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Macs, virtual windows and viruses


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:00 PM

I've started reading about VMware Fusion 3 and Parallel Desktop 5.0 for Mac to run windows programs on macs. I noticed that one comes w/ Kapersky Internet Security and the other w/ McAfee VirusScan Plus.

I've read about using virtual machines on windows 2k/xp to run win98 or dos programs - in which case the VM "lies" to the program about memory config and hardware access. But the programs are still running inside win2k or winxp - so the program can crash or fail to run, but not crash the computer.

I have no idea how a VM works on a mac since I haven't got a mac yet. I'm guessing it works similar to a VM in windows and "lies" about the file system and runs w/in the mac OS. I don't know how the mac OS handles kernel mode & protected mode and what makes macs less susceptible to malware. I would think that running word in a winxp VM on a mac would leave one less susceptible to malware than running windows either via bootcamp on a mac or on a pc. But maybe not since both programs include security programs.

Does VM mean something completely different on a mac? Can a virus in a virtual winxp get out to the mac os?
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 computerxpds

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:55 PM

Does VM mean something completely different on a mac? Can a virus in a virtual winxp get out to the mac os?


the answer to this is no :blink: not at all, this is because the mac os x operating system runs on a compleatly different kernel and file system( just to name a few differences) It is basicly the same principal of why you cannot run a windows program on a mac and vice versa.. Now there are certain malware desinged for mac but i highly doubt you will ever run in to those. :wacko:
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#3 Buddyme2

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 05:07 AM

Like computerxpds said, windows malware, virii etc. won't run on Mac OS X.

#4 MaryBet82

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 04:10 PM

Thanks computerxpds & Buddyme2,

Makes me feel LOTS better to know for sure. Now if one of these programs really work - that is, word 2003 and PaperPort run w/out crashing in the VM, my problem will be solved and I can buy a mac. Or if word runs in the VM and I can use pagemaster instead of paperport.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#5 Buddyme2

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:39 PM

I don't know how stable VM is with those programs, but if you happen to go that route you will still need use AV in the Windows partition.

#6 computerxpds

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:58 PM

I have gone the vm route before and it seems to be slugish at best. and yes you will still need the AV in the windows partition. :blink:
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#7 MaryBet82

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 11:45 AM

Thanks Buddyme2 & computerxpds for the warning,

I'm reading the VirtualBox manual now and it is VERY complicated. It does mention getting a virus in the VM. If you have your virtual hard drive set up a certain way and to take snapshots in a certain way you roll back to the snapshot to remove the virus. If you set up something called an immutable [virtual] hard disk, you just have to power down and power back up your VM. If you set up your virtual hard disk as a write-through image you have to disinfect as in a real computer. I'll have to see a VM in action before I can figure out the differences between the ways you can set up your virtual storage and why I'd choose one or the other.

So that explains why the VM software comes w/ antivirus or internet security software. I'm hoping that since I'll be using the mac for browsing and email, I'll be somewhat protected. But since I copy a lot from the web into Word - like I'm copying the warnings and install instructions from the Virtual Box manual into Word so I can print them in a font I can easily read- I may be at risk.

I didn't find winxp stable on a pc so I won't be surprised if it's difficult to run on a VM. WinXP didn't itself crash a lot, but the programs trying to run on it did. I'm also used to sluggish w/ windows, but I'm hoping this will work for me. I haven't found mac substitutes for Word 2003 and PaperPort. Pagemaster says it deskews [didn't when I tried it before] so I'm going to try that as a substitute for PaperPort when my Mac arrives. [ I finally ordered it, yay!]
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#8 davidanders

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

Substitute for Word 2003 - suggest you investigate NeoOffice, a Mac version of OpenOffice, clients have learned to like it (vs tolerating Word)
http://www.neooffice.org/
David Anders
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