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PCSTATS TechTip - Testing the waters with new Windows Operating Systems - PCSTATS.com PCSTATS TechTip - Testing the waters with new Windows Operating Systems
Thu, Feb 06 2014 | 6:56AM | Filed under: Tips| PermaLink Posted by: STAFF

When Microsoft releases a new version of Windows for everyone to try out, there's a right way and time consuming way to test the waters. Nowadays you don't need a spare computer for this, virtualization takes care of everything. Any recent CPU should support Virtualization; meaning another virtual OS can be run within Windows 7 as you would a program or Remote Desktop Connect. Normally we'd turn to 'Windows Virtual PC', but for the love of Kafka... Windows' own Virtualization client is incompatible with newer Windows operating systems. Oh MSFT...

Oracle comes to the rescue with virtualization software that works, so we downloaded 'VirtualBox 4.1.8' (virtualbox.org) and installed it. To install a new version of Windows you'll need the Windows ISO file, ~20GB free drive space and minimum 2GB RAM in your PC as half the RAM will be allocated to the Virtualized OS when running. First, download the Windows .ISO from Microsoft...

Install VirtualBox and launch the program. Create a new Vitual Machine named "NewWin", then set the memory to '1024MB' and 'Create new hard disk', choose 'VDI (virtualbox disk image' that is 'Dynamically Allocated'. The default setting of '20GB' should be sufficient drive space.

The easiest way to install a new version of Windows onto your Virtual system is directly from the .ISO Microsoft lets you download (there's no need to burn it to DVD-R). In Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager, right click on the NewWinP virtual system you just created > Settings > Storage > under the heading IDE Controller click on 'Empty' > click on the little CD icon by 'Attributes' > 'Choose a virtual CD/DVD file..." > navigate to where you stored the .iso file and open that file. Finally, click 'Ok'.

Now, back in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager go to > System > processor > extended Features and check 'Enable PAE/NX'... and that's it!

To start, right click on NewWin > Start. If you get Error 0x0000260, it means your processor doesn't support 'Physical Address Extension with No Execute bit enabled (PAE-NX)' and none of this will work for you, unfortunately. Otherwise, the NewWin installation should proceed as normal. The first time starting up will require about 2-3 automatic reboots of the virtual PC. After this you'll need to log in with your Hotmail details.

Once the new version of Windows boots to the desktop you'll be presented with the totally new user interface; it will take a bit of learning to get used to it. Navigation is very difficult and I guarantee you will get so bloody frustrated with the new UI you'll want to toss the PC out the window. Pun intended.

If you get lost in escape-less app screens, 'Ctrl-alt-Del' will bring up Task Manager and a way out. To do this, from the VirtualBox Window > go to Machine > Insert "CTRL-alt-Del".

Let us know what you think of this Tech Tip!

Finding the right software program to clone a hard drive is one thing, but how about cloning Microsoft WindowsXP and the rest of a computer in one go? This guide to Cloning an Operating System explains all the steps involved. - PCSTATS Tips

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