VirtualBox + Windows XP + Classic Games?

Hexa Fox

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Hey guys I just downloaded VirtualBox and just learning how virtual workstations operate in general. I think it is a cool concept so want would like to experiment with it a little bit. However, as I mentioned I am not thoroughly educated on the subject.

I have a couple old games that I can no longer modify to work with the latest versions of Windows. I thinking maybe I could get them to run by loading Windows XP onto VirtualBox. It looks like now that it is no longer supported I can purchase it ridiculously cheap online.

1.) If I purchase a physical CD how can I synchronize it with VirtualBox? Can I download it to the same HDD my Windows 10 is on and locate it with VirtualBox?

2.) Since Windows XP is no longer supported could it leave my system vulnerable even through the virtual workstation? If I "shut down" the session when I am done will it discontinue any vulnerability?

3.) Do you guys think it will function just like any other operating system? As far as input lag, screen tearing and other similar issues related to virtual workstations?

4.) When I allocate RAM, disk space, and other resources for the session is that just the maximum it will allow the system to utilize? After I "shut down" the session will I get those resources back until I start it again?

5.) Anything else cool I can do with a Windows XP on VirtualBox besides play around with it?
 

QwerkyPengwen

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Virtual Box is a program that runs a Virtual Machine (a virtual version of a physical PC)
When you install an OS to the virtual machine you load the ISO or whatever source the installation media is located in with the virtual machine the same way you would if it was a disc or usb and plugged into a physical system.

You install the OS to the virtual hard drive you create for the virtual machine.

When it comes the hard drive space for the virtual machine, it works in two ways:
Pre-allocating that space for the virtual hard drive, or, setting the maximum amount that the virtual machine can use in the virtual hard drive file but it only takes up as much space as what is stored in it on your hard drive.

the second option is typically the most common option and will do you just fine.

As for resources, you set what the virtual machine thinks it has available to it.
For CPU you tell it how many cores it gets and whether or not it utilizes all of the available CPU you give it depends on what you do inside the VM.
As for RAM, it's the same thing. Even though you tell the machine it has available to it 4GB of RAM for example, it doesn't utilize 4GB of your actual RAM unless whatever is going on in the VM actually uses all of that. (with Windows XP though you won't get more than 3GB usable. So don't set it any higher)

And once the machine isn't running, then obviously, since it's not running, it's not using any of the host system's resources.
The hard drive space that the virtual hard drive takes up though doesn't just magically go away though.

As for vulnerability, if somebody happens to want to gain access through your VM's internet connection, since they are connecting to the OS in the VM that's the only OS they will be able to mess with as if it's just another physical machine you got a hold of and put WXP onto and connected to the internet. It is completely isolated and separate from the host system.

If deciding to use WXP in a VM, just connect it to the internet on the VM, install whatever drivers and updates it needs for running the older games, then disconnect it and don't worry about it anymore.

Although, even though you say you've tried getting these older games to work in W10 with no luck, it's possible you may have missed something so please feel free to let me know what these games are and I can get back to you as to whether or not they actually can be played on W10.
 

asoroka

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You can also look at VMWare Player to do the same.. I prefer its interface.

For Virtual box you will need to install the extensions pack.

You can tell your VM to take over the physical dvd , or you can rip the cd into an .iso image and mount that in your VM cd drive.

You don't have to connect your VM to the network.

Your host machine will only be vulnerable if you aresharing resources and you fire up a program that somehow escapes the virtual sandbox. Not impossible but unlikely.

You only consume the resources (CPU and RAM) while VM is running. Disk space unfortunately is permanent.

In general always leave at least 4GB of RAM for your host system
Never allocate more Virtual CPU than you have real cores.

WinXP will only let you use 2 cores, but yiou can run multiple VMs at a time
 

Hexa Fox

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It is an old @$$ game hardly no one has ever heard of. It is called Seven Kingdoms: Fryhtan Wars and the other is Dark Reign 2. There may still be a way to get them running. However, I have been wanting to play around with a virtual workstation for a long time now. I think having an older operating system within my operating system would be cool.

As far as the games go they are old RTS games that I got addicted to back in my childhood I could never let them go. I could usually get them running if I messed around with the color settings, resolution, or compatibility manager. I am just not having any luck now. Thanks for your advice I definitely understand it a little better now.
 

Hexa Fox

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Yeah I planned to allow Windows XP to allocate for 4 GB of RAM. However, didn't the later service packs allow the operating system to recognize more RAM? Maybe I am wrong.

So when I put the physical disc into the drive will I be able to designate a place for it? For instance, like a folder on my desktop or something like that I will be able to link to VirtualBox? I have done stuff like that before so I guess it should not be a problem. I have downloaded various distributions of Linux to a USB drive and downloaded them to older computers. I just do not want to cause a fatal system error that seems so common for Windows nowadays.

Also you mentioned VirtualBox requiring Extensions as well? I think that downloading it to my HDD is the way to go. Because if I execute directly from the physical media (CD) I always have to have it in the tray right?

Thanks for the help!
 

QwerkyPengwen

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it doesn't work like that.
The virtual machine creates a file that acts as a container for data and is essentially a virtual version of a physical HDD and the VM uses it like it is an HDD and thusly whatever OS is installed in the VM uses it like it's a real HDD. You can choose to have this file in whatever folder you like on your host system, but if leaving it default it will usually go into a folder inside the documents folder that was created when you installed the virtual machine software.

The only version of Windows XP that is capable of recognizing and using more than 3GB of RAM is the 64 bit version but that version is crap and you shouldn't use it since Microsoft didn't support it at all with updates and whatnot.

For these older games that you say you want to play, you can most likely just give the VM 1 core of CPU and 3GB of RAM and it will run perfectly fine.

I personally also recommend you use software from VMWare instead of using Virtual Box and that you make sure to install VMWare tools on the the OS you install in the VM so that you get proper generic video drivers and other necessary drivers installed.

As for what asoroka said about not connecting your VM to the internet, this is true, you don't HAVE to.
You can download all the necessary installation packages with your host system such as DirectX SDK, Visual C++ AiO package, and a complete accumulative SP3 update package that includes SP3 and all updates released for XP and SP3 and then put them into a folder you create then go into the virtual machine settings of VMWare and make it so that this specific folder you created can be mounted and shared with the VM OS and you can just transfer over these packages into the desktop of the VM and install them offline.

Otherwise, you will need to connect the VM to the internet in order to download and install these updates and packages in the VM OS.

By doing the folder mount/share thing, you can of course take all of these older games you have and if they are on disc, rip them into their own respective folders and put these folder inside the shared folder and you can install them on XP that way as well.

Or you can choose to set your physical disc drive to be recognized and use by the VM and that should make it show up as a disc drive on XP and you can install the old school way like normal from within XP.
 

Hexa Fox

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Yeah I believe that I understand the first part. You are basically creating a separate partition that is isolated from the rest of the machine. Then you designate what space (including the operating system) will have available to it.

Is there a feature somewhere you can designate a folder to be shared between the physical system and virtual system?

Again thanks for the advice. Also I will check out VMWare tomorrow when I am on the computer I am planning to do this on.

 

Hexa Fox

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Okay so just went to check out VMWare Workstation Pro and the license costs $250.00, are you kidding me?

Just say that Asoroka mentioned the VMWare Player and not Workstation Pro. I will check it out.
 
VMWare Workstation Pro is a STEAL at 250.00 LOL. so freaking powerful and great. snapshots, everything. but that is for real professionals, Player is good enough for gaming and home use.

If you build and test software, you need at least Workstation Pro for testing purposes.
 

Hexa Fox

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Admittedly, one of the major reasons I would like to try out a virtual workstation is to simply learn more. I go to school for Information Systems Security and we use virtual workstations every single week. However, the tools to connect and so forth are all automated so something I would definitely like more hands on experience with.

Having that said, I am not willing to pay $250.00 for something like that right now. Maybe after I try out VMWare Player for awhile I will consider it. Is there an option to purchase physical media with a license key? I am one of those old school cats that still values physical media.
 

Hexa Fox

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Well we will see. I might be interested in something more complex or increased functionality. Just not at this moment in time. If I am reading correctly you may only have a single virtual environment on the VMWare Player as apposed to Pro? That could be a drawback because I wanted to begin loading different Linux distributions and possible even Macintosh platforms as well. Right now that is one of my drawbacks, as in I should have more experience with other operating systems.
 

Hexa Fox

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Greetings again gentlemen,

I realize this thread is aging fast, but I just recently had time to download VMWare Player and got a copy of Windows XP Professional to download to it. Firstly, I must say that it was very straightforward, I thought there was going to be a lot more to it than that. All together it took me a little over an hour to download everything and adjust settings like resolutions and what not.

Also I installing the game I wanted went very easy and had no trouble booting it up. However, the only problem is when the game executes, it reverts the screen resolution to exactly (or very similar) what it was when first installing Windows XP Professional. I was able to solve the problem with the the desktop simply by adjusting the resolution from the Control Panel. However, any time the game launches it reverts back to the small screen. It is annoying because it only takes up 50% or less of the screen.

1.) I have tried adjusting the settings from the VMWare Player menu.

2.) The game does not seem to have any settings to alter the resolution of it.

3.) I did some research and looks like changing the aspect ratio of games changes the resolution of games as well. I seem to remember this, but cannot seem to do it because my graphics card is a virtual version of VMWare Player. It seems like there is a way to use your actual graphics card but has changed or is no longer available in VMWare Player 15.

Also it is worth mentioning that the native resolution of my monitor is 1920 x 1080 but when swapped to that the virtual desktop has scroll bars to see the entire screen. I am guessing it is because the virtual machine does not take up my entire monitor. So I went down one setting to make it 1920 x something less than 1080 and it seems to fit the screen fine without any tearing or loss of clarity.
 

Hexa Fox

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Have you tried Dos box and Dos Shell to play your games?

I run both of those in windows 7 and 10 to play some really old dos games
I forgot to answer this, I tried downloading Dos Box and could not get the game to launch. For the record, I am not familiar with this software at all. I was able to successfully mount the CD drive to it and tried executing the game. However, I encountered a error saying something like "Dos Box is not compatible with this application".
 

QwerkyPengwen

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If it's not a game that was made to run in DOS mode then it won't work in DOS box.

As for game resolution settings, there should be a .ini or config file where the game is installed that you can edit with notepad that should have resolution settings inside.

After making changes and saving them to the file, if after you restart the game and the resolution reverts back again, then make the changes again and then right click properties and make the file read only
 

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