Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

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Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby pintree3 » 20. Sep 2021, 04:05

Total newbie. I installed Oracle VB and read the manual. I found myself understand very little. At the beginning it says, "It is assumed that readers are familiar with Web technologies and have a general understanding of Windows and UNIX platforms." The answer is, "No, I do not. Unix what?" hence in reading the forum rules as to what info must also be added here all I could provide is what is below. Hence the title of my question.
I installed VB for this reason. I want a virtual machine not to test OSes but to have a safe environment where I could do the following 2 things only: -1-surf the internet (so I do not have to worry about viruses infecting my actual computer (which you guys call Host) -2- install software and test it out.
So is this VB good for this? The manual asks for this or that command and I am not a programmer or anything close to it. I am just a normal non IT guy (Who likes to hang around with IT guys :-).
So this is what I thought I could do.
-1- Install VB
-2- run VB as W10 Pro like my host already has without having to install it again within my VB
-3- go online within VB install a software within VB, Fool around with this software and then later (1 hour later, 3 days later...) go back to VB and continue working with the software I had installed there. For ex. if I install a game within VB I would hope to be able to continue that same game at any point later. Even if I shut down my physical computer. Or if I installed Photoshop CS I would want to go back and look at my photos, continue with editing where I left off etc.

So is this Oracle VB good for such purposes or should I install a different VB not Oracle? Once I have my answer then I have a few more questions depending on the reply. Thank you in advance.
host OS: W10 Pro ver 21H1
VB ver.61.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby pintree3 » 20. Sep 2021, 04:16

Addendum: Another way of explaining what I wanted (or want to do) with VB is this (as a metaphor):
I buy 2 computers. I install my windows os on this 1st computer. I create an image on a separate drive on this computer. I now install this drive on my 2nd computer (Assume it has the same hardware with the same serial numbers etc.). OK so now I have 2 choices. I can work, play around with computer 1 or computer 2. All I have to do is boot whichever computer I feel like working with. I was therefore hoping the VM would work exactly (98%) as if I had 2 computers without actually needing a 2nd desktop computer.
Actually, come to think of it. The 1st PC in my example would be an OEM whereby I have to install the OS etc. While the 2nd PC would be, for ex. a DELL whereby once I switch it on the OS etc is already there-no image needed.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby BillG » 20. Sep 2021, 09:48

You appear to have entirely the wrong idea of what VirtualBox can do. What is does is allow you to build a virtual machine - that is, it is a piece of software which allows you emulate the hardware of a physical PC.

Once you have installed VirtualBox, you can create a new virtual machine. You can then install an OS in that virtual machine. What OS you choose to install is up to you. If you want to use Windows, you cannot use the OS which is installed in the host machine. Microsoft regards the virtual machine just like any other PC and it must have its own license.

In general terms, you can do most things in a vm that you can do in a normal PC (but not all) and some things work better than others. What you want to do could not be done on two PCs, so it is unlikely that you could do it with one PC and one vm.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby mpack » 20. Sep 2021, 11:25

I have to disagree with BillG slightly. I think the OP does have a grasp of the general principles of what a VM might do for him, he is just unaware of the practical realities.

The main practical reality is this: Microsoft is well aware that disk imaging tools exist, so they'd have to be highly incompetent not to know that someone might image a working Win10 PC and transfer that image to another PC in the hope of avoiding paying for a second license. Microsoft wants your cash, so if it must be Windows then in practice you'll need a second Win10 license. Personally I consider it morally acceptable to have one license for my host and one other for all my Win10 VMs, which I do not use simultaneously.

It's a long time since I read the intro to the manual, so I wasn't aware that it said "Unix", which is admittedly a little odd. I think what it means is that if you choose to install Windows then you are expected to understand Windows - you'll find very little Windows tuition in the VirtualBox user manual. Likewise if you choose to install Linux then you are assumed to be knowledgable (enough) on Linux and other Unix-like Operating Systems. But in fact you don't need to know very much - there are excellent YouTube guides available.


ISTM that in your scenario you may not need a second Win10 license for the VM. I suggest that you follow one of the online guides for installing installing the Manjaro variant of Linux. This has a user interface that isn't far removed from Windows (especially if you install the Twister UI), and then you can browse the Internet with some standard browsers: Firefox, Chrome etc. There may even be a version of Edge available for Linux these days, that wouldn't surprise me at all considering its origins. There is a package for Linux called "Wine" which allows you to run many Windows apps on Linux - basically anything that isn't too cutting edge or heavily OS dependent.

I would warn you that neither Wine nor a Windows VM provides a good way to test that an app is malware free before running that app on the host. Modern malware can detect that it's in a VM, and may hide their true nature in that event. However in most such cases you'd find that the app is crap anyway (doesn't do what it claimed, since the only real purpose was to deliver malware) and therefore you can delete it.

Btw, the dangers of being infected by online viruses is overblown IMO. Just don't download and run dodgy software from dodgy websites. If in doubt, check that the installer exe has a valid digital signature.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby pintree3 » 20. Sep 2021, 20:11

Thank you both. You have helped me a lot. Quite a bit. Really :-) What I have realized is 2 things -1- perhaps I did not explain myself well (sorry) and -2- it seems the VB is not at all what I thought it was, and now must think if what I need instead. Maybe you can give me advice as to what software I should install instead.
I think I need something like Sandboxie. Except I am not sure that Sandboxie keeps settings once you reboot.
What I actually want to do is described above. With Sandboxie you can surf the web somewhat safel; however, install software and then continue working on it hours or days later with all its Setting , Options etc.s intact, to continue where you left off of, is something I think it can't do. Any advice/suggestions? Thanks again.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby mpack » 21. Sep 2021, 09:27

I already gave my suggestions above. Any Linux distro will let you browse the Internet and run software. It is possible to suspend a VM so that you can resume and continue to run it where you left off, days or weeks later. Though personally I consider that bad practice. Good practice is saving continuously, and close the app when you're done, and there's the danger of upgrading the software while the VM is suspended, invalidating the saved state.

I remember a few years ago, a guy who had been using one piece of software in a VM for months without ever hitting save. Then he had a power cut while the VM was running... and that lost the lot since it doesn't really exist until it's saved. Nothing we could do except sympathize.
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Re: Did I install the wrong VB? 101% newbie

Postby pintree3 » 22. Sep 2021, 03:27

mpack wrote:I already gave my suggestions above. Any Linux distro will let you browse the Internet and run software. It is possible to suspend a VM so that you can resume and continue to run it where you left off, days or weeks later. Though personally I consider that bad practice. Good practice is saving continuously, and close the app when you're done, and there's the danger of upgrading the software while the VM is suspended, invalidating the saved state.

I remember a few years ago, a guy who had been using one piece of software in a VM for months without ever hitting save. Then he had a power cut while the VM was running... and that lost the lot since it doesn't really exist until it's saved. Nothing we could do except sympathize.

Thnx bud. Sometimes my brain is empty. In my head when you said "Linux" I assumed forget VM and use linux instead but obviously you were suggesting Linux within VM. Seriously I do not know where my brain goes sometimes--and yet I am no idiot. Thank you, Brilliant idea.
I do save work, usually set to auto, every 5 minutes or so. Will try it out.(Step 1. install Linux inside VM, step 2. install software, step 3. test out software and save some stuff. Step 4. close software and shut down VM. Step 5. wait for when I reboot windows step 6 open VM and installed software and see if all is how I left it. :-)
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