Advice please.


New member
I'm taking delivery of my new tower from PCSpecialist tomorrow. 32Gb memory, 512Gb SSD & 1Tb hard drive.

I've had Windows 10 Pro installed on a 250Gb partition on the hard drive. Yes I know that there is a performance hit; it is there as a backup as I have several essential programs that only run under Windows and are not stable under Wine.

My plan is to run Linux (probably Ubuntu) on the SSD with bulk data on the hard drive.

Other than the basic installation of Linux I would like to use virtual machines. Linux for normal use, other flavours of Linux for experimentation, and Windows for the few programmes that I have to run in Windows.

I'm thinking of using virtual box but am not sure whether to run it on a base of Linux server or workstation.

Suggestions please.
I have run VirtualBox on LinuxMint for over 10 years running under LinuxMint (on PCS UltranoteIII, ClevoN240JU) which I keep uptodate with the long term release from time to time. Currently it is LinuxMint 19.3 (based on Ubuntu 18.04). VBoxproper liteweight desktop. There are some housekeeping things like managing directories shared by MSWindows and VBox which I would find tricky to do using the command line and which would more difficult on a server version of Ubuntu. I use various MSWindows installations generally without any access to the internet for securi ty. I still use WinXP in that way because it is way faster in VBox than say Win10. Win7 seems to be the best one. Win10 takes a time to load but is fast thereafter. It takes about the same time as a native installation of Win10. I doubt if the server version would be much faster. Actually, I am pretty sure that to use VBox at all you will need a graphical interface and the advantages of the server version would be lost. I have occasionally run versions of Linux as a guest in VBox which worked OK but my experience is limited. It has always seemed best just to run the linux programs in the native operating system.

I use most of my MSWin programmes in wine but setting them can be a real pain. I have never found a program that I use which will not run in the VBox hosted MSWin in the appropriate windows version using just the regular installation programs. The big advantage is that all the data for the programs can be held on the Linux EXT partitions and shared with Linux or VBox MSWin programs.

Rather than using snapshots in the VBox interface I have found CloneVDI.exe (V4.01) much easier to manage. It does a complete clone of a virtual machine including reducing the size all in one go. I do a clone before doing some act in VBox MSWin which I may want to undo and it is quick taking a minute or two for say 20GB virtual disk. These clones can have their hardware and software UUID altered so that the virtual machine can be used on different linux versions. (It is important to have a license for these installations and to be aware of copying limitations. I think I was able to update from an earlier version of Win to Win10 for free. There in a genuine MS website that allows this. Whether we can still do this I have not idea.)
(Get CloneVDI.exe it from which contains extensive FAQ and instructions on use - there is a zipped file we can download there too. CloneVDI.exe is a windows .exe file but if you download it in Linux and click on it, it will load using the latest version of wine, provided you have that installed. It has worked faultlessly in Linux for many years now. It is "approved" by VBox because there is much discussion of it on the forum.)
I have tried various virtual operating system setups hosted by Linux but VBox seems the easiest to set up USB access, shared folders, and web access (or inhibiting it.) Remember to install the VBox Guest Extensions. I think that the open source version of VBox in the Synaptic Package Manager is limited and you may have to download a free not open source v from the Oracle website to access USB devices. This may have changed.
I keep all my data on a separate EXT4 partition of around 350GB. The virutal machines and other data are on this and I back it all up using Backintime held on several separate external HDs or 1 or 2 Tb. It is very easy to copy a file (or virtual machine) from this backup if things go wrong.

I hope this helps. Send a reply and I will see what I can add. I hope I do not fall foul of the rules for this forum. Occasionally I find that the moderator removes my offerings for some minor infringement.

Kind wishes, Ian.
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