Virtual Machines

(this is a guest post by Tenox)

Ran across this curiosity today: Microsoft Edge Dev Center provides a bunch of ready made virtual machines with different versions of IE web browser. But they can be used for different purposes if you need to quickly spin up a specific version of Windows quickly.

This is whats available:

modeirnie1Different hypervisor type images on Windows, Mac and Linux are available:

modeirnie3Very handy stuff. This is beloved Windows XP after it booted first time:
modeirnie2Very handy and not only for browser testing.

There also is a Remote IE which opens IE window straight from Azure. I wonder what are implications of it for censorship in some countries as well as piracy etc.

Using IDE hard disks on VMWare ESXi 5.5

I’m sure this applies to other versions as well.

VMWare stores the configs, and files on the UNIX file system, which you have to edit by hand.  You can’t do this in the UI, as VMWare tries to be SCSI only.  But if you manually edit the files, you too can enjoy a virtual IDE disk.

You need to enable SSH access to the ESX server, or do this change on the console.  Configs live in:

/vmfs/volumes/<storage group name>/<virtual machine>/

So for example, mine is:

/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/UnixWare 7.1.1/

First, edit the .vmdk file.  You are looking for the line:

ddb.adapterType = “buslogic”

And you change the buslogic to ide like this:

# Extent description

RW 16777216 VMFS “UnixWare 7.1.1-flat.vmdk”

# The Disk Data Base

ddb.adapterType = “ide”
ddb.geometry.cylinders = “1044”
ddb.geometry.heads = “255”
ddb.geometry.sectors = “63”
ddb.longContentID = “8f535bb60df8d73a86c24853fffffff

The next thing is to alter the vmx file.  By default the hard disk will be on scsi0 and you’ll see something like this:

scsi0.present = “TRUE”
scsi0:0.deviceType = “scsi-hardDisk”
scsi0:0.fileName = “UnixWare 7.1.1.vmdk”
scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”

And what we do is rename the scsi0:0 to ide0:0

ide0:0.present = “TRUE”
ide0:0.deviceType = “disk”
ide0:0.fileName = “UnixWare 7.1.1.vmdk”
scsi0:0.present = “TRUE”

And you should be good to go.  The other (much easier) alternative is to try to use the legacy OS/2 profile as it’ll install an IDE disk by default.

IDE hard disk on VMWare ESX

IDE hard disk on VMWare ESX


You should check out sanbarrow’s guide to more options you can configure in your VMX file.

Running Virtual PC 2007 on VMWare Player

I’ve always liked Virtual PC, and it was a shame IMHO when Microsoft twisted this fantastic utility in some glorified IE6 box, A’la “Windows XP Mode” for Windows 7.

So I downloaded and installed VMWare Player, as I’ve heard you can use it to run ESX among other things requiring hardware acceleration, and  player fits the bill for being cheap.

Passing the hardware acceleration to a child VM is a matter of checking a single box in the settings.  Namely the ‘Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI” box.  Although you don’t have to click it if you want, it just offers greater performance.

Windows XP x64 setup

VMWare Player

Now I installed my old copy of XP x64, as I felt like something different, then I went ahead and installed Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 sp1.  The installation was pretty uneventful.

Now with that out of the way, I could setup a VM,and I decided to install OS/2 1.21 for the heck of it.

OS2 1.21 on virtual pc on VMWare player

Virtual PC running OS/2 1.21 without hardware acceleration

And it booted up no problems, like it did back in the XP days.  I even ran it with and without CPU acceleration and it works on both, but is noticeably faster with acceleration.

With Intel-VT acceleration

With Intel-VT acceleration

So I thought this was interesting, although Virtual PC has been essentially dead ended, it can go on with an older OS in a VM, to let you run VMs.

I would imagine that if VMWare Player could run Virtual PC 2007, that 2004 should work as well.

Sad day for people who signed onto SUN’s virtualization strategies.

From slashdot, Oracle to stop developing SUN virtualization technologies.  In a way I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner, as chasing after VMWare isn’t part of Larry’s strategy to take over the world with databases.

How long does the SPARC have left to live?

Or Solaris for that matter?

—edit seems they are going to keep VirtualBOX afterall!


Going forward, Oracle’s desktop portfolio investments will be focused on continued development and new enhancements to both Oracle Secure Global Desktop and Oracle VM VirtualBox software.

Qemu 0.14.1 released!

I just found out that a new version of Qemu has hit the street!  From the changelog:

  • Version 0.14.1 (commit)
  • virtio-blk: fail unaligned requests (commit)
  • qed: Fix consistency check on 32-bit hosts (commit)
  • exit if -drive specified is invalid instead of ignoring the “wrong” -drive (commit)
  • vhost: fix dirty page handling (commit)
  • Do not delete BlockDriverState when deleting the drive (commit)
  • vnc: tight: Fix crash after 2GB of output (commit)
  • lan9118: Ignore write to MAC_VLAN1 register (commit)
  • Don’t allow multiwrites against a block device without underlying medium (commit)
  • lsi53c895a: add support for ABORT messages (commit)
  • virtio-pci: fix bus master work around on load (commit)
  • fix applesmc REV key (commit)
  • rbd: don’t link with -lcrypto (commit)
  • net: Add the missing option declaration of “vhostforce” (commit)
  • lsi53c895a: Update dnad when skipping MSGOUT bytes (commit)
  • Revert “prep: Disable second IDE channel, as long as ISA IDE emulation doesn’t support same irq for both channels” (commit)
  • isa-bus: Remove bogus IRQ sharing check (commit)
  • virtio-net: Fix lduw_p() pointer argument of wrong size (commit)
  • hw/sd.c: Add missing state change for SD_STATUS, SEND_NUM_WR_BLOCKS (commit)
  • vnc: Fix fatal crash with vnc reverse mode (commit)
  • qemu-char: Check for missing backend name (commit)

I’ve also included my patches to enable ctrl+alt+d for a quick control alt delete, ctrl+alt+r for reset, and the ISA Cirrus adapter.

As always, I’ll have win32 builds up in the usual spot.  i386/x86_64 and everything else.  I’ve tested these on Windows 7 x86_64, and they should work on XP & Vista i386 as well.

Also I’ve switched this to 7zip to save space.