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  • Using VirtualBox with W7 Guest within Linux Mint

    Home Forums AskWoody support Other platforms – for Windows wonks Linux for Windows wonks Using VirtualBox with W7 Guest within Linux Mint

    This topic contains 40 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  JohnW 4 months, 1 week ago.

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    • #209226 Reply

      HH33
      AskWoody Lounger

      After more than three decades of using DOS/Windows, the increasing privacy invasiveness and patching dysfunction of Windows is pushing me into the world of Linux. I’ve loaded various versions of Mint Cinnamon into Virtual Box (VB) VMs on two computers and replaced Windows 7 and XP entirely with older Xfce Mints on two seriously old, formerly slow laptops, all with excellent results.  I’m still very much a Linux newbie, but this old dog is slowly learning at least a few simple new tricks.

       

      My issue is this:  Once I’m more comfortable with using Linux, I want to reverse my current W7 Host/Mint Guest arrangement in VB.  Because I have certain specialized software which will not run under Linux (or Wine) – and also to allow for a more gradual transition to an eventual Linux-only setup – I want to create a disk image or clone of my entire W7 machine, then install Mint Cinnamon (probably 19, if any “new OS bugs” are worked out by then) and VB within Mint.  Once that’s done, I want to load my image or clone of my current W7 setup into VB as the Guest within the Linux Host so that I can have ready access to both operating systems and their files at all times, rather than having to boot in and out of each OS one at a time in a dual boot arrangement.

       

      My questions:

      A)    Is there a “best” way to get my existing W7 Pro-64 setup into VB within Mint?  Proprietary disk image, cloning software, ISO file, or ____?  I currently backup all our W7 computers weekly by using AOMEI Backupper Free to create complete disk images, but I’m open to using other software or doing other types of imaging/cloning if it will make the transfer of W7 into a Linux VB Guest easier, better, or less prone to problems.

       

      B)    Are there any major flaws in this plan or pitfalls I need to watch out for?  What have I missed?

       

      C)    I seem to recall reading that it is possible to set up the W7 Guest in VB so that it is isolated from the Internet, while the Mint Host is fully Internet-connected.  That way, once W7 reaches its official End of Life date and is no longer officially supported or updated, I’ll be able to keep my W7 in the VB off-line, but of course have complete Internet access through Mint.  Is this correct?

       

      I realize that I still have some time before W7’s EOL date comes around, but I need to be looking into all this now, as I still have a fairly steep learning curve to conquer before then.  I have three W7 computers to convert at some point, so when I’m ready I’ll practice on a less-critical laptop and try to make sure I know what I’m doing before I tackle our two crucial primary desktops.

       

      Any and all help or suggestions will be much appreciated.

       

      Cheers,

      HH33

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #209253 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      I think most of that plan should work.

      There are tools available to convert a HDD to a VM, but I think it would be easier, and with less potential issues, to just do a clean install of the Windows OS into a fresh VM.

      Plus there is probably a lot of bloat in your existing Windows partition that you would lose with a fresh install.  Taking it all across would require a rather large VM folder, with the associated disk space requirement.

      Using a fresh Windows install would also provide the opportunity to optimize the new Windows VM with only what you absolutely need to run on Windows.  You may be surprised with what Windows applications can be replaced with native Linux apps  🙂

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209266 Reply

      HH33
      AskWoody Lounger

      Thanks for your reply, John. I recognize the inherent positive aspects of any clean install and had considered doing a clean install of W7 Pro-64 into the VM, but the thought of reloading all the needed Windows software, plus the transferring of all the needed historical user files and folders, just seems way too daunting, especially when it would have to be done three times, once for each of our three W7 machines.

      I certainly grant that there would be a lot of bloat carried over to the VM in a W7 disk image, though that could perhaps be minimized by making a “full-bloat” backup for archival purposes, then stripping out as much bloat as possible to create a “mini-bloat” image to be transferred to the VM.

      As to native Linux apps, we already use such programs as Firefox, VLC, and the LibreOffice suite on all our W7 computers and I use Thunderbird as my email client, so those Mint-supplied programs would at least be familiar. However, my wife has used MS Outlook for her email on her business desktop for years, and although she would be willing to eventually switch to TB, she is understandably concerned about the possibility of any inadvertent loss of either email function or access to past emails during or after a switch to Mint. I will need to research the best way to archive Outlook emails in such a manner that ready access to them can be maintained under Mint, as otherwise that could be a sticking point.

      In addition to the considerable specialized, non-Linux professional software which would need to be reloaded into a fresh W7 VM, there are other software considerations.  In particular, we do a great deal of work with PDF files and have become devotees of PDF-XChange Editor, an incredibly capable and versatile PDF file viewer and handler for Windows.  To date, despite considerable searching, I have yet to discover any Linux PDF software which is even remotely as capable, though I’ll be delighted to be proven wrong.  Unless or until such software is available, having the ability to jump into a W7 VM and process PDF files as we need to will remain a consideration.

      I confess that one of my primary reasons for preferring to use and image of our current W7 over a clean W7 install is that each of our three business computers would need to go through this process and that it seems to me that it would be difficult to accomplish all that without a lot of computer downtime during the transfer. My hope in proposing the “current W7 image” option for the VM is that that would make it easier in the short term to start using Mint while having the ability to dive into W7 programs and files as needed, thus allowing more time for both Linux research and the gradual transfer of both computing functions and past files to Mint.  It was, I suppose, an attempt to make the conversion simpler in the short run and allow more time for learning making the adjustment to Linux.

      Unfortunately, having many other things to deal with in life, I don’t have endless time to devote to this Linux conversion project, and any Windows to Linux conversion has to be both manageable and a net benefit to our business if it is to be worth doing.  As a result, I was thinking that the “current W7 image” approach would make the conversion to Linux easier and quicker, but I’m certainly open to – and will appreciate – any better ideas.

      Thanks again for your helpful post.

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209324 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      How to Convert a Physical Windows or Linux PC to a Virtual Machine

      https://www.howtogeek.com/213145/how-to%C2%A0convert-a-physical-windows-or-linux-pc-to-a-virtual-machine/

      As a test, I tried the first method using the VMWare converter a few years ago.  My Win 7 Pro 32-bit system booted as a VM successfully.  As I didn’t have a 2nd license, I deleted the VM soon after.  It has been some time, so I don’t remember many details, but the concept seems to work for the most part. I may have also found a method to import this VMWare virtual machine into VirtualBox, but that would take some fancy footwork.  Not really necessary, because VMWare player is fully capable.  Just that VirtualBox is my chosen VM Host.

      The main thing to remember is that the VM host hypervisor  (VMWare, VirtualBox, etc.) abstracts the host computer hardware, so that the guest VM sees a new generic hardware profile.

      Note: Windows VMs must be properly licensed and activated.  You will need a 2nd Windows license for each virtual machine unless you completely decommission the original after migration.

      From the article:

      If you’re converting a Windows PC to a virtual machine, remember that you may encounter licensing issues. Windows activation may detect that it’s running on a different machine, and you may have to contact Microsoft to get it properly activated. Windows licenses are only supposed to be in use on one computer at a time.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #209325 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      VMware vCenter® Converter™ Standalone provides an easy-to-use solution that automates the process of creating VMware virtual machines from physical machines (running Windows and Linux) and other virtual machine formats.

      Docs:  https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCenter-Converter-Standalone/index.html

      Download:  https://my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/info/slug/infrastructure_operations_management/vmware_vcenter_converter_standalone/6_2_0

      Physical to Virtual (P2V) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical-to-Virtual

      Download VMWare Workstation Player:

      https://my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/free#desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_workstation_player/14_0

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209331 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      A few other things to consider…

      System settings affected by Physical to Virtual Conversion:

      A VMware virtual machine that is created by Converter Standalone contains a copy of the disk state of the source physical or virtual machine. Some hardware-dependent drivers and sometimes the mapped drive letters might not be preserved.

      https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCenter-Converter-Standalone/6.2/com.vmware.convsa.guide/GUID-AAE52081-E940-4527-94B6-275B2DB054D2.html

      Changes to Virtual Machine After Virtual Machine Migration:

      After conversion, most applications function correctly on the VMware virtual machine because their configuration and data files have the same location as on the source virtual machine. However, applications might not work if they depend on specific characteristics of the underlying hardware, such as the serial number or the device manufacturer.

      https://docs.vmware.com/en/vCenter-Converter-Standalone/6.2/com.vmware.convsa.guide/GUID-404540CC-35FD-47C6-BF46-9D2A1315D366.html

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209334 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      If you would just like to test out a Windows VM in a virtual environment, Microsoft has made these Windows 10 Enterprise evaluation builds available as free VMs, ready to go:

      https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/virtual-machines

      Get a Windows 10 Development Environment

      Start coding sooner with a virtual machine prepped for Windows 10 development. It has the latest versions of Windows, the developer tools, SDKs, and samples ready to go.

      We currently package our virtual machines for four different virtualization software options: VMWare, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209335 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      And here are some Win7 and Win 8 virtual machines provided by Microsoft.  They expire after 90 days, so are designed for testing IE8 through IE11.

      https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/

      These virtual machines expire after 90 days. We recommend setting a snapshot when you first install the virtual machine which you can roll back to later. Mac users will need to use a tool that supports zip64, like The Unarchiver, to unzip the files.
      The password to your VM is “Passw0rd!”

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209336 Reply

      johnf
      AskWoody Lounger

      Here is a link for Linux PDF Editors (though you may already have looked at these):

      4 Best Linux PDF Editors You Can Use in 2018

      I also used to prefer a fresh windows install on a VM, but the state of Window patching makes that more difficult. A converter makes more sense; when you do get the thing working, make sure you take a “Snapshot” (or just make a backup of the VM somewhere), so you don’t lose anything. It also helps to have the original Windows license written down, in case the VM asks for it.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209340 Reply

      zero2dash
      AskWoody Lounger

      You can also use SysInternals Disk2VHD (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/disk2vhd) to make a virtual disk copy of your physical HD, and then create a new VM and choose to use an existing disk (and then point to the VHD file).

      VMware vCenter Converter is a good app but the issue you’ll have is it will P2V to work with VMware’s formats (.vdmk). VB can open that format, but the machine settings itself you will have to create from scratch – same as you’d have to do if you used Disk2VHD, above.

      One other way that works is to use an image backup program to make a full image of the physical machine (I’ve used Acronis TrueImage and Macrium Reflect Free for this), and then restore that physical machine’s backup to a new virtual machine. The good thing about this process is typically the restore process will generalize the hardware, so you have less issues trying to boot the machine (as opposed to having to futz with the VM settings to find the right combination). I’ve used this method to P2V servers. You would boot the physical hardware from the image program’s boot CD, and you would do the restore process by creating a new VM and booting from the image program boot CD again.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209348 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Well as you can see, there is no one size fits all answer for this.  That’s not a bad thing, as this can be done multiple ways.

      But it can be be a technical challenge, regardless of the path you choose, as there is no “EASY” button to do this with one click.  A bit of research, study, and planning is required.

      For those that are just getting started with VirtualBox, or any other VM hosts, recommend that you install a few test VMs from scratch, and download a few ready made VMs and try them out as a test environment.

      Once you have a good feel for booting up in a virtual environment, and solving any initial issues with basic settings, etc., you will be more comfortable with tackling a big P2V project!  Find a spare computer and install Linux as the host OS, then start loading up VM’s (Windows and Linux).  It’s fun!  😀

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #209381 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      I run Linux Mint 18.2 64-bit as my host OS. I have installed VMWare Workstation Player as my virtual machine software. I have three Windows VMs installed and ready to use:

      * Windows 8.1 32-bit — I downloaded the Windows 8.1 ISO file from Microsoft; then, when I was setting up the VM, I pointed it to the ISO file; I entered the activation key; I hit OK, and a couple of minutes later I had a fully-operational Windows 8.1 VM. That was absolutely the easiest Windows clean install I have ever done.

      * Windows 7, 32-bit — I set up a new VM for Windows 7, then installed it from the original install disks.

      * Windows 7, 64-bit — Windows 7 64-bit was already installed on another hard drive, so I used a VMWare tool to convert that install to a VM. (The conversion took about an hour.)

      The two straight-up clean installs work perfectly; the “conversion” install works fine, except that I can’t get the video configured correctly to allow me to run it full-screen. I haven’t thoroughly tested the conversion install for any other issues, so I can’t say for sure; but in general this install works fine, other than not being able to run it full-screen.

      An additional benefit that you may find by running Windows in a VM is that you will probably be able to do auto-updates, even if your computer has a new CPU. (If Windows is the host OS, and you have a new CPU, you will be blocked from doing auto updates.)

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #209414 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks! I do have the 8.1 ISO disk, and it is very good news that you found it so straightforward to install 8.1 on a VM hosted by Linux. As far as that is concerned, would it make any difference if what is installed in this way is a 32-bit or a 64-bit version of 8.1?

        • #209438 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          It is better to install the 64-bit version IF your system has enough power to support it:
          * If your computer is 64-bit
          * If your Linux install is 64-bit
          * If you have at least 8 GB of RAM

          In my case, I have a 64-bit computer and 64-bit Linux, but I have only 4 GB of RAM in the computer. So I went with the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 for the VM. (Actually, I don’t have a license for the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, so I don’t really have a choice. But if I did, I would go with the 32-bit version because my computer simply doesn’t have the memory to go with the 64-bit version.)

          I allocated 2 GB of RAM to the VM, which leaves me with 2 GB of RAM for Linux. I’m making it, but just barely. Therefore, I have no choice but to go with the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1.

          Even if you have plenty of RAM, I don’t believe you can install a 64-bit VM if your host system is 32-bit. But I’ve never tried, so I can’t say for sure.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #209447 Reply

            JohnW
            AskWoody Lounger

            It may be worth bumping up the RAM in the host system to 8GB so you can run a 64-bit VM.

            There are going to be more and more developers dropping support for 32-bit apps and distributing them in 64-bit only.   So in the long run you may desire the ability to run 64-bit apps in your VM guest OS.  The only way to change the bit-level is with a fresh install.

            Now if you plan to freeze your VM guest OS in time in the 32-bit mode, and never upgrade or install anything new, maybe that is not a very big deal.  Just something to consider.  I have a Win XP VM stuck in 32-bit land, and that runs some legacy graphics programs from Adobe and Corel just fine.  But the choice of browsers and security apps is slim, due to the combination of out of date OS, and the bit level.  So that is one to keep off the network!

            • #209526 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP

              If VMWare Workstation Player is your virtual machine software and Linux is your host OS, you need to have 64-bit Linux as the host OS. VMWare quit developing for 32-bit Linux a while back; so you’ll have to install an old version of VMWare if you have 32-bit Linux.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            • #209786 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP

              My computer has two memory slots, and I can go as high as 16 GB. Right now I have one 4 GB stick; I’m planning on adding an 8 GB stick as soon as I get some money, bringing me up to 12 GB. That should be enough; but at some point I will probably go up to 16 GB — probably after I get an NvME SSD!

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #209470 Reply

      HH33
      AskWoody Lounger

      Many thanks to all of you who have posted suggestions on this topic.  When I said in my OP, “I still have a fairly steep learning curve to conquer” before the W7 EOL date in January, 2020, perhaps I may have underestimated the steepness of that curve!

      I was interested to see the variety of the approaches offered, though that variety necessarily will entail still more evaluation on my part.  I’m tempted by the clean install approach because of its lack of bloat, but so far am leaning toward either using a P2V converter or creating and restoring a disk image of the current W7 setup, primarily to minimize the need for time-consuming re-installation of needed Windows-only software.  However, before going too much farther into my research, I’m going to do a more detailed analysis of exactly which of our Windows programs will truly be both necessary and unavailable under Linux.  I want to make sure that my estimate of our software situation under Windows is accurate before relying on that estimate to choose the best W7 to Mint conversion approach for our machines.

      I appreciated JohnW’s good suggestion to “[f]ind a spare computer and install Linux as the host OS, then start loading up VM’s (Windows and Linux).  It’s fun!”  Such experimentation is indeed the best way to test procedures and gain confidence.  However, while it would indeed be fun to do lots of that if I had unlimited time at my disposal, unfortunately it’s not always easy to take care of business/life obligations and still find time to experiment with computers within the limited confines of a 24-hour day!  Still, that experimentation will almost certainly, at least to some extent, be part of my continuing preparation for this change.

      Clearly, I need to take some time to do still more research before choosing the best approach to this conversion for our business, but in order to round out the picture before starting that further research, I’d appreciate any further thoughts on the following questions:

      A)    When installing and operating a VM under Linux Mint, is there any advantage to using one VM hypervisor over another?  I’ve done all my W7 Host/Mint Guest experimentation with VirtualBox and am reasonably comfortable with it, but I don’t want to get way down the line with my further experimentation only to find out that some other VM hypervisor is far preferable for use under Mint.  Is there a “best,” or is it just a case of using whichever you’re comfortable with?

      B)    In order to preserve access to past emails created/stored in Outlook within W7 when subsequently using Thunderbird within Mint, will I need to allow for reloading Outlook into the W7 VM in my wife’s future Mint Host business desktop, or can past Outlook emails be successfully transferred into Linux Mint and retrieved within Mint by Thunderbird?  From what I’ve read so far, I think it’s the latter, but I’d appreciate confirmation from those with experience in doing this.  The answer will have a significant effect on my planning for this conversion.

      Again, many thanks to you all.  I really appreciate your wealth of knowledge and experience, and especially your willingness to share it.

      Cheers,
      HH33

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  HH33.
      • #209533 Reply

        zero2dash
        AskWoody Lounger

        The other popular Hypervisor under Linux is QEMU, but I have no experience with it.
        I would say most people use VirtualBox.

        In my case, I will most likely do a reversal and run a Win7 host and an Ubuntu MATE guest past 2020, if it gets to that point. As long as browsers and AV are updated and supported in Win7, I don’t care at all about MS’ 2020 expiration. But, my reason for doing so is because only 1/3 of my Steam library has been ported to Linux, so, I have to have a Windows box for games. Everything else, I could do now in Ubuntu MATE. (My preferred distro after using about 15 of them.)

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #209571 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Lounger

          zero2dash: Thank you for this comment. Because it is also a helpful suggestion of how to continue using Windows 7 after New Year’s Day 2020. The FF family of browsers, including WF and PM, as well as Chrome, are likely, I think, to still be patched for as long as they are around, unlike, perhaps, IE11. The anti virus software is more of an open question, however. Some research might be needed, when the time comes, to find one that still works with Win 7, but probably one will be found, as I would expect that there will be a considerable demand for it for quite some time after the end of MS support for Win 7.

        • #209579 Reply

          JohnW
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have a Win 7 computer that I plan to leave running past 2020.  Like yours it’s primarily used for games and entertainment via Steam, GOG Galaxy, and others, and lives next to the TV in the living room.  That OS requires direct access to the nVidia gaming GPU hardware, it’s not a good candidate for VM use.  Since I don’t have any personal info on that box, or use it for any personal or confidential communications, I’m not really concerned about security or privacy.  It is already setup to take a scheduled image once a week, so if it gets compromised, I’ll just restore an image.

          For secure communication, I’ll just use another device.

        • #209618 Reply

          HH33
          AskWoody Lounger

          In my case, I will most likely do a reversal and run a Win7 host and an Ubuntu MATE guest past 2020, if it gets to that point. As long as browsers and AV are updated and supported in Win7, I don’t care at all about MS’ 2020 expiration.

          @zero2dash, I’d much prefer to do just that, to stay with W7 and avoid the hassle of converting to Linux, but our W7 machines are used for business, so we don’t want to risk using W7 after its EOL date when it will no longer receive security updates.  I have similar concerns regarding Microsoft Security Essentials, the anti-malware program we’ve been using for years on all our W7 machines with excellent results.

          Then too, we have the additional concerns regarding the “malware” introduced, however unintentionally, in the form of patches provided by the incompetent mess which W7’s patching regime has become.

          My hope in planning our transition to Linux was to find a way to regain the relative privacy, security, and good patching function that W7 used to have.  W10 is clearly not the answer, but if anyone can offer a way to use W7 securely after its EOL date, I’d love to know more about it.

          • #209620 Reply

            JohnW
            AskWoody Lounger

            After D-Day 2020, lock Windows 7 down and keep it off the net.  I have had to do the same with Windows XP in my environment.  That is truly the only way to securely run an OS after EOL date.  Confining it to an offline VM is a fairly reasonable compromise.

            To be fair, I do not see any problem with using Windows 10 in a business context, as long as you have a solid backup/imaging process (disaster recovery) in place to recover from any MS update induced malfunctions.  However, I do understand the reluctance of many to use it for personal computing, due to the telemetry and collection of metadata.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #209628 Reply

              HH33
              AskWoody Lounger

              After D-Day 2020, lock Windows 7 down and keep it off the net.  I have had to do the same with Windows XP in my environment.  That is truly the only way to securely run an OS after EOL date.  Confining it to an offline VM is a fairly reasonable compromise.

              That was essentially my plan, locking down W7 as a VM within Linux Mint.  As to W10, not only is the privacy issue huge, but I have a real problem with Microsoft arbitrarily changing my OS whenever they please, adding unwanted features, deleting others which are desired, installing dysfunctional patches, and generally mucking up our machines without warning or possibility of our opting out.  I realize that others may be comfortable with W10 privacy intrusions and MS’s management of that OS, but absent any significant change in those issues, I don’t think W10 is for us.

              Cheers.

    • #209527 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      If Oracle VirtualBox is meeting your needs, and if you are familiar with it, I suggest you stick with it. It is public domain, and it is supported by an active user base.

      I use VMWare Workstation Player, the free version of Workstation Pro. There is always the risk that VMWare will limit or pull the free version. (I am hopeful that they won’t.) Having said that, I really like VMWare Workstation Player. It is solid — it works very well.

      I have never given Oracle VirtualBox a fair shake, so I can’t comment on it.

      As for transferring your emails: If all you want to transfer is the emails (not the contact list, calendar, etc), then it is child’s play:
      1) Set up your email as IMAP (if it isn’t already set up that way).
      2) Create a new email profile as IMAP in your Linux Mint email program.
      3) ALL of your email will magically show up in your Linux Mint email program!
      4) If there is any other email that you want to move, such as in your local email folders, move that email into one of your online (IMAP) email folders. It will then automatically show up in your Linux Mint email program.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #209621 Reply

        HH33
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks for that IMAP idea, Jim.  It’s a good idea, but to do that in our case I have two obstacles to overcome.

        First, the main Outlook PST file on my wife’s machine is currently at 10.7GB and growing, so that won’t fit into the email storage of any email provider I know.  I can (and will) eventually take care of that when the time comes by archiving most of that 10.7GB for her and shrinking her main PST to a more manageable and healthy size.

        However, the second issue, which will be extremely difficult to overcome, is my gut-level mistrust of leaving all her/our email data on a remote server under someone else’s control.  Call me out-of-date or old-fashioned, but the potential for problems with security, privacy, and potential loss or denial of access would eat away my stomach lining.  Though POP3 may perhaps be considered by some to be a relic of earlier times when most users only had one device, having our emails safely in our local possession and carefully preserved in regular off-premises backups just lets us sleep better!

        • #209629 Reply

          JohnW
          AskWoody Lounger

          You can use IMAP, and still keep local mail folders on your PC with copies of all your mail, if you use a local mail client to store them.  The IMAP protocol just makes it easier to keep everything in sync through the “cloud”.

          For example, I use Thunderbird as my locally installed mail client.  In the account settings for each mail account I can define “Copies and Folders” and “Local Folders” etc.  Everything I send or receive can be stored locally, with the added convenience of being able to access any message, anywhere.  So I have a built-in backup for everything on the remote server.  🙂

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #209649 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          Move a little bit of email at a time into the online folders; then go to the target computer and move the email to the local folders.

          By doing a little bit at a time, only a little bit will be on the server at any given time.

          And you can leave it in the local folders in your target computer, thereby helping to satisfy your privacy concerns.

          Whenever any new mail comes in, decide which computer you want to keep it on, and then move it into the local folders on that computer. That will keep it offline and private.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #209659 Reply

            JohnW
            AskWoody Lounger

            Just to add you can use local folders automatically with IMAP for routine use, so that all mail is automatically stored locally as it is sent/received over IMAP.  In that way, no need to ever move anything, unless you are migrating computers as was being discussed here.   But manually moving mail folders is only a one time requirement, as once it is set up you are good to go with saving everything locally.

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    • #209544 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Oracle VirtualBox (VBox) meets my needs, but I have used both that and VMware Player.  I agree with Jim that if you are already familiar with one, stick with it.

      The thing that I like most about VBox is that it’s free and open source, so you get the full featured program for free.  So you have access to everything under the hood from the start.  But with all that power, VBox can get a bit techy at times, so you may have to lurk on their forums in order to resolve issues or get answers to questions that sometimes come up.  https://forums.virtualbox.org/

      I would say that the VMWare Player may be the easiest for first timers to the VM world to get started with.  I didn’t see much difference in actually launching and using VMs under either one.  It’s the setup and file management that would be the biggest difference between VMWare Player and VBox, and you have limited options with the Player, so that keeps it simpler.

      It was mentioned earlier that the P2V conversion tool from VMWare only creates a VM file format that is native to VMWare, so that may be a consideration if you are not into manually importing that and configuring settings in VBox.

      I remember an update to VBox a couple years ago related to security hardening that stopped VMs from launching.  I was able to move to VMWare for a while until I got that sorted out.  So it may be good to have a plan “B”.  🙂

       

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      • #209622 Reply

        HH33
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks, John; that’s all really helpful information.  In the absence of any convincing information to the contrary, I think I’ll just stay with what I (sort of) know and keep using VirtualBox.

    • #209549 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      As for transferring your emails: If all you want to transfer is the emails (not the contact list, calendar, etc), then it is child’s play: 1) Set up your email as IMAP (if it isn’t already set up that way). 2) Create a new email profile as IMAP in your Linux Mint email program. 3) ALL of your email will magically show up in your Linux Mint email program! 4) If there is any other email that you want to move, such as in your local email folders, move that email into one of your online (IMAP) email folders. It will then automatically show up in your Linux Mint email program.

      Jim, that’s a good tip on migrating email via IMAP.  I use IMAP for all my current email accounts, and my email just appears everywhere I sign on to my IMAP accounts.  Via webmail, Thunderbird, Android, etc.  I love the nearly instant synchronization, including all sent mail, etc.

      I never used Outlook for personal email on the home computer, just Outlook Express (local storage), and everything on server was accessed via legacy POP/SMTP protocols.  But when Microsoft decided to retire Outlook Express with Win 7, I switched my email archives (many years worth) over to Windows Live Mail (local storage).  That was a major pain.  But since I took that opportunity to move to a new email provider via IMAP for everything, it is easy street now!  🙂

       

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      • #209556 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        …and if you have too much email to fit into your online mailbox (the one limitation with IMAP), you can move some emails to local folders, getting them out of your online folders.

        I have even used Thunderbird as an ad-hoc network for my home computers, to move files from one computer to another:
        * Open Thunderbird on each computer (with at least one email account setup as IMAP).
        * Using an IMAP account, create a new email on the computer which has the file you want to move.
        * Attach the file you want to move to that new email.
        * Save the email as a draft.
        * Accessing that same IMAP account, open up that same draft email on the computer you want to move the file to.
        * Save the attachment.

        With some distros of Linux, I haven’t been able to access my shared network drive. The Thunderbird IMAP “network” gave me an easy way to transfer files to and from the computer which couldn’t access the shared drive.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #209690 Reply

          HH33
          AskWoody Lounger

          Interesting idea; I’d never thought of doing that with Thunderbird.  I might try it sometime, just out of interest to see how it works.

          I have to say, though, that I’m rather addicted to Dukto (Windows, Linux, Android, Mac), which does an absolutely sweet job of transferring files or folders between all sorts of devices on the same network.  In my experience, it is extremely simple, very fast, and just works like a charm………which, come to think of it, is an excellent summary of the desirable characteristics of good software! 😉

          • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  HH33.
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    • #209689 Reply

      HH33
      AskWoody Lounger

      The IMAP protocol just makes it easier to keep everything in sync through the “cloud”.

      I agree wholeheartedly, but it’s just that in our case we have little or no use for the “cloud.” Other than a few documents kept in Dropbox for occasional remote access on mobile devices, all our business and personal emails and documents reside on our desktop W7 machines in our home office.  If we need to check incoming emails or send one while traveling, we can use either our phones or webmail.

      I realize that for many individuals and businesses, having all stored emails synced to mobile phones, laptops, or tablets can be a great benefit, but for us all those stored emails would just unnecessarily take up space on our mobile devices and create a security worry if such a mobile device were to be lost or stolen.  Nevertheless, I agree that your IMAP setup does indeed create a tidy backup arrangement for emails on a remote server. 🙂

      • #209714 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        I think the interpretation of the word “cloud” here in incorrect, probably misused by me.

        I merely meant it as a popular buzzword which actually means ‘remote server”, and used the cloud context to mean it was available to you from anywhere. Cloud computing is really a new version of the server room, or mainframe computer, where the computing power has been virtualized. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

        Whether and how they are actually using modern cloud technologies is up to the provider, but they would be using the same remote servers with either POP or IMAP.  That is just a protocol difference.  No inherent difference in risk, but probably with enhanced reliability.

        Your legacy email uses a remote server to store you mail as well.  That is why you can access it from Outlook via POP, or from webmail via a browser.

        And using IMAP takes no extra local storage on your local device, unless you specifically configure it to do so.  I leave the messages on the mail server, and make a copy (automatic)  only on my desktop machine.  That way I have a local backup copy, yet can continue to access them via webmail, etc.

    • #209894 Reply

      HH33
      AskWoody Lounger

      I think the interpretation of the word “cloud” here in incorrect, probably misused by me. I merely meant it as a popular buzzword which actually means ‘remote server”, and used the cloud context to mean it was available to you from anywhere.

      Thanks, John.  I appreciate your clarification, but I took your use of “cloud” in the “available to you from anywhere” sense.

      As an aside, in a moment of reflection it occurred to me that much (most?) of this angst and discussion about how to escape from Windows to the relative peace and safety of Linux would likely never have occurred, had Microsoft not changed Windows from being a product purchased, owned, and essentially managed by the users as they wished, and morphed it into a privacy-invading service under the control of the “central planners” in MS who know nothing about the individual computing requirements or preferences of those individual users.  Who knows, perhaps it’s an interesting metaphor for the times we live in.

      Oh, well, enough of the musings.  My profound thanks to you and to all who have so kindly responded to my questions.  I’ll have more, no doubt, as my research progresses, but at the moment, my brain is full! 🙂

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #209898 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      As an aside, in a moment of reflection it occurred to me that much (most?) of this angst and discussion about how to escape from Windows to the relative peace and safety of Linux would likely never have occurred, had Microsoft not changed Windows from being a product purchased, owned, and essentially managed by the users as they wished, and morphed it into a privacy-invading service under the control of the “central planners” in MS who know nothing about the individual computing requirements or preferences of those individual users. Who knows, perhaps it’s an interesting metaphor for the times we live in. 

      I believe that pretty well sums up how many of us feel.  I have spent several decades in the IT field, since before the PC and internet days (before the ascendance of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates), and have watched how this scene has evolved.

      Technology now has a price tag attached, either your $$, or your information.  I don’t think that law has adequately caught up to the privacy issues created by the pace of tech evolution.

      I have basically concluded that the only stronghold of individual liberty and choice for IT end users is now within the ranks of the free and open source software community.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t use commercial solutions if they meet my needs, but I will do so with eyes wide open, and keep all personal information locked away.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #210210 Reply

        HH33
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have basically concluded that the only stronghold of individual liberty and choice for IT end users is now within the ranks of the free and open source software community.

        Well said; I couldn’t agree more.  However, FOSS only helps to preserve one aspect of individual liberty, our freedom to set up and operate our computers with software we choose, for functions we value, without commercial or governmental interests interfering.  A second aspect is our freedom to maintain our individual privacy, though that may be partially included as a subset of the above in the form of encryption software we may choose to employ.

        It seems to me that the other major aspect of individual liberty for IT end users relates to the Internet.  Our freedom to post, view, read, and debate whatever we wish on the Internet is under threat from those who think they know better than we do what is right, proper, and good for us to say, see, or know.  I seem to remember reading something a few years ago about a nascent project that was working to come up with a design for a new version of the Internet (“Internet 2.0”?), with the idea being, if I remember correctly, to have it so decentralized that it couldn’t be regulated or controlled by any governmental or corporate entities.

        I haven’t heard anything more about it since, but, unfortunately, until a way is found to preserve our freedom of expression and information exchange with each other, even the many excellent benefits of Linux and FOSS will only take us part of the way to preserving “individual liberty and choice for IT end users.”  If anyone has more current knowledge of this project (or others similar), it would be good to start a thread or general topic division regarding the progress of such a decentralized and deregulated replacement for the current Internet.

        Many thanks for your thought-provoking post. 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #210134 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Try running the VMware hypervisor directly on your hardware – it’s free. If it works you will have better performance, but management is via a 2nd machine.
      https://www.vmware.com/uk/products/vsphere-hypervisor.html

      cheers, Paul

      2 users thanked author for this post.

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