I replaced my Windows 7 O/S with Ubuntu. This has given me many new things that were missing so far in my life. Biggest change being the way I use my laptop. Earlier with 10min bootup time of Windows 7, I normally kept the laptop in suspend mode most of the time. Now Ubuntu takes about 1min 48sec to boot. There is no excuse to keep the laptop running with Ubuntu. Shutdown time is around 40 sec, Now, I can afford to do some quick personal work.
Next change is the way I install software. Most programs that I use were either installed by default or installed from Ubuntu repository. Installing from Ubuntu repository is as easy as typing the name and hit install key. Earlier I used to keep all program installer in a folder, nicely categorized and archived. That headache is mostly gone, I still need to do it for some programs, but the size is less than 1 GB.
There is one problem, that happened after this change. That’s the baggage of my old files. I have some files that need windows program to open. On Ubuntu, there are two ways to run windows program. One is a Windows emulator – WINE. Other is to run windows in a virtual machine.
I installed WINE. This is a simple step, open installer, and search for WINE. It gives me three options – Wine, wine loader and wine tools. Install all three. It takes about 10 min and that’s it. You are good to run many windows program. I purchased a uC it that require a special program loader (in windows) picpgm. Opened console, Cntrl-Alt-T, and typed “wine picpgm” and there it goes. Windows program, running nicely on Ubuntu.
Next was to do the same with my other programmer pickit2. I try again the same magic command – wine pickit2. Uh Uh! Same magic do not work. Now it complains about missing dot net. Well, dot net is a big package that is proprietary MS. I don’t expect wine to emulate it. I knew, I have to install windows on a virtual machine.
Like the choice of coffe in a Cub Food store, Ubuntu has number of Virtual Machine software. The choice is endless and can be quite confusing to newcomer. After few month of experimentation, I knew how to choose coffee – go for one you like. For me it is only one flavor – Medium roasted Columbia. I follow the same principle in Linux. Choose one software that works for me. For Virtual machine, I use one software that is easy to use – it is virtual box.
Virtual box is readily available in ubuntu repository. Installing it is as easy as type “virtualbox” and click the install button. Once Virtual box is installed I popped in the WIndows recovery disk from my laptop. I thought it had a copy of Windows 7, that I own. Disk whirred and copied some files and then asked for last copy of the recovery disk fo partition my hard disk. Basically it was trying to get my machine to factory condition rather than just install windows. This is not what I intended. Cancelled the job. Next I thought, I should download a fresh copy of Windows from Microsoft. I had the product key – entered that in the software download page and Microsoft says: This product is a third party supplied product. Conduct the vendor.
Well, so much for the product key and ownership and software write. Basically it means you can’t install fctory supplied windows on virtual machine. Good! Don’t get fooled with factory supplied windows. If you need Windows, buy a hardware without preinstalled windows and then buy O/S seperately. It is worth those few extra doller.
Fortunately I had a copy of XP disk, that was not factory installed. I changed the Virtual machine from Windows 7 to XP and put the installer disk. Here you see Windows XP is getting installed. This installation process is just like installing it in a new PC. With Virtualbox basically you have created new “virtual” computer within your computer. This has its own virtual memory and virtual hard disk.
20 min later windows XP is installed. Spend some time in setting up Windows. Here you see windows running on the smaller screen over virtual machine. This way, one can run multiple O/S at the same time on the same hardware.
Now it is time to do some serious stuff with Windows. I have my favorite game – Master of Olympus -Zeus. I put the game installer CD, everything goes nicely and now I have Zeus running on my Linux machine. That’s called peaceful co-existence!
So far My Window was isolated. I need to connect WIndows to internet. In this world, hardly anything works without internet connection. Windows authentication is one need. Then there are some programs and update that are needed from internet. After a few false try, I found a good instruction that worked for me to connect windows to net. Here is the link. Credit goes to Irfan for a cool and correct instruction. Now I can authenticate and pacify the creaking window for genuineness. Now you can see me exploring internet, doing some drawing and listing files in a transparent Linux console.