Fri Sep 7 21:58:41 EDT 2007
Windows Under Qemu
For a recent class, I had to install a particular package that
was vastly easier to use under Windows than my Xubuntu laptop. I
decide to give the x86 emulator, Qemu, a test drive. So far, so
good; in fact, it has given me a nice opportunity to play around
with a Windows "installation" without fear of breaking it. I have
gotten the virtual install down to a minimal set of services and
other junk running. It barely uses any resources while at rest -
and for Windows, this is a huge accomplishment.
This got me thinking about an idea I had a long time ago. I know
it is not going to be the first time anyone suggested this, but
it would be really helpful for Windows to provide a "sandbox" -
or virtual Windows environment for users to "junk up" with all
sorts are gnarly apps instead of screwing up their primary win-
Apparently, Qemu has a version that will run with Windows as the
host application. If this thing works, then theoretically all
any one would have to do is:
1. Install a fresh version of Windows; this will be the "pure as
a new fallen snow" installation - although it would be worth it
to eventually minimizing the processes you need running. Do not
install anything other than Qemu here.
2. Install Qemu.
3. Create a Qemu image and "install Windows" on it - Once the im-
age is created, you should create multiple copies of it - so that
you don't have to recreate any if you screw something up.
At this point, you treat the virtual windows as another program.
Install all the garbage you want, surf all the nasty sites with
unpatched IE, etc. If you screw something up and "Windows"
crashes, then you can either kill it like any other program - or
delete the image and start fresh with one of your back ups.
From my experience, Qemu emulation is fast enough for stuff like
web surfing, email checking, and work processing. It is no good
for stuff like watching movies or playing games.
I may start a page that outlines how to totally minimize one's
Windows installation. For the time being, I have "sold out" and
started a page called windowsrescuedisk.com where I try to give
some good advice about rescuing a Windows install. When I say
"sold out" I mean it is surrounded by Google adds - but I am go-
ing to be giving real advice on there that hopefully my grand-
mother in Kansas will be able to use.
I may as well use my Windows-on-Linux platform to experiment and
figure out how to totally scale down Windows. And I can use my
Google-experiment site to get the knowledge out there. I did ac-
cidentally discover that Windows will still run with out ex-
plore.exe running a while back - I have an entry on this.
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