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  • Making an old PC virtually immortal

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Making an old PC virtually immortal

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      • #2141831 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        VIRTUAL PCS By TB Capen If you’ve spent years building, repairing, and managing PCs, you’ve probably accumulated a veritable junkyard of old PCs and p
        [See the full post at: Making an old PC virtually immortal]

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2141898 Reply
        Pointedly
        AskWoody Plus

        Is there any way to save (to a non-RAID computer) the contents of a pair of hard drives that had been in a RAID 0 array? (The old computer with the RAID 0 array no longer functions, but the hard drives are still good.)

        • #2141900 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Not without a functional machine that can drive the disks.
          If you can persuade the machine to run, maybe via a Linux live USB, or put the disks and controller in a working machine, you should be OK.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141938 Reply
        AWRon
        AskWoody Plus

        If I am able to continue using an old XP Pro machine  as a virtual PC inside a more modern Windows installation, how do I make its data equally accessible both from within the virtual machine and directly from the host operating system, while having only a single copy of the file?   Preferably saved on the host hard drive, outside of the VPC?

        For example, accessing new Excel 2003 files within the virtual PC, or opening them as Excel 2003 files using Excel 2016 or 2019 directly from the host?

        Also, how do I configure the VPC to make it hard to accidentally blow it away, since it is just one file somewhere on the host?

        Thanks for any help,

        — AWRon

         

        • #2141943 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          I suggest you start a new thread in the Windows section. We don’t want to clutter this one with specific issues.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2141939 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I converted my Windows 7-64 OEM install to a virtual machine and then opened it in VMWare Workstation Player. It worked for a while, then the license failed.

        I concluded from that that you need to have a retail Windows license in order to either install Windows as a VM, or convert an existing install to a VM. An OEM license won’t work, because it won’t activate.

        Has anyone had a different experience than that? So many people talk about converting existing Windows installs to VMs that perhaps I am wrong about the need to have a retail Windows license.

        Comments?

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #2141941 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          The OEM license is licensed ONLY to the machine it is originally installed on. It cannot (legally) be moved.
          A Retail license is movable. But you have to remove it from one machine to (legally) install it on another AND you may have to go through reactivaion, sometimes requiring a phone call to Microsoft.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2150485 Reply
            Bill C.
            AskWoody Plus

            I have an academic question.

            If you have a specific machine (custom self-built) that currently has an OEM install of Win7, if that hardware had Windows removed and another OS installed, would the WIn7, running in a VM on the same hardware, still be licensed? Or does the virtualization cancel out the underlying hardware.

            Just curious as it could extend the access to Win7 as I wean off Windows, yet allow the box to remain more usable online.

            • #2153531 Reply
              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              Win 7 running in a VM on that same machine cannot use the OEM W7 license that came with the machine. The VM is a separate machine from the actual physical machine. The VM replaces the underlying hardware as far as the W7 license is concerned.

              In other words, you would be attempting to use the OEM license on a different machine, in this case a virtual machine. That is undoubtedly why I couldn’t get my W7 OEM license to activate Windows 7 when I saved my W7 OEM install as a VM and then opened that same VM under VMWare Workstation Player.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #2153541 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                The VM software replaces the PC’s hardware with VM-simulated hardware so it virtually (pun intended) becomes a different machine. That’s why the OEM license is not valid.

                The OEM software is licensed to the original hardware/machine and I believe the algorithm for activation is based on the Windows key and some information from the hardware components.

                1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2141965 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          While I do know that OEM licenses for Win XP can be moved to a VM, it sounds like MS tightened up that loophole for Win 7, as PKCano described.

        • #2141984 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Perhaps this link will help? https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/best-way-to-transfer-an-old-win7-pc-to-a-new-win10-vm/#post-230847

          I have not tried it as I am no expert. Still, it seems to imply you could move win7 into vm regardless license or edition. Be warned, even if you could do it, the OEM license may still just stop in time even if you remove GB97*** patch. I dunno how successful it would be but still I hope this may be a help 🙂

          • #2142029 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            I never did try to Sysprep / Generalize the machine before converting it to a VM. Although I’m not optimistic, it would be worth a try to see if doing it that way would allow Windows to stay activated as a VM.

            Thanks for the information.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #2142544 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        If you’ve spent years building, repairing, and managing PCs, you’ve probably accumulated a veritable junkyard of old PCs and parts — some still working, some not so much.

        About a year ago I found a working serial mouse in my junk pile! Not sure when or if I’ll ever need the serial mouse. On the other hand, around that same time I found an old Windows 3.1 laptop, which prompted me to look for a serial mouse. I found the mouse and plugged it in the serial port, and wouldn’t you know it, it worked perfectly!

        I’m keeping the mouse around just in case I am working on an old computer that happens to have a 9-pin serial port. It could be the one thing that allows me to actually fix the computer!

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2142766 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          I keep a PS/2 keyboard/mouse with the 6-pin mini-DIN connector around just in case the USB ports or the USB keyboard/mouse quit responding…

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2147373 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            USB has failed twice in my life. Because I had PS/2 available, I was able to easily get up and running.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2145424 Reply
          glnz
          AskWoody Plus

          Windows 3.1?  Can we put it into a virtual machine?

          • #2152768 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            Of course. The issue would be converting it to a VM. (In VMware there is a specific option for W3.1)
            I would try a backup and restore to a blank VM set up similarly to your 3.1 box.

            cheers, Paul

            • #2152858 Reply
              glnz
              AskWoody Plus

              Paul – In general – not limited to 3.1 – how does one “restore” a backup (from the “real world”) into a VM?  I’m particularly interested in “restoring” my existing real-world XP Pro machine into a VM running on my Win 10 Pro 64-bit (now v 1909) machine.  “Restoring” into a VM is maybe what I’ve been looking for, but I don’t know how to do it.

              Thanks.

              • #2152915 Reply
                JohnW
                AskWoody Plus

                I’ve never tried it, but I found this info on the VirtualBox wiki:

                How to migrate existing Windows installations to VirtualBox

                https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows

              • #2152932 Reply
                JohnW
                AskWoody Plus

                I also found this article (ReDeploy only comes with the paid versions, starting with Macrium Reflect Home Edition):

                Re-deploying Windows to new hardware using Macrium ReDeploy

                https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW7/Re-deploying+Windows+to+new+hardware+using+Macrium+ReDeploy

                Includes: Moving between a physical and a virtual machine (P2V / V2P).

              • #2153472 Reply
                Paul T
                AskWoody MVP

                “Restoring” into a VM is maybe what I’ve been looking for, but I don’t know how to do it.

                1. Create a backup boot ISO.
                2. Create an ISO containing the backup files.
                3. Create a new VM with a disk big enough for your needs.
                4. Attach the backup boot ISO to the VM and boot from it.
                5. Attach the backup files ISO to the VM.
                6. Select the files from the backup and restore the the VM hard disk.
                7. shut down the VM.
                8. Disconnect the ISOs.
                9. Boot the VM.
                10. Cross fingers…

                cheers, Paul

      • #2145746 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        I was trying to decide tonight if VMWare was worth the extra cost to run a VM I need to spin up for a network manager, or if I should go with VirtualBox. Seems my question was answered!

        Nathan Parker

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2147309 Reply
          JohnW
          AskWoody Plus

          I have been happy with VirtualBox for the past 5 years.

          It is a free and open source virtualization hypervisor maintained by Oracle. Full featured and very reliable. I have used it to run various Linux VMs, as well as a WinXP VM, on both Linux and Windows hosts.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2152805 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          I know you do Macs as well. I have found Parallels Desktop to be an awesome solution for running Windows on Macs. I haven’t dabbled with Linux VMs, but it shows among the default installable OSs as well.

      • #2153475 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Here is a Windows 3.1 to VM thread.
        https://communities.vmware.com/thread/315236

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169954 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        Two things I’m doing with “old machines”:

        1. I managed to install an older version of the Classic Mac OS using SheepShaver, allowing me to get a nostalgic feel for older Macs. It’s even running WordPerfect on it!
        2. I’m also installing a copy of NeXTSTEP OPENSTEP on a VirtualBox VM to get a nostalgic feel for NeXTSTEP.

        I’ll likely write AskWoody articles about both experiences and point to some install instructions.

        What has amazed me through both experiences:

        1. How much modern Macs still have in common with Classic Mac OS (I was able to easily navigate around the Classic Mac interface).
        2. How much modern Macs still have in common with NextSTEP (there are features from NextSTEP still present and familiar to Mac users).

        Nathan Parker

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169972 Reply
        Carl
        AskWoody Plus

        Here’s something that might amuse you Win ’95 nostalgia fans. A gentleman named Felix Rieseberg over at GitHub programmed a nice little oddity that he’s shared with the community. It’s simply called “windows95”. His description sums it up quite nicely:

        “This is Windows 95, running in an Electron app. Yes, it’s the full thing. I’m sorry.”

        Stand-alone and installer versions available (Windows, Mac, Linux):
        GitHub

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169981 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan, You may or may not be aware of this, but WordPerfect, from Corel, is still around:

        https://www.techradar.com/reviews/wordperfect-x9

        It was mentioned in another thread (don’t have a link) earlier in the year and I was surprised to learn of this there. I had the impression that Corel had gone down in quality and maybe was no longer around, But it seems that I was wrong about at least some of that.

        NextSTEP, the UNIX-like OS Steve Jobs came up when he exiled himself from Apple and started another company, it has been one of the main ingredients of the Mac’s successive OS versions after OS 9, since he returned to Apple and that these days go by the generic name of macOS, with early versions (when it was called OS X) that were named after big cats, and successive versions in recent years with California-themed names. Jobs’ company away from Apple was called “NeXT”, that I liked to joke about and call  “LaST” because I did not believe it was going to make it. And, if one looks at what happened, in a certain way it did and it didn’t:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXT

         

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2169984 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        Thanks for the info. I was aware that WordPerfect is still around (hard to believe!). It’s been fun playing with it on a classic Mac.

        It’s been fun playing with NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP as well. I’ve seen videos of Steve demoing it and always wanted to get my hands on it, but I didn’t have the room to keep a spare NeXT machine around. Running it on VirtualBox has been super fun.

        Nathan Parker

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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