Using Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 & VirtualBox

So, for a long while, Sun’s VirtualBox xVM has been my ‘virtualization’ product of choice. Mostly because I had tried the much talked about Microsoft Virtual PC product and couldn’t figure out how it ran. Then, I read about VirtualBox (which had been owned by Innotek before it was bought out by Sun) was perfect for running ISOs of Ubuntu or whatever Linux distro I had on hand. It has USB support which I had also read was something that Microsoft Virtual PC lacked (it has an alternative called Virtual Machine additions). However, I had never been able to run a virtual Microsoft operating system via VirtualBox primarily because I didn’t know that unlike Linux, ISOs of Microsoft operating systems were not free. My desktop computer came with a pre-installed Microsoft operating system (Microsoft Windows XP) so I didn’t have an installation CD. Nevertheless, I scoured the internet, but stopped short of using warez because I’m very careful not to break the law and more than anything, infect my computer. Fast forward to over 2 weeks ago when I lost my data during a botched driver installation of HP drivers for the Officejet J6480.

Prior to this particular incident, I’ve had to reformat my vista laptop a few times and I lost no sleep because I always had current file backups of my data as well as complete image backups. However, after suffering through HP’s installation of drivers for their printer, my PC refused to start point-blank. I was essentially fucked because I didn’t think toΒ  make a file backup of my computer before embarking on the installation. To cut the long story short, I knew that even though I didn’t have a recent file backup, I had a fairly recent Windows Complete Image backup on one of my hard drives. All this while, I had assumed that I could somehow pull files off a Windows Complete Image backup, but I chose the wrong time to test this assumption. The bitter answer was: I could not pull individual files off a Windows Complete Image Backup (they should put that on the label, in the words of a commercial or insist on customers who can’t read white papers to steer clear of their products. :D).

Not being one to easily give up, I scoured the web again via my favorite search engine (Google) and came across a website where the writer said he had been able to access his Windows Complete Image backup image via Virtual PC 2007. Imagine my joy and immediate dismay because I didn’t care to use Virtual PC 2007 due toΒ  my previous difficulty in learning how to use. Nevertheless, I deciced to try Virtual PC 2007 again so that I would give a last ditch effort at recovering some files. I also took the plunge and ordered an XP Pro SP2 disk because I knew that somehow I needed said disk although I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, the disk arrived in time and I set about making my XP Pro SP2 virtual machine. The first time I tried to install XP Pro SP2, I panicked because I thought it would actually install XP Pro SP2 on my machine (kinda like Wubi for Ubuntu which I’m steering clear of after powering one of my Vista bluescreens & subsequent reformatting). So, I killed it and did some more reading. Then, it hit me that, “No, Silly. It’s a virtual machine and you won’t get in trouble for me. lol.” So I crossed my fingers and started the process again.

This time, the installation completed. I exited Virtual PC 2007 and ejected my XP Pro SP2 installation disk. I restarted my computer and closed my eyes while waiting for the inevitable bluescreen. Surprise! I didn’t have any nasties waiting for me and I started up Virtual PC 2007 again. I was like a kid in the candy store when I was able to browse XP Pro in my Vista laptop. I showed it to my husband and he kept commenting on how excited I seem. Yep, I’m the kinda of girl who’d be happy if she got a gift of RAM, never mind what JC Penney says about how men get in the doghouse. LOL. As a random aside, check out the video “Beware of the Doghouse“. It’s hysterical. πŸ™‚ Back to the topic, I also was able to install Virtual Machine additions which works by mounting the iso for Virtual Machine additions inside the virtual machine! Pretty cool and I was able to access my Vista files and use a shared cursor which was a welcome change from VirtualBox.The end to this saga (maybe? I haven’t totally given up yet) has not come as I still wasn’t able to access my Windows Complete Image backup VHD file. However, I don’t regret shelling out ~ $60 for that XP SP2 installation CD because I’m sure it’ll come in handy someday. In the meantime, my hard drive will be getting some major use.

Now, before I achieved success in installing XP SP2 virtually, I had actually installed Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 in my computer. All I can say about that was: please, do not try this at home, kids (meaning you, Jane). It was overkill for my purposes and it was quickly uninstalled with some major praying along the way (it installs IIS services and I don’t like turning Windows features on/off because in Mos Def’s words, “I had a bad experience“. My next stab at accessing the VHD file in my Windows Complete Image backup will be installing just VHD mount which is a component of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. With that, wish me luck!

My official HP giveaway declaration. :)

Update: See this updated post about the HP giveaway & what I would do with the gifts. πŸ˜€

This post was cross-posted from my personal blog at Fading Whispers.
So, I’ve thought long & hard about this and I’ll write it on this personal blog. Currently, HP, Microsoft and BuzzCorps LLC are running a promotion (the HP Magic Giveaway) where they are giving away ~ $6 000 worth of computer goodness. They gave 50 sites this same prize package to give to 50 different winners and each site has their set of rules. Some of those sites participating in the giveaway are Moosh in Indy, Down-to-earth Mama. πŸ™‚ The items that are up for grabs include:

  1. Electronics:- HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC, HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC, HP MediaSmart Connect, HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (with Windows Live) and the HP Mini 1000 (with XP), HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO (printer) + HP 564 Photo Series Value Pack
  2. Software:- Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate/Home Premium or Microsoft Windows XP pre-installed on all units (Mini 1000 runs XP), Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student-Teacher Edition) – 1 DVD with 3 licenses, Microsoft Windows Live and Corel VideoStudio X2.
  3. Entertainment:- Kung Fu Panda (2 widescreen DVDs; 1 widescreen Blu-ray disc)

As you can see, that’s a lot of stuff and 50 lucky people are going to each get these items. Of course, lots of people will bring out all sorts of things they’ll do if they win and I can’t possibly hope to top any fantastic stories. However, a lot of these sites are (thankfully) leaving the decision making to a random draw provided all entrants followed the rules to a Tee.

If I should win this giveaway, I’ll give the bulk of these items to the following people:

  1. Athens Area Homeless Shelter: I briefly volunteered before work issues forced me to quit doing that. You can tell what their mission is from their title and I would like to give them the HP wireless printer, the photo pack as well as the KungFu panda dvds. During the time I volunteered there, there wasn’t much by way of entertainment and I think the families housed there (particularly the children) would appreciate these gifts.
  2. UGA Center for Teaching & Learning: They will be getting the Touchsmart PC to further their mission. I am big fan of using technology to educate and enlighten students & administrators. This will help introduce the university community to cutting edge technology.
  3. My nuclear family: the HP dv4000 series laptop, Microsoft Office 2007 software and Corel VideoStudio X2. My family has been my rock and I would be nothing without their prayers & support.
  4. My father-in-law (Bill) will get the HP mini 1000 netbook because it will be the perfect starter computer tool to introduce him to the digital world. lol. He’s running an ancient computer and I fear it’s on its last legs:)
  5. My husband (Matt) & I will be keeping the HDX laptop & the MediaSmart items. He will “inherit” my dv9700t laptop and I’ll assume ownership of the HDX beast. πŸ™‚ The MediaSmart will be mostly for his use because he is a big music buff and I’m frankly tired of all his CDs laying haphazardly all over the house/apartment. This kickass MediaSmart Connect will be the music & video repository in order to free up space in the house. πŸ™‚ You bet I’ll be having a CD burning party if I win this contest!

Even if the actual order of giving may change, I know for sure that the only things that will remain in my possession will be the HDX and the MediaSmart. πŸ™‚