REXX, SPF, Internet drafts

2011-06-25

Firefox 5 in W2K under windows 7 x64

Now that is really something new (for me) in Windows 7 x64:

What you see is the bottom of a 1152×768 virtual Windows 2000 SP4 desktop with quick links for Firefox 5, IE6, KeditW 1.6, etc.  The host system is a Windows 7 x64 SP1 home premium Sony VAIO (1600×900, ATI mobile Radeon catalyst 11.6).  Sadly XP mode is not supported for home premium, or rather, I couldn't test a manual XP activation, because I have no XP license key.

Some invisible details:

  • VPC does not really work for guests older than XP SP3, you have to install the virtual machine additions 2004.
  • Virtual PC guy posted a picture of the real network card virtualized in VPC for up to four networks.  For my purposes "internal NAT" allows me to share an existing mobile broadband WWAN connection.  This is not the VPC default, change it in the VM settings while the VM is not running — hibernating might be good enough.
  • Without the VPC integration features I found yet no simple way to exchange guest and host files (including simple things like the clipboard), WebDAV on a remote hoster clearly doesn't qualify as simple.
  • Using virtual floppies (VFD) is a major pain with Windows 7 VPC, but once you have attached a VFD to a VM it sticks.  You can even format the VFD.
  • I didn't know how to "capture" (if that's the correct term) a W2K VHD from a genuine system, and used a public VHD.  That beast required a lot of work (tons of missing updates, removal of obscure "bars" installed by the publisher, adding A/V-software, full scan with the latest MSRT, Firefox, Flash, Silverlight, 7Zip, XnView, DirectX, Secunia PSI 1.5x, etc.).
  • Just in case: Yes, WU still works for W2K — only up to June, 2010 for OS + IE6 updates, but still for any MS Office stuff.  Sadly the still working monthly MSRT requires manual downloads.  Avira announced that they'll stop to support Avira A/V Personal 10 under W2K in July 2011, which is kind of stupid: Anything better than W2K can and IMO should use MSE.
  • Somewhat unrelated, normally you cannot get ATI Catalyst 11.6 for Sony VAIO from AMD, but I found an unrestricted official download link in an obscure forum.  Same procedure as for direct Flash AX downloads without Adobe's GetPlusPlus malAdware.
  • The latest Intel PIU fails to install under W2K, and an older version (working for W2K) died with an obscure error in VPC.  FWIW installing DirectX 9 in the virtual W2K worked, but of course there isn't much to accelerate in a VPC.  My real W2K is far slower than the virtual W2K: The real box has 256 MB RAM, the virtual box has 512 MB, and the windows 7 host has about 3950 MB.
  • Sometimes the virtual W2K hangs and needs a hard reset (= close VM).  I'm not sure when this started, among my suspects are Firefox 5, Avira Personal 10, and Secunia PSI 1.5x.  It's also possible that my (failed) attempts to install the VPC integration features, or my inconclusive attempts to install the VPC 2007 VMA screwed up the VHD.  There is a suspicious unknown device in the device manager, claiming to be working, and using IRQ7 — is this some kind of time synchronization?  To break out of a restart hanging VM loop modify the VM settings to "unconditional close" or "always ask".  Normally I'd prefer "auto-hibernate on close", but that doesn't help if the VM hangs.
  • While a VHD is not running or hibernating it is relatively simple to mount it as a virtual disk in Windows 7.  Unmounting can be slightly tricky, but it's necessary to start any VM using the VHD.
  • Having fun with VMs I stumbled over a simple VFD-driver and virtual CD control panel for Windows x86 platforms.  Check out Elby Clonedrive for serious virtual CD applications.  Apparently the MS XP virtual CD controlpanel 21 works also under W2K.
  • At some point in time I'll have to grok the diskpart manual — it would be nice to associate .vhd with a simple attach/detach (mount or unmount) script without going to a command line or the device manager.

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