Virtual Machine recommendations?

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Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 11:37 am

I want to test out Adobe's Creative Suite CS6 - a trial version. I don't want to mix it up with my current installation of CS5.5, which runs perfectly fine. These Adobe suites install stuff all over the place, they want to "help" by changing all your file extensions, etc. I want to leave my current 5.5 version alone, don't want to take any chances with it, esp if/when I uninstall the CS6 trial I don't want any headaches. So I figure the best way is to run the trial in a VM. But I have zero experience with VMs. So I wanted to get some advice.

Is a VM the best way to go? Once I install Virtual PC (or whatever) I guess it needs an OS? Or does it somehow access the native OS? (like i said, zero experience!)

Maybe I should use Sandboxie instead? But I tried the free Sandboxie years ago and wasn't overly joyed with it; seemed like a lot of restrictions and PITA configuring. Maybe it's better now, or maybe I'm better now - lol. Or perhaps there's an alternative I haven't considered?

Thanks for any thoughts / advice you can share.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 11:42 am

Yes, you'll need a guest OS, that will be virtualized in the VM.

I'll put my two cents in for VMWare Player. It's free (personal use), and has decent hardware acceleration, which others (such as virtualbox) seem to struggle with.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 12:47 pm

Thanks SC I appreciate your response.

So...right, an OS. The Adobe trial is for Windows only. Can I re-use my Win7 disk (retail), install it w/out activating it, to run it in the VM? "re-use" because it's already activated on this machine now.

otherwise what options are there? I guess most people use a Linux distro in their VMs but like I said this software is for Win only.

Thanks again! If you have an OS ideas ...
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 1:12 pm

You should have 30 days to activate before Windows 7 disables itself. As long as you don't attempt to activate the copy of Windows in the VM, and complete your evaluation of CS6 within 30 days of creating the VM you should be OK.

Edit: If you think you will be doing this sort of thing on a regular basis you may want to consider getting a 2nd (OEM) copy of Windows, installing it in a VM, and activating it. Take a snapshot of the clean VM just post-activation. Then, whenever you want to evaluate something in a pristine Windows environment, roll your VM back to the snapshot.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 2:04 pm

I'll echo what just brew it! said and say you can install Windows on a trial basis and do the testing you'd like. If you need more than the standard 30 days you can extend the trial 3 times using the slmgr command. This will let you extend the 30 day grace period up to 3 times, giving you 120 days total.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 4:15 pm

Beautiful - thanks that's what I needed to know. Eventually I'll buy another copy of Windows 7 -before you can't buy it anymore- and have that available. But for now 30 days will be plenty.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 4:38 pm

Also, a heads-up if you ever need to run a virtual Windows XP for whatever reason, as a Windows 7 user you are entitled to using Windows XP Mode, which is basically an XP VM inside a customized version of Virtual PC. The bonus is that the WinXP inside comes activated for free as long as your Win7 host is genuine. Otherwise, as LaChupacabra noted, the slmgr trick is a legit way to extend your trial up to 4 months, so no worries there if you need to. :)
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 4:59 pm

Let me jump in and ask relevant question: Is VM Player recommended even for W8 Pro user?
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 6:17 pm

Hey mate,
You can have them installed next to each other without any problems. I have 5.5 same as you and trialed AE CS6, once the trial was over I uninstalled no problems. I imagine it would be the same if you were to do the full Master Suite. Didn't cause me any problems and that was almost a year ago.
On another system running PP CS6 I had to do the opposite and install my boxed version of AE 5.5 for a plugin and it didn't cause any issues.

I'd just install it on your system without getting too tricky with a VM. Best of luck.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 7:30 pm

churin wrote:Let me jump in and ask relevant question: Is VM Player recommended even for W8 Pro user?


VMWare player is simple to use, if lacking in options. This is anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth, but in the 5 months I have been on Windows 8 I have tried enabling Client Hyper-V twice and both times ended up restoring the system. I'm usually a big Windows proponent, but the Client Hyper-V stuff doesn't seem fully baked yet.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 9:01 pm

LaChupacabra wrote:
churin wrote:Let me jump in and ask relevant question: Is VM Player recommended even for W8 Pro user?

VMWare player is simple to use, if lacking in options. This is anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth, but in the 5 months I have been on Windows 8 I have tried enabling Client Hyper-V twice and both times ended up restoring the system. I'm usually a big Windows proponent, but the Client Hyper-V stuff doesn't seem fully baked yet.

I was wondering if I should try one of those third party VM because I tried the Client Hyper-V but was not so excited about it. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 9:14 pm

LaChupacabra wrote:
churin wrote:Let me jump in and ask relevant question: Is VM Player recommended even for W8 Pro user?


VMWare player is simple to use, if lacking in options. This is anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth, but in the 5 months I have been on Windows 8 I have tried enabling Client Hyper-V twice and both times ended up restoring the system. I'm usually a big Windows proponent, but the Client Hyper-V stuff doesn't seem fully baked yet.


Careful... Ryu is always on the lookout for any comments suggesting something about Windows isn't fully baked. :D

VM Ware Player should do fine. Virtualbox should do fine too. You can Google "windows 8 on virtualbox" to see. It's been a while since I've fired up Virtualbox; it has always seemed to fall short of VM Ware stuff...
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 2:58 am

flip-mode wrote:
LaChupacabra wrote:
churin wrote:Let me jump in and ask relevant question: Is VM Player recommended even for W8 Pro user?


VMWare player is simple to use, if lacking in options. This is anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth, but in the 5 months I have been on Windows 8 I have tried enabling Client Hyper-V twice and both times ended up restoring the system. I'm usually a big Windows proponent, but the Client Hyper-V stuff doesn't seem fully baked yet.


Careful... Ryu is always on the lookout for any comments suggesting something about Windows isn't fully baked. :D

Don't know what you are talking about, he's the first one to bitch about the loss of Hybrid Sleep and Hibernate if Hyper-V Role is enabled.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 5:01 am

Flying Fox wrote:
flip-mode wrote:Careful... Ryu is always on the lookout for any comments suggesting something about Windows isn't fully baked. :D

Don't know what you are talking about, he's the first one to bitch about the loss of Hybrid Sleep and Hibernate if Hyper-V Role is enabled.

It's a outlier :D And it was a joke, too - not to be taken too seriously, even if like most jokes it does have an element of truth to it. The flip-side of the joke is on me: too quick to blame Windows for a problem only to have Ryu point out how I may have erred.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 6:17 am

Another vote for VirtualBox, if you decide to go the VM route. VMWare has never worked properly for me, especially the seamless mouse switching. With VirtualBox it's always worked fine out of the, um, box.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Thu May 23, 2013 6:59 am

CityEater wrote:Hey mate,
You can have them installed next to each other without any problems. I have 5.5 same as you and trialed AE CS6, once the trial was over I uninstalled no problems. I imagine it would be the same if you were to do the full Master Suite. Didn't cause me any problems and that was almost a year ago.
On another system running PP CS6 I had to do the opposite and install my boxed version of AE 5.5 for a plugin and it didn't cause any issues.

I'd just install it on your system without getting too tricky with a VM. Best of luck.


Thanks for sharing that CE - I'd be installing the Production Premium suite. You're prob right I should just install it side-by-side with CS5.5 not worry about it - but I always wanted to try running a VM anyway so this seems like a good time.

rado992 wrote:Also, a heads-up if you ever need to run a virtual Windows XP for whatever reason, as a Windows 7 user you are entitled to using Windows XP Mode, which is basically an XP VM inside a customized version of Virtual PC. The bonus is that the WinXP inside comes activated for free as long as your Win7 host is genuine. Otherwise, as LaChupacabra noted, the slmgr trick is a legit way to extend your trial up to 4 months, so no worries there if you need to. :)


Thanks R - re: the XP mode - is this the "compatibility mode" thing where you choose certain programs to run in XP mode? Or is it an actual virtual machine, with virtual drives, etc? It might be fun to try it out for other things, unfortunately at this point Adobe recommends Win7 for its apps, so I'm not sure how well CS6 would run in XP.

Thanks again you guys.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Fri May 31, 2013 11:06 am

just brew it! wrote:Take a snapshot of the clean VM just post-activation. Then, whenever you want to evaluate something in a pristine Windows environment, roll your VM back to the snapshot.


Do you mean Win 7's system image utility? Because I don't think the free VMWare Player lets you do snapshots. VMWare Workstation does but of course Workstation ain't free ($249).

couple more questions if you guys would be so kind....

1.) Once I get the VM up and running with Win7 will it have access to all the hardware? All 24G of RAM, all 6 cores + the 6 HT cores?

2.) Everybody suggests having just 1 HDD plugged in during a Windows installation, does that same "rule" apply for OS installations on VMs?

3.) Can I install the virtual OS on any HDD? There's no reason it has to reside on the boot drive right?

well that's all I can think of for now - thanks you guys!
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Fri May 31, 2013 11:26 am

Parallax wrote:Another vote for VirtualBox, if you decide to go the VM route. VMWare has never worked properly for me, especially the seamless mouse switching. With VirtualBox it's always worked fine out of the, um, box.

I've had the opposite experience, though with the paid-for VMware product. It resolved several problematic issues some folks at work were having with VMs running on their desktop PCs (actually one Mac, one PC), in VirtualBox. It's a decent product, but I prefer VMware myself.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Fri May 31, 2013 11:26 am

canoli wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Take a snapshot of the clean VM just post-activation. Then, whenever you want to evaluate something in a pristine Windows environment, roll your VM back to the snapshot.


Do you mean Win 7's system image utility? Because I don't think the free VMWare Player lets you do snapshots. VMWare Workstation does but of course Workstation ain't free ($249).

Ahh, that may be the case. I am more familiar with VirtualBox (which includes snapshot capabilities in the free version).

Even if snapshot capability is not provided, you can still back up the virtual disk image just by making a copy of the disk image file(s) (see below).

canoli wrote:couple more questions if you guys would be so kind....

1.) Once I get the VM up and running with Win7 will it have access to all the hardware? All 24G of RAM, all 6 cores + the 6 HT cores?

(Again speaking from a VirtualBox perspective): It can't see all of the RAM, because the host OS and applications still need some of it. When you configure the VM, you set how much of the RAM and how many cores you want to be visible to the VM. Visibility/functionality of other hardware varies depending on the type of device. Don't expect 3D GPU acceleration to work particularly well, and disk I/O performance will also take a hit relative to running natively on the hardware (since the guest OS's raw disk I/O operations are getting mapped to file I/O, see below).

canoli wrote:2.) Everybody suggests having just 1 HDD plugged in during a Windows installation, does that same "rule" apply for OS installations on VMs?

The VM typically doesn't see your real HDD at all, it sees whatever virtual HDDs you configured for the VM to use. The data for these virtual drive(s) is stored in normal files on the host OS's filesystem, which can be copied, backed up, etc. just like any other disk file.

canoli wrote:3.) Can I install the virtual OS on any HDD? There's no reason it has to reside on the boot drive right?

See answer to question #2.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Fri May 31, 2013 11:34 am

1) Since it's a virtualized environment, it will have access to however much memory and number of cores you've given it access to.
As for other hardware, you may have to play with settings for things like scanners/printers. keep in mind, it won't see your hardware as it actually is, but of some analog that is being virualized.

2) I don't think so. Again, it's a virtual hard drive (really only a file on your hard drive), not the actual hard drive.

3) Yes, you should be able to create the VM on any hard drive you desire. (again, it's just a file, not a real partition)
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:30 am

I would definitely recommend VMware if you're in the market a good VM systsem. I use Workstation at work, not only is it very good but at $250 it's one of the most consumer-friendly business applications ever made. I believe Player includes just about everything that Workstation does except for the non-commerical stipulation.

I'm really hoping that version 10 or 11 will have full 3D graphics integration so I can switch to a Linux host but still have the ability to play games. It would certainly disrupt a lot of conventional wisdom regarding system requirements and platform acceptance.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:03 am

sircharles32 wrote:As for other hardware, you may have to play with settings for things like scanners/printers. keep in mind, it won't see your hardware as it actually is, but of some analog that is being virualized.

There's an exception to this for USB devices. Most virtualization tools have the ability to selectively pass USB devices directly into the guest OS. Furthermore, if your motherboard has IOMMU capability you may also be able to do something similar with PCI/PCIe devices.
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Re: Virtual Machine recommendations?

Postposted on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:38 am

thanks for the answers you guys - I'm starting to think maybe a VM isn't the best way to test content-creation software. I wanted to judge very specific hardware/software interactions but I'm afraid I won't learn much if one set of software has to work through an abstraction layer....doesn't feel like a fair test. Maybe I could factor that in after I saw the results but...maybe not.

Well thanks for the help - it'll be fun playing around with VM Ware Player anyway!
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