Portable Virtual

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  1. Posts : 177
    Windows 10, usually latest version
       #11

    jimbo45 said:
    Hi there
    @Garyw

    (Could do with some of that Florida sunshine at the moment !!!! --1 Deg C here and light snow !!).
    A little on the cool side today, only 56F this AM with a high of around 80.
    Thanks for the link in Post #4 -- gave me some interesting testing yesterday -- l think a lot more people have got a mega amount more time on their hands so one can try these sorts of things where normally one might be too busy.

    Results of my tests yesterday : Target device 256GB SSD connected to host machine via USB3-->SATA adapter.

    1) Can't get AOMEI to work at all --AOMEI fails at the reboot stage (not of the HOST Windows OS but when it prompts for a reboot --on a UEFI machine).

    I just finished a new W2Go earlier today. I used AOMEI free with a previously extracted install.wim containing only 1903 Pro. It was sucessful, but during the re-boot part way through the setup phase, it re-booted to the host, not the guest. When that happens, just re-boot again, selecting the W2Go setup from the bios boot menu.
    2) Not sure why but Wintogo Free does work for me creating a NEW windows to go (I'm using Windows pro Workstation edition current 1909 (standard - not any preview / fast/ slow ring releases). Confirm though you have to choose MBR or EFI -- the 3rd option is only available on the paid version. Again it won't CLONE your existing Windows to a USB drive --the paid version will.

    I agree.
    3)Rufus works - again NEW Windows only from ISO - won't clone your existing Windows system to a Wintogo type of thing.
    I could never get Rufus to work with a SATA drive in a USB inclosure, so I don't usually use Rufus. I think you're right though. Will only create a W2Go from a setup type ISO that contains an install.wim or install.esd.4) Manual -- the boot command kept going wrong --the thing that manages the windows bootmgr -- maybe wrong WIM / ESD / TYPO / Other error by me --I'll have another go with it.
    I have done it that way, but every thing has to be exact. That's why I prefer to finish up with AOMEI.
    Remarks -- both 2) and 3) sucessfully booted BUT Windows activation was required - The system bootes succsessfully on an AMD desktop, Intel Laptop and an INTEL desktop

    I run the setup phase on the same system I used for creation. I use the same windows account on both the guest and the host, with Internet connected. When I do it this way, the W2Go system activates, and stays activated, as long as I use the W2go setup on the system used to create it every six months or so. In between times, the system seems to stay activated regardless of the host you are using.
    The Viboot idea is also good BUT you need at least the bootloader on the HOST machine -- the whole point of a WintoGo portable system is that it can work totally independently of any HOST drives - or even if there are no HDD's in the system at all or they are broken.

    As for HOST disks being offline etc -- that's why also I prefer the Linux solution -- SAMBA / NFS or whatever will enable sharing between whatever stuff you need also betweem the VM and the rest.
    The offline, online thing only seems to be an issue if the W2Go is created with the Microsoft tool. I don't remember that ever being a problem with Win2USB or Aomei.
    My recommendation -- if you want to do this without hassle etc - create a VM of your existing Windows machine and run from a bootable Linux system -- you can install VMWare, VBOX, or KVM/QEMU (or even all3 -- VM's work concurrently if you are bonkers enough to try !!. Response using an SSD via USB3-->SATA connector is really good so much better than using a USB stick / thumbdrive AND you can boot the Linux machine on any device --the windows VM won't ask for activation - with VMWare say "I MOVED" it rather than copied it, with VBOX ensure the guuid is the same, with KVM/QEMU no action needed.

    I use regularly (in fact I'm on it now) a Windows VM on KVM/QEMU on a Linux system plugged in via a USB3.1-->SATA connector -- no problems at all -- for me I use these when I want things in totally different languages e.g Office, Windows, and a load of other apps -- saves messing around with multiple users on the main machine etc.

    Cheers
    Jimbo
    I'm intrigued by the concept of a Windows VM on a Linux Live Host. Guess I'll take a look at that in the near future.

    Gary
      My Computers

  2. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #12

    Garyw said:
    I'm intrigued by the concept of a Windows VM on a Linux Live Host. Guess I'll take a look at that in the near future.

    Gary
    Hi there
    Get a cheap older SSD (the kingston one's if you can source them are only around 30 - 35 USD for up to 450 GB -- a 250 GB drive is absolutely big enough. Connect to machine via USB3-->SATA connector -- no enclosure / case needed for the SSD device !!

    Plenty of Linux distros around - I'd recommend using the graphical installer (ZEN Installer) for Arch linux -- the reason I recommend that is that it does all the hardwork for you and you can then easily install vmware via a simple 1 line command (as user not root) yay vmware-workstation (or player). It then handles the entire thing. I use the QEMU/KVM Hypervisor but I wouldn't recommend that as a beginner in using Linux !!


    The windows VM performs really well so no probs at all in running Photoshop, Office etc. Depending on the graphics you use then you can even run a slew of serious games (although I'm not a gamer). The best way of course for that is to use the KVM HYPERVISOR and pass thru a separate graphics card / output to the VM so it can use native OS graphics rather than a "paravirtualised one"

    Anyway here's the link to the ZEN installer --- mess around on a VM to get the hang of it first !! --BTWwhen you get to the final stage there's all sorts of desktops you can choose for the GUI -- MINT is almost "More Windows than Windows" while my favourite is KDE-PLASMA (with the applications). Note though latest version of SAMBA 4.11.x has connectivity problems with some devices as SMB1 has been removed -- SAMBA 4.10.X is OK though.

    Zen Installer download | SourceForge.net


    added: here's W10 Workstation Pro (insider edition) running as a Virtual Machine on KVM/QEMU running on a Linux system which is itself running from a USB3.1->SATA externally attached SSD. Windows performance is fine !!! --100% portable so long as the computer can boot from a USB. It also works if connected to USB2 but obviously performance will be slower.


    Portable Virtual-screenshot_20200403_070831.png

    Another advantage of using QEMU/KVM (remember it's free and built in to Linux kernels these days) is that you can log off the main machine and the VM will still be running with user / guest access -- no need for any users of the VM to actually have an account on the Host computer !!!.

    Have fun and stay safe.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 03 Apr 2020 at 02:55. Reason: Added image of Windows VM on Linux running from USB attached SSD
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 6
    windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #13

    Portable Windows - sort of


    Thanks everyone for the tips. I did get the Hasleo program "Win to USB". Tried to install on a USB 2.0 thumb drive first (all I had until I could get a 3.0). Took a very long time to create on the thumb. But it finished, a little slow running but not too bad.

    Tried again on a 3.0 thumb, much faster this time both in creating and running. Even trying the thumb on a laptop it was not bad at all, I even forgot I was running from a usb thumb drive. Very impressed. Especially so when the install to a thumb was then moved to a different computer (the laptop) and still worked without errors, ran programs (Microsoft Word).

    My desktop creator of the thumb has multiple internal sata drives, one OS and the others data drives. The moved thumb to the laptop has one internal. With both computers, I cannot persuade the thumb OS to see the internal sata hard drives of both desktop (Windows 10 Pro) and laptop (still Windows 7). Is this possible to do?

    When creating the thumb drive the only stumbling block on this process is choosing which partition type to use:
    (1) mbr for bios, (2) gpt for uefi, (3) mbr for bios and uefi, (4) keep the existing partition scheme.

    I remember mbr cannot be used for very large drives if just one partition is wanted. When would you want gpt by itself and why choose mbr/uefi together? And why or when would you keep the existing partition scheme?

    - - - Updated - - -

    jimbo45 said:
    Hi there
    @Garyw

    Hasleo Windtousb does this OK for you

    Best Free Windows To Go Creator Wizard Helps Create Portable Windows 10/8/7!

    The FREE version will though only Clone your current Windows system --and while you can apply Windows updates it can't install new Windows versions directly on to the external device or update the external device to a new edition.

    The Paid version doesn't have those restrictions.

    The PAID version can also "Reverse Clone" a Windows USB installation back to a fixed "standard" SSD / HDD. Doing this with Macrium won't work BTW nor will "Fix boot problems" on Macrium work either -- there might be a way to "Poodlefake" the boot but I can't be bothered with "Reverse cloning" a Windows to go type of system !!!!.

    Two things to be aware of when using HASLEO Wintousb

    1) if you have products like Office installed you will probably get activation issues if plugging in the external device to other machines.

    2) You must create an empty (and I mean Empty and formatted) EFI partition --assuming the Windows system is a UEFI boot which most these days are and at least a data partition in both cases BIOS/MBR or EFI systems (empty but formatted) otherwise the program won't work. It can take 30 - 40 mins but it actually does work BTW --even the Free one.

    That's why I prefer the Linux "Host" (USB device) solution running VMWare for the VM('s) -- the VM operates on Virtual hardware so problems of the Windows Virtual machine or applications installed on it e.g Ms Office asking for re-activation when run from different hardware is usually not present.

    If using VMWARE always reply "I Moved it" rather than "I copied it" when booting up a Windows VM on VMWARE if the "HOST" (in this case your USB device) is attached to a different machine.

    Note for using a Wintousb as a "HOST" device for another VM you will probably still get the same activation issues as Normal Windows installations if moving to a different physical machine even if the VM itself doesn't have activation issues.

    Again the Linux solution avoids this problem --kernels are pretty well plug and play on most hardware these days so even if you create the OS on an AMD machine you probably can boot on an Intel one without issue.

    Added: Also remember that the VM created on the Wintogo device can be freely copied to standard machines without any problems -- similarly you can copy a VM from a standard machine to a Wintogo device - so you don't have to create a brand new VM when using this facility.

    For those using VMWare - a Windows (or Linux) VM created either on a Linux or a Windows Host is interchangeable -- VM's can be copied between the different OS's without issue -- although in some cases depending on the graphics driver on the HOST you might need to enable 3D in the VMconfig file for Windows VM's.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    I looked into Linux, didn't get too far as the viewable screen was just too small and couldn't find out how to change it. Can you point to a tutorial for those of us who are fish out of Windows water when trying to install Linux?
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 177
    Windows 10, usually latest version
       #14

    fscltp said:
    Thanks everyone for the tips. I did get the Hasleo program "Win to USB". Tried to install on a USB 2.0 thumb drive first (all I had until I could get a 3.0). Took a very long time to create on the thumb. But it finished, a little slow running but not too bad.

    Tried again on a 3.0 thumb, much faster this time both in creating and running. Even trying the thumb on a laptop it was not bad at all, I even forgot I was running from a usb thumb drive. Very impressed. Especially so when the install to a thumb was then moved to a different computer (the laptop) and still worked without errors, ran programs (Microsoft Word).

    My desktop creator of the thumb has multiple internal sata drives, one OS and the others data drives. The moved thumb to the laptop has one internal. With both computers, I cannot persuade the thumb OS to see the internal sata hard drives of both desktop (Windows 10 Pro) and laptop (still Windows 7). Is this possible to do?

    Open Disk Management, right click on the DISK description (far left) and toggle "offline / online"
    When creating the thumb drive the only stumbling block on this process is choosing which partition type to use:
    (1) mbr for bios, (2) gpt for uefi, (3) mbr for bios and uefi, (4) keep the existing partition scheme.
    Number (3) allows you to use the W2Go drive on either type of system.
    I remember mbr cannot be used for very large drives if just one partition is wanted. When would you want gpt by itself and why choose mbr/uefi together? And why or when would you keep the existing partition scheme?

    - - - Updated - - -



    I looked into Linux, didn't get too far as the viewable screen was just too small and couldn't find out how to change it. Can you point to a tutorial for those of us who are fish out of Windows water when trying to install Linux?
    Have fun with your new W2Go!

    Gary
      My Computers

  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #15

    Hi there @fscltp

    to try out linux the easiest way is to install something like Linux Mint as a Virtual machine -- use VMplayer (it's free) and switch to full screen mode.

    The best way to learn is just to go through various google searches -- there's quite a few on You Tube (I'm a bit old fashioned here I usually prefer diagrams and text rather than Video things but each to their own choice.). The good thing with a VM if you hose it up you can simply delete it and start again -- it won't break anything on your Windows system.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


 
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