, only a few were chosen, however don’t feel left out, you can still try out the latest Chrome OS on your very own computer without damaging it, or installing it on your machine. Remember, we have virtual machines for that.

So if you are really interested in trying out the Google Chrome OS, but don’t have the time to do it right now, read on! I’ll just sum it up in a few short words. It’s like the Google Chrome Browser, simple and to the point, designed for ultimate web surfing. There you have it, it’s an OS designed to be on the web. It was not built to be away from the internet. In fact, the Google Chrome Notebooks have built-in 3G and that way you will never be disconnected. Does his mean that if my Google Chrome OS is away from the internet, it is completely useless? I don’t mean to be rude, but yes, about as useful as a dead dog. So what is this good for then? You may not realize this, but you are on the internet 90% of the time or doing something related to it. So Google decided, let’s go 100% see if people don’t care, and for a notebook, wouldn’t you know it, most people don’t care.

So how to test it out? Because you can’t believe everything I say. Well, this dude created a site where you can easily get the latest build of the Chrome OS. It’s Hexxeh. And on that page you can download USB .img’s and these can be put on USB’s to test on your real machine, I did this, and it works. I’d like to show you a photo, but I got lazy. Here are instructions and how to install a img on a USB.




These how to’s are editable so if you have anything productive to share about installing this, you can share, if not, don’t speak. Now, when you download the IMG it will come packed in a tar.gz, simply unzip and exctract IMG and follow the intructions on how to install on your USB depending on what OS you are using.

But lets say you don’t have an extra 2GB flash drive to spare. Well, there always Virtual Machines! Yay, there are now Vmware and VirtualBox images that you can download and install on your own machine. Woop! Woop! These won’t run as fast the the Live USB method, but you can still get a somewhat good feel for this OS.

Download the latest Vmware or VirtualBox from this link. Virtual Machine Images of Chrome OS. All these files are very compressed in order to maximize bandwidth so you will have to uncompress these using 7zip or whatever you like. And to install these on Vmware, simply extract and double click whatever you extracted, easy. For us people who like to do things manually. The Virtual-Box tar.gz has a vdi, you create a new virtual machine, I would recommend at least 1GB or ram, 2GB if you can spare it, and direct the new virtual machine creator to the vdi Google Chrome OS, when it asks if you want to make a hard drive, use one you already have. Don’t create a new one.

Once the virtual machines start, they have mouse integration enabled, so in and out is easy, you can log in with your Gmail account or use ID: facepunch Password: facepunch And now we see what it looks like.

This is what the login screen looks like, however i prefer to log in with my account. Just to really test it.

Ohh cool it got all my apps from my Google browser i use on my machine, i didn’t even have to set up sync or nothin’! That was easy. So as you can see, the interface is clean and simple, juts plain ole Google Chrome browser there, sometimes all you need. Also i apologize for the photos, i didn’t have time, or feel like editing them, so just the virtual machine is the Google Chrome OS, not the rest, the rest is Debian with a nice Gnome GUI. But back to the Chrome OS. On the right hand corner maybe you can catch a glimpse at the power button and the network icon. No close button of course, but i just love how this OS is crazy simple, yet can be made very complicated and personalized, depending on your browsing preferences.

To turn off, Click on Machine tab of the virtualbox and click ACPI Shutdown and it will log you out (Similar to pressing off button on Chrome laptop) and then you can shutdown safely)

Afte using this OS, all i can say is, wow, it boots fast even on a virtual machine, imagine how fast and cool web surfing would be on an actual netbook? So if you caught some of the numbers on the pictures, you may have seen, how long it took to boot up and other useful tid-bits. OK well, stop reading about it and actually use it! try it out! ok laters dudes.

PS, this was not the virtual machines post I was talking about, it will come later.

PS. I also would like to thank Hexxeh for making these available and and the people at the Chrome OS Project, if you want to learn more about Chrome OS, see this page.

Portable Virtual Machine?

This ain’t gonna be yer usual post ehh fellas. As a matter of fact this is a super advanced post. So for those of you who actually wanna try this. Go right ahead.

What am I talking about here. Portable Virtual Machines? Well. How many of you know how a virtual machine works? It’s a software implementation of hardware in an emulated environment. Right, good answer you pass, and when you create one, the OS thinks it’s in a real hardware environment and can act like it would if it where on an actual machine. Usually used for testing and Server file sharing and stuff. (ok no one likes a show off) Very cost effective and cool.

But here’s my problem. I usually have to work on my own Windows Server 2008 Virtual machine and save the changes and do stuff to it on a daily basis. The problem is, the only machine i have capable of running a 2008 server virtual is my home pc becasue my laptop cannot handle it. Unless i fully actually install it on my laptop, but i would never sacrifice my laptop that way. And it would super slow still. So, what i realized is that people carry their virtuals with them all the time. But they use virtual pc here at school. And one thing about Windows servers, is that they are attached, really well to their emulated hardware. And if you try to use a Windows server that was created on Virtual PC and move it to Virtualbox. It would blues Screen of death. And the same thing the other way around.

One solution could have been just to use Virtual PC and work on my server through there. But I don’t want to. I want to use my virtual box. So then in order to make a fully portable virtual machine. One that can be used on any machine without having to install it. See, here was my goal. Take my windows Server 2008 Virtual machine and work on it anywhere on any computer, (capable enough) and in less than 5 minutes from boot up. Also without changing anything on the computer itself.

My original goal was to find a Linux live CD that had virtualbox in it, and only that, also that it would run in the RAM, in order to prevent overhead on the live usb hard drive i was going to install it to. The problem with that is there was no “real” Live Virtualbox invented yet, (the one i found had too much overhead “Pinguy OS”) so i had to create my own using SLAX. made it super easy to do. You can try to make your own distro too! The only “problem” is that it doesn’t easily install natively. That’s not a problem! that’s just what i need! So Slax it is. I built it with virtual-box and all the modules needed. Installed it on a USB flash drive and Started it up. The Virtual box run fine, but there was only one problem. A permissions issue was not letting me write to my other external drive where my virtual machines were. So in order to solve this i unmounted the external, (i later found out it was an NTFS problem.) and force mounted it in the terminal. Once i had write access to it i was finally able to access my virtual machines and work on them as if they were in their natural environment.

So as you can see it took two usb drives, one for OS and the other for DATA storage of the vdi virtual hard drives. This way i can work on the anywhere at school, or at home or any place i can run my Live cd, Live USB or that already has virtualbox installed.

Why did i choose virtual box, Mainly because it’s super easy to set up, can be installed and run from a live medium. And because I’m used to it.

Now, i looked on forums and all over the web to see if someone has taken my idea and improved but have not found that yet, maybe it’s not practical, but it is very cost effective, much better than buying a new laptop. And hopefully sometime in the future Oracle, (the company that owns Virtual-box, will make their own Live CD that is much more efficient for the same purpose I’m using it for.  The only downside to this i see for far is that i need to use two usb dirves as you may have noticed, I would like to only rely on the 500GB external i story my Virtuals, but the master boot record for SLAX is only meant for Fat32 and not NTFS which is what is needed for +4 gb file sizes, and we al know virtual Hard drives grow that big. Ok so, in order to prevent fancy partiioning and wasted time i just decided to use another flash drive. Effective and it works, running this in the RAM is very fast, until i fire up a virtual and then it starts to slow down. so i also went with running it off the usb to save ram space and it’s works well now.

Ok well thanks for listening to my long boring story. More good useful posts coming up soon! until then.

(update!) Ok it’s been a week since i wrote this, but i have now just been banned from doing this on the school computers. Due to hacking reasons and they think i don’t know what I’m doing. Come on! I know what I’m doing will not harm the school computers! In fact they think other-wise due to that fact the the whole reason i started to do this was that the school computers take like 10 Minutes to start up! no joke! So i assumed (correctly) that it would be faster for me to boot from a USB than the usual Windows XP 64 bit. So in my impatience i shut down and hard rested the school computer i was working on, it took too long to reboot, i was like, forget this junk, and in hard reseting the Windows XP, we all know what happens. The NTFS ruins the current file it was working on and bla bla bla XP won’t work. So long story short. I ruined an XP machine, not by using Linux, but simply by restarting it. So they don’t want me using Linux on their computers ever again. I mean other teachers allowed it, (or probably didn’t care) but one noticed me and immediately made a notice of it, so ask your teachers if you can do their on their computers.

Tech Slang (For newbies)

In the real world, many people have their own lingo, or way of saying this to get ideas across. In the tech world, we have that too. However, not many people understand it. Turn out, around 50% (Made up Statistic) do not know any tech slang at all. So to clue the rest of you in. Here goes the most commonly used tech words….

Computer: Also referred to as:”rig” “Machine” “pc” “box” “the thing” and so on.

CPU: Central Processing Unit. The square thing inside your PC that processes “all” the information that goes through, in and out. To speed things up. Getting a faster processor always helps. It usually has a Heat Sink (Metal thing that dissipates heat) and usually a fan ontop of it.

RAM: Random Access Memory, The free space your computer has to run around in. Not to store stuff, nothing is stored in the ram permanently, it’s just to let programs run free in there. Think of it as a Parking lot. Except the cars are always moving in the parking lot. No car stays in there forever, just temporarily. The more space (RAM) you have, the less likely there is to be a traffic jam. PS also, Vista and 7 is like a Hummer SUV in a parking lot. Needs at least 2 spaces, or 2GB to run comfortably. :)

HD: not High Definition, usually it means Hard Drive. eg. I got 2 hd’s in my pc! Hard drives store stuff, you know this. Info, data, software, games, everything on your pc, is stored in here. HD’s inside your computer usually have rotating disks and magnets. Hard drives can fail, or you can ruin your pc yourself. Make sure to always back up your important information! Always worth the extra cost.

Back up: Not the reverse thing. It means saving information or data, from your pc, to somewhere else. No this does not mean in another folder in your computer, it means like on a DVD, external HD, or Flash Drive.

USB: Universal Serial Bus, this stands for the little square thing on your computer you plug it into. Not the Cable, not the Flash drive, but the plug. Most newer USB’s are 2.0, like up to 50 MB’s real speed. Older and slower 1.1 is like 10 MB’s and the earliest is like 1.5 MB’s. My old Laptop. These speeds are not 100% accurate but they are what you’ll usually get.

Flash Drive: The little USB thing that stores info. Flash stands for it being of Flash memory, as in non-moving memory. No rotating disks in there, just solid, on-off transistors. One rule of thumb, if it’s silent, it’s flash drive, it it makes noise, (wirring, clicking) It’s a Disk drive.

SSD: Yet another type of Hard drive. this stands for Solid State Drive. It’s like the mega Flash drive. It goes inside your computer and accesses the data much faster than spinning drives. All tech dudes want to have one or two of these. But sadly, there are expensive.

SATA or PATA: These are the connections to connect to the Hard drives to the motherboard. basically, SATA = Newer drives. PATA = Older drives. SATA faster, PATA slower. You will only see this when you are shopping for a hard drive. I don’t think they sell PATA Hard drives anymore. You have to get those used.

Motherboard: The place where everything connects on your computer. Every device must connect to your motherboard one way or another. Some call it the Logic board, but bla! Motherboard is the correct term. Also known as MOBO

OS: Operating System. It is the System that Operates your pc. Huh? Well, the software that runs your pc. For example. your couldn’t use your computer if it didn’t have Windows? right? Windows XP, Vista and 7 are all operating systems. They let you control the hardware by clicking on imaginary buttons. Wee! (Warning: Keyboard and Mouse are not part of the operating system) Linux Mint, FreeBSD, Mac OSX, Win Server 2008. Are also other OS’s. Some free, some, crazy expensive. Your operating system can be replaced and broken just like hardware, but is more easy to fix. Most of the times. It is Software though and not necessarily permanent on the HD. you can move it from one HD to another.

Linux: Read the bottom posts of my blog.

DVD and CD: These are two different things! you have no idea how many times i’v had to teach that. A DVD will not work in a CD only drive. but a CD will Work in a DVD drive and CD drive and in a Bluray. think of the ladder. CD, DVD, Bluray.

HDDVD: ? Unknown. Ancient, gone, dead.

Virtual Machines: Read below some of my other blog posts.

Internet Browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, are all internet Browsers, they allow you to browse the internet, you already know that. But remember that,, MSN, Yahoo, are not internet browsers. They are Websites and Search engines.

Servers: A bunch of computers whose only purpose in life is to serve data. not humans, but data. Whether they serve it out to the internet or to our school, they only dish out data and files and keep track of the computers and User accounts. they do a lot more, but this is usually what they are most commonly used for. Servers can also host websites for you and download stuff for you. You have a server in your very own house. or somewhere where you’ll never see it. Like across the country hosting your website out to the internet. PS. most Servers run some sort of Linux OS. Windows = too expensive.

Peripherals: Say it with me now, Pear-if-air-uls. I think that’s how you say it. :) this refers to anything that connects to your computer. EG, Webcams, Keyboard, mouse, USB stuff, like camera external, and USB drive, monitors. Anything basically that’s not part of the box.

CRT and LCD Monitor: you know what Monitors are. LCD = Liquid Crystal Display. these are the flat panel monitors. CRT = Cathode Ray Tube, these are the huge bulky things. They provide better quality picture than LCD, but LCD is catching up and getting better quality picture all the time.

Router: You should know this too. That little box that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) gives you to connect to the internet. Basically, it routes packets from them to your computer, enabling you to connect and browse the web. Simple to use. But sometimes people forget that you can also use it to connect multiple computers together and share information. Called…

Networking: No we don’t mean people networking. We mean computer networking. We use routers, sometimes big ones that connect up to 20 PC’s on one router. The Server usually keeps track of who is where and what they share. But the router is where they all connect, they used to be called hubs,  but those where lame and got better so we named them routers. Networking can be done in your very own home, all you need is two computers, a router and some Ethernet cable.

Ethernet: Something used to catch the ether bunny. haha Just kidding. No, it’s a type of cable that is used to connect computers and routers. it has 4 pairs of twisted cable inside and a bigger plug than your average phone cord. There are some standards such as CAT5e and CAT6 Ethernet cable. 5e is nice, but 6 is faster, remember that. Also more expensive.

OK I ran out of time today. If you liked it I can continue and make another article with more and equally informative data for you. I hope this has been of some help to anyone. Also, email me if you have any questions.


How to make a Virtual Machine.

Step 1: Download VirtualBox My Personal Favourite

or Virtual PC. Never Mind this one, It’s a joke. Try Very Efficient and easy to use. Techguy90 Loves this one.

OK this is a revision of the old how to. Because the old one was to vague. This is what you will need before you make a virtual machine. Get your Cooking gloves on!

1. You will need to download a Virtual Machine Manager. Eg. VirtualBox or VMware Player.

2. You will need to Install it, by clicking on the .exe

3. After install is complete you will need to get a Windows or Linux install cd. It depends on what kind of virtual machine you want. Do you want a Windows XP machine? or a Windows Vista? Or an Ubuntu Virtual Machine. Now there are many ways to get one.

a. You can buy one from the store. Expensive.

b. Find the one that came with your computer.

c. Download it. From (cough, cough) torrents. (note) The act of downloading a Windows .iso or cd image is technically illegal. However, I found out at school that it you already own a Legal Windows PC. You are ok. As long as don’t don’t install it on any other physical machines, but your own. And to tell you the truth, where are those Virtual machines located? On your Physical Computer. Therefore. no one has ever gone to jail for installing an “illegal” copy of windows in a virtual machine. (fin de nota)

4. Or if installing a Windows Virtual machine sounds too risky for you. Install a Linux virtual machine. Has a free operating system, no charge for you to play around with however you please. Or if Linux doesn’t tickle your fancy, So there you have it.

So now you have the Virtual machine manager and the ISO’s or an install CD. Start your VirtualBox/VMWare and follow the instructions given to start cretaing a machine. I will sum them up now. (note) Since I am dealing with two different programs, both ways will be different, but both will have th same idea of doing things.

1. It will ask you what kind of virtual machine you want to create. You type name

2. Asks you how much RAM(see Nerd Slang Post) you want to give your machine. Usually the defaults are fine, but if you plan on doing some fancy stuff then change it. But remember, any RAM you give a virtual machine, it will remove from your actual machine. EG. I have 2GB ram. If i give my Virtual 1GB my Host machine will be using up the usual “AND” the 1GB I gave to the virtual, get it? good.

3. It asks you to create a new hard drive. And then it asks how big you want to make it. This also affects your actual hard drive space. In virtual box, it’s best to pick “Dynamically Expanding” Save you lots more HD Space because it only uses what it’s taking up, instead of actually taking up predetermined space even though you haven’t even installed anything yet. it’s the same rule as the RAM, don’t give it more that you actually have.

4. It will ask you to start the machine and ask where you are installing from. (virtualbox only, VMware will have already asked you by now) You tell it where the install media is and click next.

5. The OS installation will start. your virtual machine is now installing! Yay! Follow steps as required whether you are using Windows or Linux. PS. Ubuntu is the easiest OS to install in my own opinion. And the fastest too.

So there you have it. Any questions may be asked, in fact I encourage them. Have fun Virtualizing! It’s the way of the future!!!! PS. here is a video in case you still don’t know how, i explain step by step using Virtualbox.

Virtual Machines

OK what are Virtual machines? Remember the film Inception? Well, a virtual machine is like a computer within a computer. Complete with it’s own “fake” hardware and “real” operating system, all inside your very own computer, like using one computer within another. Like this.

Windows in Ubuntu

Virtual Machine Example

So. What are these machines good for? What can they do that my regular computer can’t?

Jared Says: Well, you can download stuff inside your virtual machine and that way, you make sure that you don’t accidentally download a virus and not infect your host machine. Also works for downloading torrents. Also if you want to experiment run a virtual from a limited user account on your computer never from the admin. account to prevent damage on both systems, virtual and Actual.

Erik Says: I use it to test stuff I wouldn’t dare to do in my real machine, surfing download sites, opening virus, programming viruses, and testing out Linux Distributions.

OK! you now want to create your own virtual machine! How do I do it? Will tell you, in my next post! What kind of virtual machines can I create? Any kind! Windows 7 Virtual, Windows 95 Virtual, even any Linux virtual.  Me next post will be a guide to help you create your own and explain the basic logicality of creating one.