A little VM trick

My first client working at Blue bean wanted me to dev on Windows, unfortunately I’d already wiped the fancy new machine that I got when I joined up and installed Manjaro Linux, which is Arch Linux for newbies.

I was a little freaked out when I discovered this ‘cos this was my first client and I wanted to impress everyone with what kind of fancy developer I am, and I’d already gone and stripped Windows off and I didn’t want to have to pay for a new copy of Windows just so I could support this client. I especially didn’t want to look like an eejit on day one of the job.

So after a bit of judicious googling I found out that you can install Windows legally on a VM. I chose QEMU/KVM as my hypervisor, installed Windows and Bob was my uncle. Bob is every Zimbo’s creepy uncle anyway. Moving on…

Installing Windows on a VM brought me some immediate benefits:

  • All of the client’s code is isolated completely on my Blue Bean machine from anything else that I do. This is good for the client and good for me. If I want to guarantee that I don’t have anything left of the client’s on the machine all I have to do is delete the VM and the storage.
  • I don’t have to deal with Windows and their horrible things that they do to users (like forced updates and trying to force you to use Edge) most of the time. Even if the Windows VM announces that it’s gonna update and tells me to get lost I can still be productive doing other stuff.

Then I realised that this trick will apply to any client – I can just set up a VM for them and do all dev work in the guest OS, even if it’s not Windows. It’s pretty nifty 🙂

Anyway, for what it’s worth that’s my unoriginal little VM trick. Below are some more useful links and whatnot should you wish to get a Windows VM setup going.

  • The Windows security key is stored somewhere permanent on your machine and (at least on Manjaro) there’s a command for finding out what it is:
    $ sudo tail -c +56 /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM
  • You can run Windows in a VM perfectly legally. The main thing is that you must make sure that you do not simultaneously run two copies of Windows with the same key – i.e. if you had a physical install you must wipe it to be legal. Legal stuff is up to you to check if you’re compliant though – just ‘cos you see a blog post doesn’t make it so.
  • You need to download a Windows ISO to get something that you can install Windows from.

For further reading look here

So the next step was to choose a hypervisor. A hypervisor is like a host program thingy whatsit for your VMs. There are a few major ones, the free and opensource ones are VirtualBox and KVM.

  • VirtualBox is owned and maintained by Oracle. I don’t know much about it, but Wikipedia says that there are restrictions on using the software commercially.
  • KVM is part of Linux (kernel versions more recent than 2.6.20) so it’s already on Linux, it’s part of Linux and it’s blazing fast. Nuff said as far as I’m concerned.

There’s one further thing, to set up a VM on KVM you need QEMU, which is an emulator. how much does ivermectin cost in mexico There are a ton of blog posts around the internet for how to set up virtual machines on Manjaro with QEMU / KVM, I won’t go into it too much further. You may also need Spice which is extensions to allow file copying and so forth between host and guest OS, although… I can’t seem to get mine working for anything other than copying and pasting strings.

There was one more gotcha though, after successfully installing Windows on a VM using the key I extracted, the VM started reporting that it was not legally registered. I googled around for a bit and eventually phoned Microsoft support who were able to sort out the issue, so if your VM does the same, just call support. ivermectin dosage in ml

About the Author

I’ve got some experience writing code. I run quite a lot. The last book I read was about Gavrilo Princip. There’s about to be a thunderstorm here. Here is Johannesburg, South Africa. There is another Johannesburg in the USA. I know how to make chocolate sauce.