After in June I have set up a Windows XP under my Windows Vista Box my first enthusiasm has been decreased a little bit: it turned out that VMWare Server ( V 1.0.6; today it offered an update but their web site did not respond ) actually does not play very nice under my Vista: the first time I try to fire up my guest operating system it starts eating memory like hell and takes forever to start. There is also a good chance that it freezes my PC.
After Lifehacker mentioned VirtualBox 2.0 I decided to give that a try. Installation went smooth as well as setting up my first Windows XP guest system. What I really like is the seamless adjustment of my guest systems desktop when resizing the windows and the seamless catching of mouse and keyboard as I move into the guest OS screen; this had been enabled after I installed the virtual box extensions on the guest system. What is really nice is that it starts my Windows XP fast and smoothly without any major hiccups on my host. What is also very beautiful is that I even was able to get one of my old strategy games to run properly on this virtual machine ( “Cossacks European Wars”, which doesn’t run on Vista of course and did not run well on VMWare due to video problems. Since I am working on one of the last and obviously very complex missions with lots of active units I have been running into limitations on my old Windows XP Sony PC with 512 MByte RAM and a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz processor: the simulation was running a bit bumpy. On my new computer with 4 GByte and a Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q9300 with 2.5 GHz this mission runs pretty smooth under VirtualBox 2.0 – thus the overhead through virtualization does not seem to have a major negative impact compared to the gained hardware resources ).
|Scene from Cossacks European Wars, Baltic Campagne:
Lots of units to deal with.
What I also like is the dynamic size management of my hard drive image ( up to a pre-defined maximum ).
I couldn’t get USB support to work so far: it does seem to recognize my USB devices but I was not able to access my USB memory stick. I use Shared Folders instead which works nicely: the shared folder can be found in the Explorer under My Network Places –> Entire Network –>VirtualBox Shared Folder. Audio started working after I switched the Audio settings for my virtual machine from “Null Audio Driver” to “Windows DirectSound”.
The virtualization technology seems to be quiet different: I believe VirtualBox uses more of the host operating system than VMWare. My old Vista problem with PicasaWeb is still there on my guest Windows XP under VirtualBox, but was gone when using VMWare.
Nevertheless: good job, Sun, I am positively surprised !