Sunday, March 21, 2010

VMLite on 1810TZ

I wrote a wordy post to talk about CPU with and without Intel VT-x or AMD-V. In the post I introduced VMLite that rescued my wallet for quite a big sum. In this post, let's save some key strokes and I will summarize by youtube the items you need to do to get VMLite running on your W7 machine, whether it's a VT-x enabled machine or not.

Before VMLite, it may be good to learn about Microsoft's Windows XP mode for comparison sake...


You get a feel on how Windows XP mode run on the machine, now let's see the same review for VMLite...


The obvious difference between both is the task bar. You don't see XP task bar in Windows XP mode when you launch the application installed in XP virtual machine. But you see one in VMLite XP mode. Hence, it eats up some pixels on your screen. One workaround is to enable "Auto hide task bar" in XP (not W7 task bar!!)...


The XP task bar is hidden. You can store it by pointing the cursor to right above W7 task bar.

The other difference is the drag and drop feature. In Windows XP mode, you can drag and drop from W7 host system to XP virtual machine. This is not available in VMLite. Some inconveniences but again here is the workaround...


The drives in W7 are automatically mapped to H drive in XP virtual machine. Open H drive will get you to C, D and whatever drives you have on your W7 machine so you can still copy-paste files beween W7 and XP.

One big weakness in current version of VMLite (3.1.2) is it does not support USB devices. So whatever USB hardware (thumb drive, dongle etc) you plug in will not be seen or detected by XP. Say if you plug in a USB thumb drive, the drive will not be listed in XP. But if you go to the H drive, you can still see and access it. But for USB dongle like USB 3G modem, it will not be visible in XPM until the next version release of VMLite.

There are few more differences but this post is to get your started with VMLite, so let's get to step 1, to install VMLite onto your W7 host machine...


Now step 2, to setup XPM or XP mode...


Over the video above you need to obtain XPM package via one of the options. The easiest way is to manually download the package from Microsoft site. Select the right system and language, then download the 500MB+ package to your machine. Make sure it's legitimate for you to download. Once downloaded, follow the video but select second option and browse to where the downloaded package is. It's strongly recommended to select a non-system drive (i.e. D drive) when VMLite ask where to save your XPM image files, the VHD file is >2GB in size. Then, sit back and wait. For my case, since I have been using an XP VHD image file for my Microsoft trainings, I imported the same image to be used as XPM.

One thing to note. If your machine is ultra thin notebook like 1810TZ, it comes with no CD/DVD/Bluray ROM. You will encounter an error during step 2...


It's not a serious error, you can ignore it if you want. To prevent the error, it's either you plug in an external ROM drive before you begin step 2 or install those daemon software to emulate a ROM drive. The ROM drive is used by VMLite to install VMLite Guest Additions software...


I don't find it useful though, I don't need that to close my XP application or XPM. Normally I just right click on VMLite icon and select close this window...


That works.

Once you have XPM setup, now is to install the applications that are only compatible with XP into the XPM virtual machine. Here's the how-to...


That's all! You're done. Yes, only a simple 1-2-3 step to get your XPM up and running in W7 with your legacy applications that are only XP-compatible.

If you curious about the performance, here's the idle state of 1810TZ...


When I start XPM...


And when XPM is actively running...


As expected, it eats up a lot of memory. But W7 is still running smooth and the XP application shows no lagging. My 1810TZ is still on stock 2GB, it will be a relief once I add on another 2GB stick.

Unlike Vista upgrade, upgrade to W7 is painless where you enjoy the latest W7 at the same time you don't lose your legacy XP. It may be a regret if you have bought a workstation with no support of VT-x but VMLite saves you from nightmares and helps you for a painless upgrade.

P/S: here is the how-to guide in PDF format.