Virtual Pc

I’ve been setting up some VPCs for the conf next week. As I work mainly on laptops the size of these things can become a problem. (And the only time I have had VPC problems is with shared discs so I avoid them now.)

At one point last year I had to delete a load of important application data to make room for some beta I was messing with. The image files seem to explode in size as the install goes on, then don’t really shrink back once the temp files are removed.

Anyway I finally found some instructions that I can follow to recover some of that spare space:

http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2005/07/30/445621.aspx

So what I did this time was work on a big (usb) external drive – performance wasn’t shining but I’ve had a spare machine chugging along all day. The files got up to 15Gb which would be the ditching data zone on a laptop, then down to 10 or 12 after compacting. I should be able to squeeze them on my laptop for the presentations.
Compacting is actually straightforward once its been explained well (see above).

I assume its all a bit less painful in recent versions of VPC and VMWare, One day I might get around to setting things up properly. In fact I’ve just downloaded VPC 2007 (for free – thnx MS), not sure how I’m going to trial it safely. (I don’t want to be making big changes just before my presentation – just in case.)

Have you got any useful VPC or VMWare tricks we should know?

Cheers

Simon

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8 Responses to “Virtual Pc”

  1. Jon Peltier Says:

    Simon –

    Check out this recent post on Ken Puls’ blog:

    http://www.excelguru.ca/blog/2007/11/05/cool-things-with-vmware/

  2. Nicholas Hebb Says:

    I found out the hard way not to put them on you main hard drive. I store them on a USB drive

    If you do run from your hard drive, create a separate partition. If you swap them out from a USB external drive like I do, it doesn’t take too many times to start fragmenting the hell out of your HD.

    If you delete a VHD, don’t forget to open the recycle bin and clear it out.

    When you migrate to VPC 2007, make sure all your existing VM’s are in a closed state. VPC 2007 cannot import them from VPC 2004 if they are in a saved state.

    Having said all that, I will probably be moving over to VMWare soon. The snapshot tool looks like a huge time saver.

  3. Marcus Says:

    The financial institution I’m currently working at is investigating VMs across the board. Everyone would have a virtual desktop to which they could logon on from any location.

    It also means you could leave some process running over night with a fear of someone else logging on to your machine and losing all your work.

  4. Ross Says:

    >>not sure how I’m going to trial it safely. (I don’t want to be making big changes just before my presentation – just in case.)

    Could you install it on to a VM? :-)

  5. Simon Says:

    Thanks for the pointers everyone
    Nick did you have to reinstall additions (2 reboots) to get shared folders working?
    I think I’m there now,
    Ross I used a ‘disposable pc’ thats waiting for a reformat & clean install (of Ubuntu probably)
    I want to copy Dennis and have a Linux host with my Windows dev machine as a VMWare guest. Eventually!

  6. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    >>I want to copy Dennis and have a Linux host with my Windows dev
    >>machine as a VMWare guest. Eventually!

    So far I have not faced any problems and the setup works very well. The more RAM the better!

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

  7. Nicholas Hebb Says:

    >Nick did you have to reinstall additions (2 reboots) to get shared folders working?

    No. I had to uninstall VPC 2007 and re-load 2004 because I hadn’t closed most of my VM’s. They were still in a saved state. I got too busy (lazy?) to go back and reinstall 2007. I’m the poster child for what not to do.

  8. xyz Says:

    Solution for compacting (shrinking) DOS VPC drives:

    The Virtual Disk Pre-Compactor from Microsoft does not work in MS-DOS. So if you have virtual disk with MS-DOS guest which you want to shrink then you need to find DOS program that can do the same task. Speed Disk from Norton Utilities 8.0 can defrag and “precompact” (clear unused space) DOS drives. To do this, in Speed Disk select the option “Clear Unused Space” from Configure -> Other Options…

    You may need to lock the drive(s) before using Speed Disk.

    Solution for offline shrinking of VMware disks:

    If you work with VMware Server you can perform offline shrinking by following these steps from the command line:

    cd /d “%ProgramFiles%\VMware\VMware Server”
    vmware-mount.exe x: “The vmdk file.vmdk”
    vmware-vdiskmanager.exe -p x:
    vmware-mount.exe x: /d
    vmware-vdiskmanager.exe –k “The vmdk file.vmdk”

    If these instructions fail for some reason check the documentation. Note that this shrinking solution does not depend on the guest OS and it is scriptable (to some extent) by contrast with the VPC shrinking solution.

    Regards

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