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  1. #1
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    Running XP in VirtualBox

    I usually work on a Linux box but there is a CAD program I like that runs only in Windows. So, I've installed Virtualbox and WinXP SP3 and my CAD program. Everything is working well. The down side is that XP is running without all the updates that were issued up to "end of support". That may not be a real problem because it works for my purposes the way it is. However, I thought I read somewhere that you would be able to download and install all of the existing updates. You just can't get new ones. Is this true?

    Second question: To what extent, if any, will XP be protected from malware when running in virtualbox? (Lets assume for this question that XP has an internet connection)

  2. #2
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    As I understand it, all updates up to the end of support are available.

    Running in a virtual machine gives you the option of not saving any changes, so you don't care about updates or malware, but you do need a way to save your data outside the virtual machine, and that is a possible vector for malware. I'd set up a transfer directory that is only ever used to move data to and from the virtual machine, then scan the directory after every use of the VM.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Paul,
    I'm not sure what you mean by "...not saving any changes, so you don't care about updates...". Once changes have been made to the OS and you then shutdown, the changes are saved. How do you avoid this? Also, why would I not want all of the updates that are available?

    Embarrassingly, I neglected to activate the installation prior to trying to install updates. Also, Microsoft insisted that I update Explorer before it would do any other updating. All available updates are now installed.

    I'm thinking that I will disable network access. The CAD program I'm using doesn't need it and I don't plan to use XP for anything else. That should eliminate any malware problems.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Yobil; 2015-01-19 at 16:40. Reason: correction

  4. #4
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    Virtual machines can have the virtual disk set up as static, meaning no changes are saved. You convert the disk to static once you have loaded any updates you require (depending on virtualization software).

    cheers, Paul

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    Ah! I think I found it. In the Virtual Media Manager it is a checkbox labeled "Immutable". I don't usually use big words like that . I also intend to use "snapshot" when appropriate.
    Very helpful. Thanks

  6. #6
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    I now run my XP SP3 in Virtualbox and all the final Windows Updates have been applied, automatically. Also activation was not a problem, as long as you have your original Product Key. MalwareBytes and Imunet Protect provide my security.
    What is more interesting, is the nLite product, in asscociation with with UDC Script, http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/softw...-other-updates , that allows you to create a Windows XP Install CD/DVD with ALL Service Packs and Updates included.
    Ideal for loading into Virtualbox for those who want to retain a copy of XP.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yobil View Post
    I usually work on a Linux box but there is a CAD program I like that runs only in Windows. So, I've installed Virtualbox and WinXP SP3 and my CAD program. Everything is working well. The down side is that XP is running without all the updates that were issued up to "end of support". That may not be a real problem because it works for my purposes the way it is. However, I thought I read somewhere that you would be able to download and install all of the existing updates. You just can't get new ones. Is this true?

    Second question: To what extent, if any, will XP be protected from malware when running in virtualbox? (Lets assume for this question that XP has an internet connection)
    Hi Yobil,

    There's already great advice from others so I thought I'd toss in an additional idea that might be of interest. Given that the CAD program was written to support WinXP, it might run just fine using Wine (http://winehq.org/). Besides the official package, there's a commercially supported package called "CrossOver Linux" from CodeWeavers (http://codeweavers.com/) and also an open-source front-end called PlayOnLinux (http://playonlinux.com/) that's written in Python. I've been using Wine to run Google's SketchUp and several other Windows programs.

    As far as protecting XP from malware, if you're not surfing the web from within XP (especially using Internet Explorer), I don't think you have anything to worry about. WinXP SP3 turns on the built-in Windows firewall by default and VirtualBox's default setting is to put virtual machines behind a virtual router in NAT rather than bridged mode, so if your Linux box also has its firewall enabled, there are 3 security walls a hacker has to punch through. VirtualBox also provides the option of virtually disconnecting the network cable in case you want to leave open the option of using the network for network time sync, downloading updates, etc.

    You're probably already aware of the shared folders feature in VirtualBox so I'll skip the details. As long as you set up a separate directory for the shared area between Linux and the WinXP virtual machine, any malware won't be able to easily pass over into your Linux system.

    As far as malware that's made for Windows, it's unlikely that any of it will run on Linux because of the difference in libraries, OS architecture, etc. Unless something bad was specifically made for Linux, deliberately downloaded via a Windows virtual machine, and then run from the Linux host as a user with root privileges, the real risk is near zero.

    Depending on which Linux distro you're using, SELinux (Fedora and related spins) and AppArmor (Ubuntu and related spins) will also help to keep malware at bay.

    Chung
    Last edited by gadget; 2015-01-26 at 13:41. Reason: missing text

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions. I considered using Wine for CAD quite a while ago. After looking into it, I decided not to use it for some reason I can't remember. I now have a virtual machine setup in PCLinuxOS running WinXP guest and the CAD program. All is now working well. My biggest issue was getting my printer to work in XP and CAD. I now have that worked out also.
    That is good information regarding malware. I did create a couple of shared folders. So, that part is taken care of. I've also considered using the "immutable" setting in Media Manager. I need to do some more detailed reading on that subject. I'm thinking that I won't need to do that because of your information plus my intent is to have the network connection disabled most of the time. If I ever need to get on line, I can easily switch back to the host to do it.
    My next task is to create an image backup of the installation to make recovery easier if necessary. Some of the above suggestions may be useful. I also need to read more about VB features like "clone".
    Thanks again.

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