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Virtualizing Windows XP on MP Machines - ACPI HAL


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#1 SteveOC

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 09:11 AM

This thread is a bit of a brain dump for me and hopefully others will contribute so that I can pick this back up again when I get to it..............

 

After looking at Grinler's Tutorial I decided to install XPMODE to see how it compared to VMPlayer and Virtualbox.

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/use-windows-xp-mode-in-windows-7/

 

If you decide to follow the tutorial:

 

Firstly, be aware that there are issues with the links to downloads - I think MS moved stuff.

 

Secondly, there are 2 files you can download for XPMODE and no explanation as to the difference between them, The one with an extra 'N' in the name didn't work for me so I downloaded the other one which did. I thought the 'N' might stand for New but eventually found it stands for something else (I forget what but I think it has something removed?). 

 

The interesting thing (for me) is that you don't get asked to activate XP when running XPMODE under MS Virtual PC.

In the info I found for W7 Ultimate, it says it has all the features of W7 Enterprise, which includes licences for 4 VMs, so either this is the reason for this or else it's pre-activated (somehow).

 

However, when I ran the standalone converter to run the same XP image under VMPlayer it immediately asks for activation - different virtual drivers I guess - so be aware of this.

Why did I do this - due to the 100% CPU issue with SVC Host which I tried to troubleshoot myself.

 

It occurs to me that anybody looking to virtualize their XP system may face the same issue with having to re-activate XP (at least under VMware or Virtualbox - not sure about Virtual PC).

 

However, the thing that I discovered by accident, as a result of the Windows Update / SVC Host / 100% CPU issue was that my XP VM is only using a single core of my CPU capacity whether I run it under MS Virtual PC (XPMODE) or VMware VMPlayer.

 

It looks like this is due to how MS built the XPMODE image and is either done so that the image runs on all machines including those with a single processor - or else they want people to buy an XP licence to run anything of significance under a VM (see below).

 

When I next get access to the other machine I'll try these resources which I assume will resolve the issue with running on a single core (due to the HAL) :

 

http://tecbites.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/single-to-dualmulti-core-with-windows.html

 

http://uk.hardware.info/news/6878/problems-updating-to-a-dual-core-cpu-not-anymore!

 

What I don't know (yet) is whether this change will trigger a request for re-activation of XP and whether this will affect both MS Viual PC and VMware.

 

** NOTE **

This is an issue where the initial XP Install detects a Single Processor and the XP image is moved to a system with multi-processors or a processor is upgraded.

I would expect that a new install from media to a system with Multi-Processors fitted would detect them and install the correct component setting.

 

Stuff to do, back to this later...................

 

Steve O.


Edited by SteveOC, 01 January 2014 - 09:18 AM.


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#2 SteveOC

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:01 AM

Well, I had a play with this last night - good and bad results.

I followed the instructions in the tecbites link for the image running under VMWARE VMPLAYER and after a couple of restarts I saw my VMware partition using between 19-37% of the host CPU (up to 3 cores) so I guess it works.

Unfortunately, this does not work under MS Virtual PC and will break the XPMODE image - it won't boot.
After reading various posts it seems that MS Virtual PC will not use more than 1 core and probably never will. I also understand that that 1 core restriction applies to all VMs running under Virtual PC - they all have to share 1 core.

However, the replacement for Virtual PC under W8 (the name escapes me) apparently will allow use of multiple cores.

I believe that Virtualbox will also allow use of multiple cores and I may download that and try.

In short, I guess that if you want to utilise multiple cores under W7 you will need to run a Guest image under either VMWARE or Virtualbox - but you will probably then have to activate it with a valid XP licence.
However, Windows Virtual PC XPMODE runs using a single core and,for me,does not prompt for activation.

I re-imported the broken Virtual PC XPMODE image into VMPLAYER and it works - but now prompts for activation which it never did under Virtual PC Mode. Furthermore, it isn't allowing 30 days for activation but instead 17 days (I installed it a couple of weeks ago I guess) indicating that something in XPMODE is still counting down but there is no activation prompt.

I came across other posts about modifying boot.ini for MP installs but this seems unnecessary under VMware.

If I get time, I may see if the XPmode is fixable if I can figure a way to access it.

Steve O.

#3 SteveOC

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:16 AM

Interesting...............

I fiddled with some registry settings within the XPMODE image running under VMWARE and managed to remove the activation timer and the Windows Genuine Advantage 'watermark' - basically it was recognised as an activated image.
However, it *appeared* that this broke Windows Update, so I partially reversed the changes, and got the activation timer and watermark back, but Windows Update still appeared to be broken.
Later, Windows Update appeared to be functioning again, so I reapplied the registry changes.
Since applying the changes a second time, the image remains activated, and I have had multiple batches of windows updates pushed through so I guess that this was some odd coincidence.

Upshot is that I now have an XPMODE image, with all the latest Windows Updates, running under VMWARE VMPLAYER, capable of using multiple cores (presumably up to all 8 available).

Another XPMODE image that was at the same update level, but not activated under VMWARE, has not received any of the updates pushed to the activated image except for MS Security Essentials Definitions.

Steve O.

#4 Union_Thug

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:33 AM

The "N" edition does not have Media Player for some anti-trust situation in Europe.
 

 

The European Union Microsoft competition case is a case brought by the European Commission of the European Union (EU) against Microsoft for abuse of its dominant position in the market (according to competition law). It started as a complaint from Novell over Microsoft's licensing practices in 1993, and eventually resulted in the EU ordering Microsoft to divulge certain information about its server products and release a version of Microsoft Windows without Windows Media Player.

 

 



#5 SteveOC

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:41 PM

That rings a bell (maybe) but then I don't know why it wouldn't  boot.

 

Steve O,






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