Windows 7 Beta in Sun’s xVM VirtualBox

Windows 7 Beta System Information dialogSo I never used Vista.  I heard too much negative press before it was released and too many negative comments from people who did use it after it was released.  Our PC’s came with XP and we were quite happy thank you very much.

But I’m not an out and out Microsoft hater.  They get a lot wrong, but on the other hand, XP does what I want it to do.  I wish it was more secure, but when you’re a target the size of Microsoft with the install base it has you’re going to be under constant attack anyway.  They could be better, but I’m not sure the products are as bad as some haters claim.  Yeh, the company has some terrible practices, but the product isn’t the worst.

I was amused at how quickly news about Windows 7 turned up, it really looks like Vista failed, and I wanted to get a look at it and see if it was something I could move to in the future.  I managed to nab the public beta this morning, and although I doubted it would work I tried installing it into Sun’s xVM VirtualBox – and lo and behold it works fine.

Windows 7 Beta Performance RatingsAnd despite only having 768MB of memory it’s actually pretty usable.  I’d get naffed off if it performed like this all the time on my main machine, but I should imagine given it’s full complement of CPU and another 1.2GB of memory it’ll perform pretty well.

I had one problem installing it into VirtualBox, initially I created the virtual disk as an auto-expanding one and the install crashed half way through (taking out the install, VirtualBox, my machine, three quarters of my desk and creating a small worm hole).  Creating the disk at the full size before installing fixed that and it went on pretty quickly.  You can install the VirtualBox extensions by running them in XP Compatability mode, and you can install the network by telling Windows 7 to look at the VirtualBox extensions CD.  Once the network is up and running, Windows 7 chugs out to the ‘net on it’s own and grabs the sound drivers (as part of windows update).  It was pretty slick.

I’m writing this from Firefox running on the Windows 7 VM (Firefox installed fine, regular version).  There’s a free version of AVG which runs on Windows 7 which is running (link checker turned off).

Clearly I’ve not had a chance to really use any major applications, or push the OS hard, but I have to say Microsoft may have learned the Vista lesson.  I’ll play with it a lot more, maybe see if OpenOffice installs, and let you know.

7 thoughts on “Windows 7 Beta in Sun’s xVM VirtualBox”

  1. Thank you, Tony!

    I’m so glad that you mentioned using XP Compatability mode. I’ve only done a couple of these virtual boxes to run XP and Linux. Like you, I wanted to test out Windows 7 and could not figure out how to get the network drivers working. Followed what you mentioned and it worked like a champ!

  2. Hi! I’ve been trying to install windows 7 in my instance of xVM, i set it up with 1024mb of ram and a 10Gb fixed size hard disk image but i can’t even have it boot from the DVD. It starts the “windows is loading files” process and then crashed, giving out a meaningless “0xc0000001” error.

    xVM is version 2.0.2 on a windows XP machine.

    Do you have any suggestion? 🙂

    1. No idea I’m afraid, just worked. I did use the latest version of VirtualBox. Did you turn on any other weird architecture options?

  3. Two things:

    1)Marcello, your most likely problem is the hard drive. I just checked, and my vBox Windows7 is 13.9GB. I would suggest using a dynamically expanding image, since you never know how much space you’re going to need.

    2)If you want to make it easier to setup networking, I’d suggest changing the network adapter to the Intel Desktop adapter, and the networking will work without having to install the Guest Additions. If you look in the help documentation for VirtualBox, it explains that Microsoft doesn’t include the drivers that the older network card used (the PCNet card) in Vista on, but it does include the Intel drivers (since they are used by a lot of modern network cards).


    P.S. As for Vista, I personally love it. I will admit there are some problems with it, but no more than any other piece of software. The only real problems with Vista is the same two problems that has plagued Windows for years: lazy/cheap manufacturers who don’t make decent working drivers, and Windows being a huge target for the lazy masses.

    1. My issue with Vista is the amount of resource required to get reasonable performance (from reports from technical people I know and trust), where-as Windows 7 seems to be able to run efficiently with far fewer resources.

  4. man, i just got a laptop with 3gb of ram, 250gb hdd an amd athlon QL-60 dual core
    (1.9ghz/core) and vista home premium. it runs ok for most things. but don’t even think about playing a video. i use ubuntu for that (dual boot w/grub). it has an nvidia 8200m g with 256mb of vram.

    note: at lower resolutions it will run some games in openGL, but generally does better under ubuntu for gaming.

Comments are closed.