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The cheap/slow NAND flash that they use in USB flash drives makes it a bad choice to run an operating system on. Doesn't have anything to do with being a VM.
That is true for most disk operating systems. Some O/S are designed to work without disk access. In that case, the speed of the drive only affects initial startup (and shutdown if data is stored on the drive for future sessions.) There are some Linux distros that are designed for operation without disk I/O. Others can be configured to minimize or eliminate disk I/O.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
If you are using Windows 8 then I might suggest trying Hyper-V.
That appears to require a CPU that supports SLAT. I tried that on my Win10 install and it complained that the CPU did not support that. The CPU is an E8500.
 

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That's an old chip so that makes sense.

All first, second, and third generation Intel Core i3/5/7 processors support SLAT and most fourth gen Core i3 & 5's have support too. i.e./ pretty much any Intel Desktop CPU released in the last 4 or 5 years supports it.

Windows 8 has a built in check to test whether your chip supports it or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Ok, I am up and running. My host OS is Ubuntu 12.04 - I use this older version as it is what is installed on my VPS and I want to be able to try out stuff on a home PC before installing it on my VPS.

My machines is a Dell Optiplex 780 with an E8500 CPU with 4GB of RAM - I need to add more RAM!

I have installed two guest OSes. Linux Mint 17 and Win 10 Tech Preview. The Win 10 was a little tricky as you had to tell Virtualbox that you were installing Windows 8.1 - Other Windows didn't work. I have given each guest a fixed hard drive allocation.

The trickiest thing was networking as I want the guest OSes to be able to see my LAN and vice-versa. By default you have one NIC installed and configured to use NAT. That means that you cannot see the rest of your LAN.

I have added a second NIC to my Mint guest OS and used the Bridge option. I can now see other macines on my LAN and vice-versa - the guest OS now has an IP in the 192.168.1.X subnet like my other PCs. Is this the correct way to configure the networking on my VMs? (I haven't got around to making this NIC change on my Win10 guest OS yet).
 

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By default you have one NIC installed and configured to use NAT. That means that you cannot see the rest of your LAN.
I have only one NIC in my Windows 7 VM. It can access the rest of my LAN, but other computers can't access it due to NAT.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
You should be able to use bridge mode without having to add a 2nd NIC.
When I googled this most of the hits I got talked about having multiple NICs - some of them mentioned using three NICs. So I can just change the First NIC to bridge and all of my VMs will see all other VMs, my host PC and other PCs on the 192.168.1.X subnet?

@JamesK - that was the way it was working for me originally but I would prefer having my VMs have the same network connectivity as a real PC on my LAN, especially if I want to share files, map drives, etc. Setting up the bridge does this, does it not?
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Right now I have the following config:

VM1 - Linux Mint - Adapter 1 set to NAT, Adapter 2 set to Bridged. VM can ping LAN, LAN can ping VM, VM can ping host and host can ping VM. This is what I want

VM2 - Win10 - Adapter 1 set to Bridged (no other adapters). VM can ping LAN. LAN cannot ping VM. VM can ping host. Host can ping VM.

So it looks like I need to set up as in VM1 to be able to get the network access that I want.

One other thing - my VM is running extremely slowly. Is that due to lack of memory? Does it swap out to the hard drive like a page file?

edit - @905schmick - Can other PCs on your LAN ping your VMs with this config

Another edit - maybe it is an OS thing as I have now added the bridge on VM2 which is running Win10 and I still can't ping it from another PC on my LAN. I have shut off the Windows firewall and that doesn't change things either.
 

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A little late chiming in here. XenServer could also be used but then the host would be dedicated to that role. One thing I really like it is it is able to copy the hardware ID from the box and pass it to the O/S. This allows you to virtualize OEM versions of Windows. I have never tried Virtual Box myself but I have always heard good things about it.
 

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Free Windows OS Images for VirtualBox From Microsoft

Wayne, if you choose to use Oracle VirtualBox you can legally download your choice of recent Windows OSes for free from Microsoft in fully functional vbox format from here:

https://www.modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools#downloads

Those images are ostensibly for testing and research of IE browsers so they have a time limit and a watermarked desktop, but are otherwise complete and fully functional within VirtualBox on Linux, OS X, or Windows. The time limit is no big deal since you can just save your work and reinstall another one, then add your work to the new one. WARNING TO ALL: READ THE LICENSE AND INSTRUCTIONS!

Also it is now possible to install OS X Yosemite on an Intel-based virtual machine but you'll have to search for those instructions online.
 

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^ I would recommend against using Modern.IE VMs as a long-term solution, or for other than "testing" purposes.

If you download one of these VMs, you are limited to a single-user environment on a single VM, with an unactivated copy of Windows that expires after 90 days. Additionally, you are only licensed to use it for "testing" purposes, and are specifically prohibited from using it in any commercial or "live" operating environment.

So if you wish to run short-term software testing on a particular version of Windows or IE, Modern.IE is for you. For other short-term uses, you may consider downloading a 90-day trial version of Windows, and if you need a Windows VM for long-term use, you should consider purchasing a full license.
 

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I am running Win 8.1 as a Hyper-V host with 6 vm clients. These are all legally license. I am have 2 x WHS 2011, Win 7, Win 10 and 2 Ubuntu servers. I have been running this configuration for many months with zero problems.

This is actually a very inexpensive way to get a fully licensed and powerful server. The hardware is far more expensive. ..ie 30tb is expensive :)
 

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There are a couple of free virtualization products that you can use, such as Oracle VirtualBox or VMware Player. I've been using VMware Player for a long time and I can recommend it. It doesn't have as many features as VMware Workstation, but it's free and enables you to create virtual machines, so you can download an ISO file and just install it inside a virtual machine, just like you would do on a physical machine.

You can download the Ubuntu ISO image from here:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

You can the install Ubuntu in a VM using that ISO image. Here are the instructions:

http://vmware-player.com/install-a-guest-operating-system-manually/
 
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