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Virtual machine (?) recommendations

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Hi, I have this problem at work that I'd like some help with. We have a suite of tests that test your changes didn't break anything. The problem is that these tests often bring up windows and steal focus, so I can't easily work on other things. I need a way to run the tests without all the focus stealing windows. I suspect that I need to run the tests on a virtual machine or something. But I don't really know the ins and outs of virtual machines so maybe someone here can enlighten me. Also, I have no control over the testing framework, so any suggestions about changes to the framework won't help. And the platform is winxp. Cheers!

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As long as you don't need hardware accelerated graphics or sound then two free solutions would be VirtualBox or Microsoft's Virtual PC. I personally prefer VirtualBox for most purposes. If you need hardware accelerated graphics, then VirtualBox has limited support, but can be kind of flaky.

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Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
As long as you don't need hardware accelerated graphics or sound then two free solutions would be VirtualBox or Microsoft's Virtual PC. I personally prefer VirtualBox for most purposes. If you need hardware accelerated graphics, then VirtualBox has limited support, but can be kind of flaky.


Thanks a lot! I'll give those a try and see how I get on.

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Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
As long as you don't need hardware accelerated graphics or sound then two free solutions would be VirtualBox or Microsoft's Virtual PC. I personally prefer VirtualBox for most purposes. If you need hardware accelerated graphics, then VirtualBox has limited support, but can be kind of flaky.


Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
As long as you don't need hardware accelerated graphics or sound then two free solutions would be VirtualBox or Microsoft's Virtual PC. I personally prefer VirtualBox for most purposes. If you need hardware accelerated graphics, then VirtualBox has limited support, but can be kind of flaky.


VirtualBox has experimental 3D acceleration support (Supporting DX8 and DX9 pretty strongly).

Also, VBox does support sound. I'd say VirtualBox or VMWare should be your top two choices to choose from, OP.

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Haven't use VirtualPC since I discovered VirtualBox.
Like 100x better although as mentioned 3D support is iffy. OpenGL seems to work better than DirectX anyways. OpenGL up to 2.0.
One thing to watch out for is to stick with a version of VirtualBox that works good for you and not to rush into upgrading to the latest version they put out since they update pretty often. The reason not to upgrade too quick is that I've found more than once that they break something that worked in a previous release. For example 3.08 didn't work too good with Vista and Win7 using more than one core but that seems to be fixed in latest 3.0.10 version.
VMWare is the other major virtualization software I know of although I can't say much about it since I"ve never used it since even their basic install and setup process is pretty complex.

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I've tried VMWare and Virtual PC, and of the two I would choose Virtual PC. VMWare is a real PITA to set up, it has about four processes that run as services (and hence run all of the time, even when you're not using a VM) and it's interface (which is web-based) is pretty clunky. I also have this problem where, if I'm running a VM for a while, it just seems to disappear - can't connect, can't start/stop it, can't even telnet to it - I've got to restart all of those services I mentioned to get it back.

Virtual PC on the other hand, is no-nonsense, double-click-your-VM-file-to-start and pretty damn fast as well. The only problem with Virtual PC is it's support for non-Windows guest OSes is pretty lax.

Though after what these guys are saying, I'm going to try out VirtualBox now, too...

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Original post by Codeka
I've tried VMWare and Virtual PC, and of the two I would choose Virtual PC. VMWare is a real PITA to set up, it has about four processes that run as services (and hence run all of the time, even when you're not using a VM) and it's interface (which is web-based) is pretty clunky.
That's the Server version of VMWare though. Workstation is quite a lot nicer, I've found...nicer than VPC IMO.

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Original post by Promit
Quote:
Original post by Codeka
I've tried VMWare and Virtual PC, and of the two I would choose Virtual PC. VMWare is a real PITA to set up, it has about four processes that run as services (and hence run all of the time, even when you're not using a VM) and it's interface (which is web-based) is pretty clunky.
That's the Server version of VMWare though. Workstation is quite a lot nicer, I've found...nicer than VPC IMO.

Well the workstation version is supposed to be popular with programmers due to Visual Studio integration according to this article:
"Workstation already integrates with Microsoft's Visual Studio tools to allow programmers to set up virtual environments across operating systems running in different virtual machines."
Also the newest version also has better 3D support:
"VMware says that it has optimized performance when running atop 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 hosts, particularly interfacing with the 3D elements of the Aero interface for Windows 7 and DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1"


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Having used both VirtualPC and VMWare at work, I've now just installed VirtualBox at home (thanks to this thread as I had never heard of it before). So far I'm reasonably satisfied with it.
I think either of the three are okay really.

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