Archive for the 'Virtualization' Category

Windows 7 - Build 7000, Beta 2… Testing testing 1-2-3

Happy new year all!

I’ve started the year rather slowly, so I haven’t had anything blog-worthy to write as of yet, however I thought I’d share some screenshots of the Windows 7 (x64) Beta 2 install and a very brief test.

If you are an MSDN subscriber with the relevant subscription, you should be able to join me in the Beta test of Windows 7.

I’m going to be testing Windows 7 using VMware Workstation, version 6.5.1. VMware workstation detects the ISO image of Windows 7 (x64) as Windows Vista (x64). I have left the default settings where possible.

Figure 1 - VMware workstation, configuration and version.

We begin the install, VMware boots from the ISO image.

Figure 2 - the install begins

You are greeted with a flashy animation, which morphs into the Windows icon, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 3 - you are able to select which version you’d like to try out. I selected Windows 7 Ultimate.

Figure 4 - the installer shows a progress bar at the bottom.

Figure 5 - following the install, the computer reboots and displays this screen

Figure 6 - The new windows desktop, and the windows update screen. I was unable to detect any updates when I ran this

Figure 7 - Internet Explorer 8 Beta

Figure 9 - The new task bar, that now shows you each tab in IE8. Tasks are now shown by Icon and grouped.

Figure 10 -  The new task bar shows Calculator and ‘Sticky Notes’ running under their icons.

Figure 11 - the gadget sidebar from Vista is gone, you can now place your gadgets wherever you like!

I am surprised to report that Windows 7 (x64) seems more responsive than Windows Vista (x64) when running in a Virtual Machine. Could Microsoft have tuned this OS a little better? I hope so!

The speed could be down to the core i7 chip that is in my host PC so I would be grateful if you could let me know how you get on with your own Beta tests.

Figure 12 - information about the Virtual Windows 7 PC

I hope to do a little more delving into the changes implemented in this new OS. I will keep you posted.


VMware - expanding a virtual disk

Traditionally (.. well until ESX server and other more expensive VMware toolkits came along), you haven’t been able to resize a virtual disk, once you’ve created it.

Well, now you can (as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1: Expanding VMware workstation virtual disk using the vmware-vdiskmanager utility.

The brilliant blog goes into more detail on the topic, but it is something I will be using lots in the future!… well until I can be bothered to install VMware converter, but I don’t know enough about that product to install it on our corporate servers.


Installing VMware Server 1.0.6-91891 on Vista x64 SP1

VMware unfortunately requires the installation of unsigned drivers.

Figure 1: vmnetbridge.sys

It also requires

  1. vmnewuserif.sys
  2. vmx86.sys
  3. hcmon.sys

There appear to be numerous fixes for this on the web

Reading between the lines, the only fix for SP1, is to click the ‘ignore driver signing’ option by mashing F8 on bootup, however I’ve tried this as still can’t get VMware server installed.

I will continue to investigate


Next Version of SharePoint available in 64 bit architecture only!

If you want to do the background reading that I’ve done on the subject it will be worth your while looking at

  1. Steve Smith’s Blog - link
  2. Microsoft’s TechNet Service Pack 1 documentation - link, and also mirrored on this site here
  3. Gary Bushey’s Blog - link
  4. .. and on the SharePoint User Group UK - here

All of this has definitely got me thinking about what specification our next farm server needs to be… and I’ll be pushing the Hardware guys at my company all the way now to make sure we get 64 bit hardware to satisfy the requirements of the next release of SharePoint.

Microsoft outlays the reasons for using a 64 bit architecture - here, however for those like me out there who are being asked to tighten the purse strings on hardware are having to make use of older 32bit machines, who’s original task was to host SharePoint versions 1 and 2. This all in all means I’m going to have to be one damn good salesman when I have this discussion with the people with the money :-D

The great thing is that this shouldn’t affect developers too much, so I’m happy… why you ask… well I use VMware visualizations extensively and it’s great to know that you can host a 64 bit guest on a 32 bit host - see here. I’m not sure whether Microsoft Virtual PC supports something similar, but my guess is if it doesn’t now, it will do in the future. VMware versions 5.5 upwards support this feature.

There are some things that you need to be aware of though, your host machine will need a supported CPU (and motherboard in some cases), personally I’d make sure you have an Intel chip for the following reasons, your 32 bit CPU must support the EM64T standard along with support for Intel VT (Virtualization Technology or Vanderpool Technology).

AMD chips do support this feature, but I’ve only tried this so far with Intel chips. You need to make sure your AMD supports the AMD 64bit virtualization feature (AMD-V for short)


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