SUN VirtualBox

sunpcSUN has a free virtualization platform called SUN VirtualBox, so whats new in that you might wander – many companies offer virtualization these days!?  The cool thing here is the word “Free” and lets add “Fast” to make it interesting, the solution is not only free it’s also fast and even somewhat compatible with Microsofts virtual pc format (it can import a .VHD file and start it without much hassle).

So if you are into a free, fast and quite well working Virtualization solution then take a look at “VirtualBox” from SUN.

http://www.virtualbox.org

Source;  I heard this ‘tip’ on the Windows Weekly podcast at Twit.

VmWare – Disklimit reached

With monster applications like Office 2007 (and updates) installed on my VmWare machine  my 12gb virtual hdd quickly became a tad to small, and how do you expand a VmWare harddisk (well not from the GUI, which to me seem quite lame but true never the less)!?

Well a guy called Alexey Vasilyev was kind enough to write a simple 4 step guide, which I even managed to cut a few steps off..

Anyway, here it is enjoy;
http://www.vmweekly.com/articles/expanding_the_virtual_disk_size_in_4_steps/1/

PDF version;
http://www.vmweekly.com/pdf/expanding_the_virtual_disk_size_in_4_steps.pdf

Hosted Exchange $9 a month.

free_30days_banner-transJust heard about this in a webcast this morning, and thought I might share it with you all.

In case you are just dying to get your hands on the exchage functionality (you get Outlook 2007 included) but dont want to install and run the server yourself, then this may be worth checking out;
https://www.dnamail.com/Services/Exchange/Default.aspx

SandboxIE a virtual sandbox for all your applications

sandboxieYou must have heard of virtual machines and virtual software (Softgrid and ThinApp former Thinstall) these solutions are really cool and offer a lot in security and ease, however they are not really good for adhoc projects.

Say you need to test a new application but are not sure you want to keep it, well you can fire up a virtual machine and install the software here, however fireing up a virtual machine takes time, memory and ressources so in other words its not ‘easy’ and convient.  Well a little known program takes care of this, SandboxIE, with this baby you can download your application and just right click on it and say run sandboxed.

So how does it work, well its quite ingenious actually. The software will create a “sandbox” for the application (could be anything – a single exe file – Microsoft office or an installation software) anything this software does is written in the sandbox and NOT in your filesystem (both filesystem and registry are sandboxed), however the software can READ anything on your filesystem/registry – the software thus does not know its sandboxed it will preform just as it would in real world.  You can even browse the sandbox and see what files are installed and where (or what changes would be made by the software).

SandboxIE has buildin support for internet browsing security, hence you will by default have a shortcut for launching your Internet browser in a sandboxed environment, this is really cool as if will offer you a VERY high level of security when browsing – any evil stuff you stumble across during your browsing can be undone (activex components installed, Google-Yahoo-Live toolbar, trojans installed).

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What are the applications of this software?

  • Security for one, you can now safely run an application (suspected spyware etc) and the changes it makes are NOT permanent, you can simply empty the sandbox afterwards.
  • Installation tests, say you are installing new software but need to figure out which settings etc are right, well now you can install the same software as many times as you like.
  • Launch your internet browser in a sandbox, none of the trojans and evil scripts on the net can harm your windows installation – any evil stuff installed (including Google Toolbar etc) can be undone by clearing your sandbox.

A word of caution though, even though the software can NOT write to your filesystem it can still read everything on it (registry and files), thus if we are talking spyware or the likes it can still read your confidential information, also spyware/trojans installed while you browse may compromise your privacy even though they cant do permanent damage to your system.

SandboxIE is very easy to get started with, but offers very complex configuration.  If you are interested in or use Virtual Machines of software virtualization you should really check this our, but also if you are concerned with security while you browse the net.

You get a free 30 day trial and then the price is 22€ (well worth its price).
Download and get all the details here; http://www.sandboxie.com/

Get a great podcast intro to SandboxIE here

Hyper-V from Microsoft ready for Download

And finaly its here, Hyper-V from Microsoft can now be downloaded free of charge;
http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/how-to-get.mspx

For those of you, who have no clue what this is, well you are not likely to need it (if you have not heard about it) 🙂  but anyway, it’s like the VM-Ware ESX server – a new stand alone virtual server platform from Microsoft.

Sadly I don’t have the hardware to try it right now 🙁  Maybe it will run as a virtual instance on my VM-Ware Server *lol*

Read the “how-to’s” here;
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=26426203-de3c-4d74-851e-4e1388a81d5f&DisplayLang=en

Windows Fundamentals (Reduced Win XP)

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I don’t quite know how, but this one managed to escape my attention until now (it was launched in 2006). Anyhow I just read about this while reading about the Asus Eee PC.

It would seem that there exist a reduced/limited Windows XP version for deployment to older pc’s and other equipment with reduced/outdated hardware (ram cpu etc). It should be able to run on 233mhz pc’s with as little as 64mb ram. Nice 🙂  also useful for the odd virtual PC.

It however require a SA license with Microsoft which makes the whole thing less interesting for home users. A shame as there is many old laptops lying around that would work fine for simple browsing etc.

Take a look here;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Fundamentals_for_Legacy_PCs

http://tonysblog.real-family.com/2006/09/windows-fundamentals-for-legacy-pcs.html

http://bink.nu/news/microsoft-windows-xp-fundamentals-for-legacy-pcs-screenshots.aspx

Adobe AIR

get_adobe_air.pngVirtualization now cross platform 

Adobe has taken application virtualization one step further than Softgrid/Thinstall, now you can use the web aware Adobe Air applications on any compatible platform (basically any web-able os).

Its an interesting idea that surely will appeal to many web-service providers. 

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Link

VMware acquire Thinstall

Nice, Microsoft is about to get some healthy competition to their Softgrid software virtualization.  VMware just bought Thinstall, for those of you who have no experience with Softgrid / Thininstall the brief description of what is is all about would be something like this;  Software virtualization is more or less the same as VMware Server / Microsoft Virtual Server is to OS virtualization, it allow you to run an application without installing it and without polluting the host os with registry entries and config files stored all over, an other cool thing is it will allow you to eg. install Office 2000, 2003 and 2007 all at the same time.. 

Goto http://www.vmware.com/whatsnew/thinstall.html to watch a demo or try http://www.thinstall.com/.  Thinstall has the upper hand over Microsoft as Thininstall does not require client software to be installed in order to use a virtual application, Thinstall also include the option to create .msi files (just as softgrid).

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Visual tour; http://www.thinstall.com/demos/intro_dec11/
Very cool, and pice of pie… thrust me….