Question about VirtualBox (virtualization software)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by krayziekray, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. krayziekray macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #1
    I have read somewhere, can't remember the site, that installing Virtualization Software such as parallels or VirtualBox alters and messes with the Mac OS System files (Kernal etc). I just wanted to know how true this is.

    Is there a performance decline on the Mac side when using/not using the virtaulization software?

    Also, I currently have Windows using BootCamp on a partitioned drive. If i were to install VirtualBox, would i need to reinstall the windows copy and re-activate it? As I remember having to do something like this last time when i brought and installed Parallels.

    Thanks.

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Not sure if it messes with system files, but I don't hear too many issues from it.

    While running any virtualization software, there will be a performance hit. I mean you will be running two whole operating system on one computer at the same time. It's only natural.

    VirtualBox won't interfere with your Bootcamp partition and you won't have to reinstall it. Now if you want to the Windows install from Bootcamp to be moved into VirtualBox, then you'll need to reinstall it there.
     
  3. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #3
    I totally understand that there will be a impact on performance while the VM is running, but what about when it's not running? If indeed it is true that it messes with System files, there may be an impact on Mac side even when the VM is off??? No???

    Not sure what you meant there, do you mean if i want VirtualBox to use my BootCamp partition i WILL need to reinstall on top of it (thus, removing BootCamp)?

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #4
    i am unaware of any effects

    personally i wouldnt even worry about it
     
  5. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #5
    I've been using virtualbox for a while, I haven't noticed any type of performance hit when it is not running.

    I don't think that virtualbox can "see" your boot camp partition, i'm not sure of that, but I _thought_ that parallels was the only virtualization software that could do that... and yeah, you have to reactivate your windows install once you access it thru parallels.

    I recently moved my boot camp partition to a virtualbox vm... the main reason i even use it at all is for autocad, and after experimenting with virtualbox found that autocad runs just fine on my xp virtualbox install.

    I wrote a little guide detailing how i moved the boot camp install to a virtualbox vm if you're interested.
    http://dubslinks.blogspot.com/2009/08/make-backup-of-your-entire-machine.html
     
  6. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #6
    Thanks, guide is actually quite good, though its from parallels to VB, but I'm sure it works the same way with BootCamp:eek:

    So in other words, I will have to re-activate windows ... DAMNNN ... It's such a pain in the a**e, I can never get it to start working over the net and always end up having to call up.

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  7. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Except that Bootcamp isn't virtualization. It's dual booting. When Bootcamp is running, Leopard isn't. When you're using virtualization software, both OS are running at the same time. These are different technologies. Though, stewy's write-up looks like it should help you make the transition if that's the path you want.

    Also, no, when virtualization software is not running, it does not have any more impact that any other application not running. Good luck.
     
  8. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    #8
    The only two things that Virtualization software is really going to do to your computer:

    1) They usually add another type of networking interface to allow the host OS's to communicate. This is probably the source of the "messing with the kernel" comment. I have seen really nasty problems with early versions of Parallels (enough to keep my shying away from that product), but have had consistant good luck with both VMWare and VirtualBox.

    2) The program does use modes in the processor that are not otherwise used. This should not really affect things unless there are bugs in either/both the OS and the virtualization product. I am not aware of any at this point. But they are digging deeper, so it is possible that they could cause more crashes than other type of programs.
     
  9. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #9
    Ofcourse :D .... Guess my previous posts didnt really show that I knew that, guess thats what you get when you post at 2 in the morning ;)

    Since I'm running Windows ... im sure there are plenty of bugs ;)

    On a serious note though, Thanks for the info :D

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  10. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #10
    The method I used _should_ work independently of what kind of setup you are using... even if you want to move your win xp install from a different physical machine to a virtual machine on your mac.

    The only problem... and I wrote about this in the guide... is that you might have to boot in safe mode to remove some drivers for hardware you are will no longer be using under the vm.
     
  11. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #11
    Is there a way to backup the VirtualBox Windows Installation (like an image point), so that if i ever need to restore the OS i don't need to activate Windows and install all my programs again?

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  12. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
  13. tooz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    #13
    you can take snapshots in VirtualBox, pretty sure thats what you need.

    I use VB to hold a couple of XP sytems, One working, and the other one is used when I want to do a "free offer" to get a reward. Usually gets wiped after use. I decided to run a virus scan after I installed a toolbar to get some coins in a game, 250 VIRUSES! lol
     
  14. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #14
    I haven't really looked into this myself... good question.

    I'm thinking that you could just backup the virtual machine file itself... i think it's a vdi file... then if something goes screwy just replace it. I'm not really sure though, I'm taking a guess.

    I leave it to time machine to back up all of my data.
     
  15. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #15
    Hmmm, thats what I was thinking myself, but just wanted to make sure.

    It must be the .vdi file since that is the actual "Image Hard Drive" that VirtualBox uses to boot the OS, right? Well I'll do a backup of the file, install some random software and then replace the image and see if that software is still there, whenever I get a moment.

    I'll let you guys know the outcome. :D

    And I believe the snapshot section is creating a snapshot of the Virtual Machine and the current state and not the actual OS itself.

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  16. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #16
    I've since read a little more about this since the last time i posted.

    I don't think that backing up the vdi file will work, apparently when try to restart the machine after restoring the vdi it throws you some error about a virtual machine with the same UUID (i think it was UUID) is already registered with virtualbox.

    Check out the help file, there's some useful information in there... I think to truly back it up you would want to use "Export Appliance".
     
  17. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #17
    Here's the link where I got the info (I just found it, again)
    http://www.derekhildreth.com/blog/how-to-properly-backup-a-virtualbox-machine-vdi/

    Reading the comments leads me to believe that backing up the vdi file would work just fine, as long as you delete the machine you previously backed up before trying to use the backup... that sounds confusing... but you probably know what i'm getting at... you can't have two vm's with the same uuid in virtualbox at the same time.
     
  18. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #18
    Thanks Stewy ... yep, I think I know what your saying ;)

    I'll have a read through the site, thanks for the link. :D

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  19. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #19
    Right I've had a read through the site, and looking at afew other websites, I have found (from my understanding) that clonevdi command is recommended when setting up a new Virtual Machine (in addition to the existing one) to use with the backup image ... hope that makes sense ... so in other words you have VM1 pointing to HDD.vdi and then create a VM2 pointing to HDD_Copy.vdi. Both being used simultaneously. Example of a guide can be found here

    Thing is, I'm always going to have one Virtual Machine and would like to simply point that Virtual Machine to the backup if something should go wrong (discarding/deleting the one currently in use). In this case would i still be advised to use the clonevdi command, or would a simple copy and paste work?

    What if i deleted the Virtual Machine and the HDD.vdi (so VirtualBox has no VM in its window), then created a fresh Virtual Machine and pointed that to the backup, would that still work?

    I hope my post is clear, and i am making sense. :rolleyes:

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  20. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #20
    Yeah, sounds to me like you've got a pretty good handle on things... I would make the exact same assumptions you have made.

    However, you won't really know if this will work until you try it... I don't suppose you have a second mac to try it on... or maybe a friends mac or something?
     
  21. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #21
    Totally agree, guess I'll have to give it a try. Well, I'm gunna make a two backups of the Virtual Machine HDD (one with copy & paste and one with the clonevdi command). Then once i have Snow Leopard up and running with a clean install, I'll check it out.

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     
  22. stewy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kingston, ON
    #22
    good call!

    please report your findings, i'm interested to know the results
     
  23. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #23
    You should really use the VirtualBox snapshot-function for this.
    VirtualBox creates a snapshot file of your current configuration <vs.> the original installation and you can fall back to it later if you like.

    I created a snapshot right after activation and a second one after installation of all current patches and necessary system software (after making sure it works).
    If disaster strikes I can now revert back to these earlier snapshots, nice and easy from the startup screen (off course backing up the vdi files will also work, but is more prone to error...)
    Just make sure to have a backup of your data. I mainly keep it on the OSX-side (mapped 'My Place' to an OSX directory...)
     
  24. krayziekray thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #24
    Well having installed Snow Leopard and Virtual Machine, I decided that i would first try the Copy & Paste file, since this was the one that everyone was not sure about. It works!!!

    So I guess I was right, the clonevdi command is best used if you are going to be using the backup .vdi images simultaneously, but if you only want to back up the drive incase of a virus etc, copy and paste would work just fine.

    Also, is anyones Seamless mode not working correctly on Snow Leopard? I'm getting the background wallpaper on my desktop, which was not there on Leopard???

    :apple: KrayzieKray :apple:
     

Share This Page