Portable Virtual

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  1. Posts : 6
    windows 10
       #1

    Portable Virtual


    I like the idea of virtual Windows, and have successfully used both VM Ware and Oracle Virtualbox. I have always wanted to install virtual windows to an external drive that I could plug in to any computer. There is a Portable Virtualbox, but not sure if this is part of Oracle. I downloaded the portable but when I tried to install, it set off my anti-virus. I know I could shut the anti-virus off, or make an exception, but is a program like this safe to use?
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  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,674
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #2

    fscltp said:
    ...There is a Portable Virtualbox, but not sure if this is part of Oracle....
    No, it appears to be a portable wrapper written by a 3rd-party that can be used to download the official Virtualbox and install it as a portable app. The How-To Geek explains more here:

    Use Portable VirtualBox to Take Virtual Machines With You Everywhere

    I downloaded the portable but when I tried to install, it set off my anti-virus. I know I could shut the anti-virus off, or make an exception, but is a program like this safe to use?
    I can't even get as far as downloading it, Firefox objects....

    Portable Virtual-image.png

    ...and clicking 'ignore the risk' just gets:

    Portable Virtual-image.png
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  3. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #3

    Hi there
    @fscltp

    the best way IMO for a truely Portable no risk way here is to install either VBOX or VMWare on to a LINUX system that you can boot from an external SSD (connected to machine via a SATA-->USB3 / 3.1 /USB-C connector and install Windows as VM on that device.

    The whole thing boots totally from the external SSD, the Windows response time as a VM is pretty good for even quite modest machines (and the VM itself can be copied if required to other WINDOWS HOSTS).

    If you are not familiar with Linux, Linux Mint is pretty OK and "Windows like" or there's loads of documentation of UBUNTU.

    Runs samba too so you've got full shareability to devices on your HOST machine plus the rest of any LAN you have. --Ensure package ntfs-3g is installed (it usually is these days by default) so you can read / write NTFS files from Linux host.

    (Of course you can also experiment with a Windows VM running under QEMU/KVM on this type of system -- Virtual Machines created by VMWARE, VBOX and KVM can all run concurrently).

    To me this is a GENUINE portable solution as you can just plug the device into any machine, boot it and run your Windows VM without problems of "re-activation" when moving a VM on to a different machine.

    Install theLinux system totally to the external device (including its bootloader) so your main Windows HOST boot isn't messed up at all .

    start with some Live distro which you can then install to the external device using the generally built in graphical (GUI) install process

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

    @fscltp
    Why not create a windows to go machine and avoid the extra layers?

    There are several 3'rd party utilities to create W2go or use this link:

    How to Create a Windows to Go USB Pendrive without using Enterprise | Windows 10 Forums



    A W2Go drive will run on most any windows box, mbr or uefi, as long as the host machine's boot options are set properly.
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  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #5

    Garyw said:
    @fscltp
    Why not create a windows to go machine and avoid the extra layers?

    There are several 3'rd party utilities to create W2go or use this link:

    How to Create a Windows to Go USB Pendrive without using Enterprise | Windows 10 Forums



    A W2Go drive will run on most any windows box, mbr or uefi, as long as the host machine's boot options are set properly.
    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
    Last edited by jimbo45; 27 Mar 2020 at 06:09. Reason: Added extra notes on VM's on Portable devices
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  6. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,013
    Windows10
       #6

    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
    The free version no longer creates wintogo drives.

    Use Rufus instead.
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  7. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #7

    cereberus said:
    The free version no longer creates wintogo drives.

    Use Rufus instead.
    Hi there
    I think with Rufus you have to create a new Windows system -I don't think it works if you want to "clone" your physical system.

    I'll try out both today --- at least for the moment there's bags of time currently -- no pressure for "Sat shopping" etc etc !!

    I think also with a little bit of playing around with usbstor.sys and uaspstor.sys on the Windows system (on the target USB not your main system) the free version can be made to work --it used to so I'll have a fiddle with that.

    AOMEI Partition manager DOES NOT WORK for this if you have seen posts saying you can use it -- also beware of some of AOMEI as there's a few "Go Pro" --i.e pay nags and some features not made clear are also pay features.

    I'll see if I can report back later on how this stuff works with current version and insider version of W10 --got plenty of spare SSD's around for testing with.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  8. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,013
    Windows10
       #8

    jimbo45 said:
    Hi there
    I think with Rufus you have to create a new Windows system -I don't think it works if you want to "clone" your physical system.

    I'll try out both today --- at least for the moment there's bags of time currently -- no pressure for "Sat shopping" etc etc !!

    I think also with a little bit of playing around with usbstor.sys and uaspstor.sys on the Windows system (on the target USB not your main system) the free version can be made to work --it used to so I'll have a fiddle with that.

    AOMEI Partition manager DOES NOT WORK for this if you have seen posts saying you can use it -- also beware of some of AOMEI as there's a few "Go Pro" --i.e pay nags and some features not made clear are also pay features.

    I'll see if I can report back later on how this stuff works with current version and insider version of W10 --got plenty of spare SSD's around for testing with.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    1.Create wintogo using Rufus.

    2. Overwrite C drive with a Macrium Reflect image backup of drive C with all the gubbins.
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  9. Posts : 177
    Windows 10, usually latest version
       #9

    Referencing Hasleo’s Win to USB @jimbo45, “The FREE version will though only Clone your current Windows system –“
    @cereberus “The free version no longer creates wintogo drives.”

    The latest free version (5.1 12/23/19) will create W2Go from an .iso, .ESD, or .WIM, but only Windows Home.
    (I tested it this afternoon)

    Aomei Partition Assistant Standard (free version) will create any version of windows in a W2Go format, the only catch is that you first have to extract the desired version of Windows into a stand alone .Wim and then point the W2Go creator program to the .Wim. Otherwise Aomei will create the first Windows version it finds in the .Wim

    I use the reference in post #4 to extract the .Wim that I want, then use Aomei to actually create the new W2Go.

    Creating W2Go using only the reference in post #4 works quite well, but it takes a little more typing.

    I prefer to use an SSD or HDD in a SATA to USB enclosure rather than an actual thumb drive. Using an actual drive seems to give much better performance than even the fastest thumb drives I could find.
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  10. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,479
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #10

    Garyw said:
    Referencing Hasleo’s Win to USB @jimbo45, “The FREE version will though only Clone your current Windows system –“
    @cereberus “The free version no longer creates wintogo drives.”

    The latest free version (5.1 12/23/19) will create W2Go from an .iso, .ESD, or .WIM, but only Windows Home.
    (I tested it this afternoon)

    Aomei Partition Assistant Standard (free version) will create any version of windows in a W2Go format, the only catch is that you first have to extract the desired version of Windows into a stand alone .Wim and then point the W2Go creator program to the .Wim. Otherwise Aomei will create the first Windows version it finds in the .Wim

    I use the reference in post #4 to extract the .Wim that I want, then use Aomei to actually create the new W2Go.

    Creating W2Go using only the reference in post #4 works quite well, but it takes a little more typing.

    I prefer to use an SSD or HDD in a SATA to USB enclosure rather than an actual thumb drive. Using an actual drive seems to give much better performance than even the fastest thumb drives I could find.
    Hi there
    @Garyw

    (Could do with some of that Florida sunshine at the moment !!!! --1 Deg C here and light snow !!).

    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).

    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.

    3)Rufus works - again NEW Windows only from ISO - won't clone your existing Windows system to a Wintogo type of thing.

    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.

    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

    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.

    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
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