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  1. #1
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    Question Cloning Win XP to run on USB and also Virtualbox

    I've been using PCs since their inception but there are a few things that still stump me, one of which is concerning how images can be used, beyond just being a snapshot which can be used to recover from a failed hard disk, malware issues, etc. I already do that monthly with the excellent and free Macrium Reflect, but my issues are explained below...

    What I really want to achieve is to take a copy of my current "perfect" XP setup with all its programs and settings and be able to do 1 or all 3 of the following:

    1. transfer that image of my XP image onto a disk on another, faster, newer laptop. My concerns are that this will not work since all the drivers required for the new laptop will not be present, and the old drivers may conflict. Is there a slick way of dealing with this?

    2. Use my XP image on a USB stick as a portable version of my OS. But can I also store my data on the same stick, make changes, i.e. in my mind an image is fixed, so the data needs to be stored somewhere on the USB stick, but perhaps I am not thinking straight on this?

    3. Use the XP image to run under another host OS such as linux, for example using virtual box. I have tried virtual box and it is excellent, but it required me to create a fresh install of XP and then install all the programs additionally, so it's a fresh install of XP that I want to install, just use my current XP setup, if there is a way.

    Any experiences or solutions much appeciated, thanks!

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  3. #2
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    If your version of XP is an OEM version then all three use cases are a violation of the XP license.

    If your version of XP is a retail version then:
    1.) A repair install of XP would probably be in order.
    2.) Won't work. XP is not a portable OS that can be used on just any machine.
    3.) Pretty much the same as 1. A virtual machine will require its own set of drivers.

    Joe

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    cavehomme (2011-04-21)

  5. #3
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    Technically, most anything is possible these days. However, the short answer to your questions is that licensing is the biggest barrier. Most of the home versions, espceially OEM, and all of the OEM versions of Windows Professional do not allow you to do this legally. There might be an exception to that if you run Linux on a PC that has a Windows license, then run that copy of Windows in a VM on that Linux host. Emphasis on might.

    Let me qualify that, you can make an image for backup purposes and reinstall it to the same hardware, but not to move to different hardware. A full retail copy of Windows might allow you to do this, but that's the one license I am not as familiar with. Corporations that have purchased a volume license agreement with Microsoft can deploy a single image to all PCs. Without the volume license agreement (Open Value, Select, or Enterprise), even corporations cannot use a single master image.

    1) Yes, drivers will be an issue. However, dropping the image down, then booting with the Windows CD and selecting Repair will usually (not always) get you up and running. Then you can install the correct chip set and other drivers as needed. You can also slip stream all the drivers in, but its a pain. The best way to do it is use SysPrep, but it is a very complicated process (lots of testing!) and is only worthwhile when doing so for 50 or more PCs. What you will run into with an OEM or retail image is that Windows will need to be reactivated. There is no exception to this unless you have a volume license CD that was obtained via a volume agreement.

    2) Running it from a USB stick is doable, but only for setups like BartPE (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/), which is a really stripped version of Windows. Running a full blown copy of Windows on a USB stick isn't practical due to drivers, activation, and licensing issues. Even with BartPE, you still need a Windows license. the bottom line is that this isn't possible.

    3) There is no technical reason you shouldn't be able to get a Windows image on to a VirtualBox VM. I've done it. However, I've also struggled to get a Macrium Relfect image on to a Citrix XenServer VM. Macrium's boot disk just wouldn't load properly. So if you have trouble, trying a different imaging product might do the trick. If you get it to work, then you'll have to install the VirtualBox tools which contain the necessary drivers. Again, licensing may come into play here.

    Hope that helps some!
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2011-04-21 at 08:51.
    Chuck

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  7. #4
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    Retail versions of Windows may be moved from one PC to another. A retail copy may not be used on more than on PC at a time. There may be activation issues that make it necessary to contact Microsoft.

    Joe

  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cavehomme View Post
    1. transfer that image of my XP image onto a disk on another, faster, newer laptop. My concerns are that this will not work since all the drivers required for the new laptop will not be present, and the old drivers may conflict. Is there a slick way of dealing with this?

    2. Use my XP image on a USB stick as a portable version of my OS. But can I also store my data on the same stick, make changes, i.e. in my mind an image is fixed, so the data needs to be stored somewhere on the USB stick, but perhaps I am not thinking straight on this?

    3. Use the XP image to run under another host OS such as linux, for example using virtual box. I have tried virtual box and it is excellent, but it required me to create a fresh install of XP and then install all the programs additionally, so it's a fresh install of XP that I want to install, just use my current XP setup, if there is a way.

    Any experiences or solutions much appeciated, thanks!

    1. Two major points,

    A) Check the licensing of your current Windows installation, is it Retail or OEM?

    Look at these MS Articles to Assist,

    http://support.microsoft.com/gp/PIDWin

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/889713

    The second article specifies Windows 2003 but you'll find Windows XP matches up as well.


    B) Imaging can be problematic as you say but you do already have Macrium Reflect but you will need "Macrium ReDeploy" to image to different hardware. I have not used this particular addon but I assume it is similar to other "Hardware Independent Restore" technology.

    2. Windows XP is not a portable Operating System. Use a Linux LiveCD if you would like that functionality. That said there are ways of making it portable but you have to ask yourself is it worth the time and effort?

    3. Again licensing comes in to play. To run the Windows XP copy under a virtual machine you will require a Retail or Volume License edition.

    If you want to run a Linux based distribution and run Windows XP as a Virtual machine then it depends on the the choice of software as some provide migration tools to migrate "backup images" into the virtual machine environment. But again you could use Macrium Reflect with the Redeploy addon in theory.

    In any case you'll have to decide what route you would like to take because physical or virtual if you have 1 retail copy of Windows XP then you can only have one instance at a time.

    If you have an OEM license then none of your proposed scenarios are legally valid.

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDB1984 View Post
    1. Two major points,

    A) Check the licensing of your current Windows installation, is it Retail or OEM?

    Look at these MS Articles to Assist,

    http://support.microsoft.com/gp/PIDWin

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/889713

    The second article specifies Windows 2003 but you'll find Windows XP matches up as well.


    B) Imaging can be problematic as you say but you do already have Macrium Reflect but you will need "Macrium ReDeploy" to image to different hardware. I have not used this particular addon but I assume it is similar to other "Hardware Independent Restore" technology.

    2. Windows XP is not a portable Operating System. Use a Linux LiveCD if you would like that functionality. That said there are ways of making it portable but you have to ask yourself is it worth the time and effort?

    3. Again licensing comes in to play. To run the Windows XP copy under a virtual machine you will require a Retail or Volume License edition.

    If you want to run a Linux based distribution and run Windows XP as a Virtual machine then it depends on the the choice of software as some provide migration tools to migrate "backup images" into the virtual machine environment. But again you could use Macrium Reflect with the Redeploy addon in theory.

    In any case you'll have to decide what route you would like to take because physical or virtual if you have 1 retail copy of Windows XP then you can only have one instance at a time.

    If you have an OEM license then none of your proposed scenarios are legally valid.
    Great points, thanks. I have two versions of XP, one is XP home retail, the other is XP professional volume licensing, therefore I should have good flexibility in finding the solution.

    I have not heard of the Macrium add-on and so will check it out and see how far I can go.

    Re linux, I use a Linux Mint 9 live USB which is excellent and hence it got me thinking about creating an XP equivalent since I need to use Outlook and MS Office. However, given the various restrictions and difficulties I realised that another option altogether could be to instead use Skydrive, or the Office 365 beta which I just received a link to and which has sharepoint included. I tried access both services using a permanent Linux Mint 9 install with Firefox and found no issues with opening or editing docx and pptx files, other than of course not being able to download and fully open and edit them onto a linux machine. Thanks again.

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    If your version of XP is an OEM version then all three use cases are a violation of the XP license.

    If your version of XP is a retail version then:
    1.) A repair install of XP would probably be in order.
    2.) Won't work. XP is not a portable OS that can be used on just any machine.
    3.) Pretty much the same as 1. A virtual machine will require its own set of drivers.

    Joe
    I had not thought of repair install, that's a good suggestion, thanks.

  12. #8
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    Glad you found some of the information useful cavehomme but I couldn't help but notice that JoeP517 had said very similar if not identical things in some of his replies. I have now read over the entire topic which I did not do prior to posting.

    I just wanted to clear that up in case some others reading thought it a little strange.

  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    If your version of XP is an OEM version then all three use cases are a violation of the XP license.

    If your version of XP is a retail version then:
    1.) A repair install of XP would probably be in order.
    2.) Won't work. XP is not a portable OS that can be used on just any machine.
    3.) Pretty much the same as 1. A virtual machine will require its own set of drivers.

    Joe
    Thanks for the useful, concise points.

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDB1984 View Post
    Glad you found some of the information useful cavehomme but I couldn't help but notice that JoeP517 had said very similar if not identical things in some of his replies. I have now read over the entire topic which I did not do prior to posting.

    I just wanted to clear that up in case some others reading thought it a little strange.
    I had in fact replied to him, but due to noscript setting my reply was not actually posted, so I have re-replied. Nevertheless you provided additional insight, so thanks again.

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