Random thoughts from an unusual company

Pick a VM, any VM

Tim Davis  22 October 2009 14:00:00
Gab and I have been having fun with setting up WIndows 7 in a Fusion VM, which hasn't been too bad.

Personally, I am liking Windows 7. I never bothered installing Vista and have been using XP all this time. It always amused me on the boot screen to see the copyright notice dated 2000.

Playing with 7, it seems to me that they have taken Vista and opened it back up, so it behaves like XP again, but with the nicer UI and an underlying OS you can have confidence in. I am also hoping my games will run faster. (I'm sure they said Vista made games run faster, or am I misremembering all the Vista propaganda?)

What I also took the opportunity to do was to revamp my VM set. I had a main XP VM for general work, plus a Boot Camp install for my Windows games (such as Oblivion, Assassin's Creed, Silent Hill Homecoming, Tomb Raider Underworld, Resident Evil 4, etc).

The boot camp install got flattened and rebuilt in Windows 7. It is nice in Boot Camp because you get all the Aero effects. I do launch it in Fusion so I can copy stuff back and forth, and also install the games even if I can't play them.

I also built a brand new Windows 7 VM which will be my new general work VM. This will have Domino Designer, Administrator, the RIM BlackBerry Java Development Environments, etc. All the Windows-only stuff I need. I'll hang on to my previous XP VM until I'm sure I don't need anything in it.

With the recent bias in my workload towards web development, I have found my test bed solution to be inefficient. Previously, I had different browser versions in my main VM, in Boot Camp, and on shared workstations in the Office which I VNC into for testing. With my new MacBook Pro I have loads of disk space, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to put my test beds on my own machine, in VMs.

I created two new small XP VMs (using the two licenses freed up from my previous boot camp and XP VM). One I kept with IE6, and the other I upgraded to IE7. (My Windows 7 VM has IE8). With these kept suspended, I should be able to wake them up to do any version-specific testing I need. Running more than one VM at a time is a bit draining, but I think the flexibility will more than outweigh this.

So right now I have five VMs: Windows 7, Boot Camp, XP IE6, XP IE7 and the old XP VM.

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