g4u and Virtualization

A quick note about g4u – g4u (Ghost for you) is a hard disk imaging tool similar to Norton Ghost, but without the cost. g4u allows you to image hard disks to both files and physical media. This can be accomplished within a physical machine, a virtual machine, or by using an FTP server on either of the two.

VMware Importer Now Supports VirtualPC 2007!

The VMware Fusion team recently announced that the new beta version of VMware Converter (beta 2) will allow importing of Virtual PC 2007 based virtual machines, as well as Parallels Desktop 2.5 and Parallels 3.0 based virtual machines.

This means that you can now easily convert old virtual machines that you might have running on G3/G4/G5 PowerPC Macs, as well as convert newer virtual machines on Intel Macs running Parallels to VMware Fusion – the better product in my honest opinion.

The operating systems supported are Windows XP Home and Pro, Windows Sever 2003, Windows 2000 and you also get the added bonus of being able to import Microsoft Windows Vista virtual machines from Parallels.

Take that with a grain of salt though… I do currently work for a VMware partner 🙂 On the other hand, VMware Fusion did just receive the annual MacWorld Editors’ Choice Award – you be the judge.
Here are the release notes from the VMware blog:

“The VMware Fusion team is proud to announce the release of VMware Importer Beta 2, for the importation of third-party Mac-based virtual machines to run using VMware Fusion.We’re especially excited about this release, as users can now import virtual machines created with Virtual PC 7.0 for Mac! Even though we live and breath Intel-based Macs here on Team Fusion, it’s important to remember that Intel-Macs have only been around for a little under two years now.That means there’s a lot of Mac users out there using Virtual PC 7.0 on their trusty PowerBook, iBooks, G4 and G5 Towers, and more. When it comes time to upgrade to a shiny new Intel-Mac, well, we on Team Fusion want those users to have a smooth upgrade process to the most seamless way to run Windows on a Mac.

VMware Importer Beta 2 allows for the importation of Virtual PC 7.0-based virtual machines with the following operating systems:

  • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003

VMware Importer Beta 2 also lets users import virtual machines created using Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5 and 3.0, including:

  • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista

Check out the VMware Importer Beta 2 landing page here, and give it a whirl!

And, as always, users looking to convert a physical PC to run as a virtual machine under VMware Fusion can use VMware Converter Starter Edition to do just that in a snap.

Questions and comments are always welcome at the VMware Fusion community forums, where Fusion users come to talk Mac virtualization.”

Vista on Vista Virtualization using Virtual PC 2007

I can now confirm that the Windows Vista MSDN x86 ISO is fully installable using Virtual PC 2007 Beta on Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit.

Even though these are both MSDN images, neither of them was activated, nor did I enter a serial number during the install. Just click next when they ask you for a serial, and make sure to confirm that you do not wish to enter a serial number by pressing the “no” button.
(click on thumbnails for 1600×1200 images – the virtual machine is running at 1280×1024)

Vista on Vista VirtualizationVista on Vista VirtualizationVista on Vista Virtualization

The installation took some time, even with 1GB of RAM allocated to the Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine, but after about 30 90 minutes or so, Vista Ultimate x86 virtualized on Vista Ultimate x64 using Virtual PC 2007 is a definite go-ahead-and-try-it install.

Follow normal VPC installation procedure, select Vista as the guest operating system, and chug along as the install proceeds.

Coming up next: full installation instructions.

Note: Unfortunately Virtual PC 2007 is beta, and I don’t see any plans for adding 64bit virtualization any time soon. If you have info that states otherwise, please let me know is this appears to be the only viable option for Vista VMs at the moment.

Running Virtual Machines on Windows Vista

In the coming weeks I will be working more on Microsoft’s Windows Vista as it ramps up to release to manufacture (RTM) status.

Although you can currently run Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 in 32 bit mode on a Windows Vista physical machine, I’ve learned that I was recently accepted into the Virtual PC 2007 beta tester program, and that Virtual PC 2007 can run on 64bit Vista.

If you are interested in joining the Virtual PC 2007 beta program, I highly suggest you sign up, then play some fantastic Rod Stewart albums until you are accepted.

By the way, this does in fact mean you can run Vista on Vista reliably now. VMWare Workstation and Server still don’t work at this point, but it’s on the way, just stay tuned.

Copy Files From a Mac to Windows Using SCP

Whenever you start adding funny-flavored operating systems to a network, you eventually run into filesharing problems. Even if you only have a few machines, coming to a consensus on how to get files from point A to B can be quite taxing – especially if there’s work to be done.

Over the years I’ve tried FTP, Samba, NFS and a host of others. When configured well they work like a charm. However, when a new node joins the network (that shiny new Mac Pro of yours), things need to be reconfigured and can generally be a royal pain that´s why i always chose the best web hosting.

That has changed, though. We now have an acceptable solution that is free, easy to use and above all, secure. Introducing… SCP.

SCP has been around for a while now, and is gaining quite a bit of traction in the hosting world where it is (albeit slowly) starting to replace FTP for upload and download tasks. SCP stand for Secure Copy (CP being Copy on *nix variants). SCP works a lot like FTP in that you require an address to connect to, a username (login) and a password (we won’t get into stored keys today).

Now that we’ve decided what to try in our ad hoc network, how do we set it up? If you’re blessed with any variant of Linux or Unix, the work has been done for you already – the tools come with the operating system, and are generally found under the network tools in your fancy menus.

Fugu on OS X Server

It’s a different story on Apple Macs and PCs, though. For example, Tiger comes with an SCP server, but no client. Right, about the Mac server. In order to activate it in Panther, Tiger and even Leopard, head on over to the System Preferences pane, and choose the Sharing applet (the folder with the caution sign on it). Once it has opened, check the Remote Login checkbox. This will enable SSH, and in turn, SCP. We’re halfway there. You can connect to an SCP server by using the Terminal on a Mac, but from what I can tell most Mac users are frightfully scared of it. But that gives me the oppurtunity to tell you about one of my favorite applications – Fugu (japanese for blowfish – and sporting a suitably cute icon to boot). Fugu allows you to connect to an SCP server to both download and upload files. Fugu is quite easy to use, so we won’t get into that, but will save it for another time if need be (just like stored keys). Oh, and as the screenshot shows you, it works with Mac OS X Server 10.4.7 too! (as well as Leopard)

WinSCP Screenshot

In the PC world, WinSCP is Fugu’s sibling. You get an extremly easy to use interface, complete with drag and drop. Installation is a breeze, and best of all it’s free as in both beer and speech. Just like those soapbox ramblers. Getting a Windows SCP server is a bit more difficult, but currently exists in the form of BitVise WinSSHD. WinSSHD is slightly complicated, but most of the configuration is done during the installation procedure. They supply you with the needed variables, and one you have finished you will have set up an account you can use to test from your other workstations. The screenshot above was taken with the wonderful WinSnap – it comes highly recommended.
Let the cross-platform filesharing begin!

If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a topic for a future article, head on over to the blandname contact page and we’ll see what we can do!

Oh, and by the way, since you’ve noticed I always talk about virtualization, this certainly applies to getting files to and fro from your virtual machines in VMWare Server, Virtual Server (Virtual PC if need be) and Parallels – I have even found it to be faster than any other technique!