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VMware Player or Workstation from PE boot disk


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#1 Fleagle

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:41 PM

Hi -- new to the group and all that, but I've spent the day looking through the site, playing with Winbuilder and still can't figure out how to do what I started out to accomplish. Simply put:

I'd like to have a CD (since nearly all PCs have CDs, but not all PCs can boot from USB drives) that would boot up and allow me to run the VMWare Player or Workstation (either would be okay) and then to use VM to run a Virtual Machine from a portable (i.e. external) USB hard drive.

Purpose: This would provide a complete disaster recovery solution for me as I currently run my "production" desktop environment as a virtual machine (My physical machine has nothing installed on it but VMWare Workstation.) Being able to back that "production" VM image up to a portable hard drive means I'd always be able to have my "computer" just as it was before the harddrive failure, power loss, hurricane or whatever -- as long as I had the boot disk, portable hard drive and access to a computer to run them on. It would mean that I could "carry my computer in my pocket" so to speak.

This topic may already be addressed, if so I apologize but I haven't found it.

Has someone already done this and is there an available "project" they'd share?
If not can someone tell me (PLEASE keep it simple -- I confuse easily) how to build one myself?
Or tell me it can't be done because of ....

Thank you so much for any help

Fleagle

#2 Galapo

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:49 PM

Peter has developed the nativeEx_moa-lite project, which provides VMWare Player in a PE. The script is used with a couple of adjustments in the LiveXP project as well (with 'complete' download), but that project also adds the option of also including VMWare Converter.

Of course, MOA is where it all began: http://sanbarrow.com/

Regards,
Galapo.

#3 Fleagle

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:30 PM

Thank you! Found it, tried it, liked it.

Now my brain is spinning with all the possibilities ...

:confused1: Fleagle

#4 pscEx

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:40 PM

Thank you! Found it, tried it, liked it.

Now my brain is spinning with all the possibilities ...

:confused1: Fleagle

Congratulations!
Usually a new user with 'unusual' intentions needs much more time for the first success! :cheers:

Your post does not tell us whether you uses Ulli's original or my 'imitation'
If you use mine, I would be glad to get suggestions, requests etc. and to implement them.

Peter

#5 was_jaclaz

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 04:47 PM

Your post does not tell us whether you uses Ulli's original or my 'imitation'
If you use mine, I would be glad to get suggestions, requests etc. and to implement them.


Maybe a good idea would be to provide a link to your version....:confused1:

jaclaz

#6 pscEx

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:14 PM

Maybe a good idea would be to provide a link to your version.... :confused1:

jaclaz

It is contained in the standard WB download under 'nativeEx'.

I think if it is not used frequently, a URL in my signature etc. is not necessary.
Agreed?

Peter

#7 was_jaclaz

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:24 PM

It is contained in the standard WB download under 'nativeEx'.

I think if it is not used frequently, a URL in my signature etc. is not necessary.
Agreed?

Peter


Sure :cheers:, but how would Fleagle or any (new or old) other member know that it was contained inside "nativeEx", if I hadn't "publicly extorted" you this piece of info? :cheers:

:confused1:

jaclaz

#8 pscEx

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:43 PM

Sure :cheers: , but how would Fleagle or any (new or old) other member know that it was contained inside "nativeEx", if I hadn't "publicly extorted" you this piece of info? :cheers:

:confused1:

jaclaz

Maybe I'm too 'guru' and thinking that everything I wrote anywhere is visible for every user.

Thanks for the hint. I try to find a solution (which of course for me needs only some seconds of admin time and does not influence my creative development time too much :cheers: )

But perhaps this is a topic to be discussed generally: Something like 'logical' site map etc. for new members.

Peter

#9 Fleagle

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:22 AM

Thank you! Found it, tried it, liked it.

Now my brain is spinning with all the possibilities ...

:confused1: Fleagle



I used the version called "lx82808mx" and removed quite a few items until I had what I needed. (It's the old approach of keep unchecking things until it compiles successfully). Now that I have one that works, I'll start adding (checking) items back in.

I admit I got frustrated yesterday after downloading WinBuilder and both LiveXP and VistaPE. I tried each of them and kept coming up with errors in the compiles due to items being either incomplete or by my lack of knowledge about what the scripts wanted and what the various things meant. For example, both Create ISO and BootSDI were checked. WinBuilder didn't like that and I didn't know what an SDI was or how to give it what it needed. So I turned it off continued. Then I found out that I couldn't just blindly run all the scripts "as is" but needed to review each one and see if it needed some information (like location of your Win XP source, for example -- okay, I should have known better, but it was all new to me. I naively thought I could just download it and run it as is). Some of the scripts require Win 2003 and I couldn't figure out what Win 2003 was. I was familiar with Office 2003 but hadn't encountered Win 2003 before. Again, just a learning curve.

I am VERY greatful to all of the folks who have obviously done so much work in developing such a neat environment. Now my problem is how to go slow. My mind is leaping to absurd conclusions and I have to keep reminding myself "This is not a customizable operating system, it's a pre-installation environment", but it's hard because so much is here.

My original quest for "MY computer in my pocket" is resolved and I feel I've got a really good disaster recover setup. I have a CD and portable hard drive (with my VMWare images and all my documents on it) and can boot it on most any other computer (given enough memory) and run them using the VM Player.

Just in case you're curious, my physical machine is an HP Quad with 3.5 GB of memory running Vista Ultimage 64-bit (yes, I know, but at the time I thought that there would be 64-bit apps by now) and the only program I've installed on the physical machine is VMWare Workstation. This keeps it clean and performing well. Under VM I run a production 32-bit Vista (Office, Money, scanning, printing, etc.), and several test machines including one called TinyVista (stripped by someone else using V-Lite). I'm slowly creating Portable Apps with VMWare's ThinApp and intend to migrate my production machine to the minimal memory TinyVista machine running as many portable (non-installed) apps as possible. This is probably what will eventually go onto my portable harddrive. There are still things that can't be done with ThinApp, like device drivers for hardware, but I may be able to get those into my pre-environment and have them accessible from the TinyVista VM.

I'm sure somebody is thinking, "What in the world for?". Well, this keeps my mind from atrophying, now that I'm retired (used to be an IT Director).

Anyway, thanks to everyone for all you've done. This is so cool.

Fleagle

#10 Galapo

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:52 AM

Hi Fleagle,

Glad you had success!

For example, both Create ISO and BootSDI were checked. WinBuilder didn't like that and I didn't know what an SDI was or how to give it what it needed.

I'm not sure why you had this happen if you downloaded LiveXP only yesterday. I checked to make sure, and the BootSDI script currently on the server is not selected by default. Also, by default you should not have to customise anything at all to get a successful first build, other than pointing to your source CD/files. This makes me think you downloaded from elsewhere other than from the livexp server: livexp.boot-land.net. The server should be visible by default in the WinBuilder.exe download centre.

Regards,
Galapo.

#11 amalux

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 03:33 AM

Hi Fleagle,

A belated hello, happy you got it working :confused1:

lx82808mx is a project from my tutorial and I can assure you, both BootSDI and CreateISO scripts are not checked in the build when downloaded. Also, you should only have to select your source directory, that's it; everything else is setup to work without user input. However, this is only true for standard OS configurations; your x64 may introduce some unforeseen issues and therefore best to start with a base build like lx--cxb. I only respond so strongly because Galapo is quick to blame any setup errors on projects 'downloaded from elsewhere' :cheers:

Glad to have you on board and welcome to the forum!

#12 Galapo

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:06 AM

I only respond so strongly because Galapo is quick to blame any setup errors on projects 'downloaded from elsewhere' :confused1:

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything other than that in regards to the project which I oversee -- which I couldn't quite determine if he was using or not -- didn't have the issue, suggesting he may be downloading from elsewhere. I mainly just wanted to confirm what he was using so that the source could be corrected, if required. I was going to do the same if the livexp server had both scripts currently checked. Since I have been known to upload both scripts checked in the past, it could in theory be that the mistake had passed down the chain at some point.

Regards,
Galapo.

#13 amalux

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:12 AM

That's cool, just ribbin' ya :confused1:

:cheers:

#14 Galapo

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 04:29 AM

amalux, I've got an idea: why not put a link to your main tutorial in your signature? This way more people might be directed to a page with very helpful building instructions more often.

Regards,
Galapo.

#15 amalux

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 06:10 AM

amalux, I've got an idea: why not put a link to your main tutorial in your signature? This way more people might be directed to a page with very helpful building instructions more often.

Regards,
Galapo.

Good idea :confused1:

:cheers:

#16 Lancelot

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:34 AM

Hi Fleagle,
..
; your x64 may introduce some unforeseen issues

?! Felagle use x64 host os??

Felagle:
anyway, no unsolved issues (in a way or other) for livexp x64 usage, i always build with host 2k3x64 (look signature) (thanks again and again a lot to galapo and nikzzz), if anyproblem occurs, please post.


When tried MOA a long while ago (3 - 4 months), for vmware preparation moa was taking files from hostos which may/may not cause some problem, also taking files from hostos during build. I collect files by using XPx86 and changed a plugin a bit to prevent any problem before it occurs, so after that everthing works nicely with MOA (thanks to sanbarrow).

also
Amalux Tutorial signature very good idea. I put it at first lines of my notes a long while ago :confused1:

#17 amalux

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 01:21 PM

?! Felagle use x64 host os??

Just in case you're curious, my physical machine is an HP Quad with 3.5 GB of memory running Vista Ultimage 64-bit

(post #9)

--

Felagle:
anyway, no unsolved issues (in a way or other) for livexp x64 usage, i always build with host 2k3x64 (look signature) (thanks again and again a lot to galapo and nikzzz), if anyproblem occurs, please post.

your x64 may introduce some unforeseen issues and therefore best to start with a base build like lx--cxb.

I'll stick by that advice but it's good to know you've solved all possible x64 (Vista too!) issues! :confused1:

#18 Lancelot

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:52 PM

(post #9)
I'll stick by that advice but it's good to know you've solved all possible x64 (Vista too!) issues! :cheers:


ah i missed that post #9, i search for x64 :cheers: before posting, sorry.

A correction, i didnt solve, i report and try to help solution as much as (if) i can. Main solutions made by galapo and nikzzz, and dera helped a lot, and thanks for peter's support. (and all others) Besides that I only made small script fixes and documentation for x64 issues (and others).

Fleagle, please report anything when you use 'vista64 hostos' to build livexp. So far fixes made, solutions found :confused1:

#19 Fleagle

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:02 PM

Hey thanks, guys.

I didn't mean to cast any aspersions on the builds -- I was very greatful that they were there and appreciative of all the work that went into WinBuilder and the scripts. My problems were all due to my unfamilarity with the process, of course, some of the terminology. And to my knowledge, I've had NO problems with the 64-bit host OS.

The only thing I might suggest is a small prequel to the tutorial, something like, "So you don't know anything, but want to get started". It might have something like "Go here (link), start the program, download (X), change the following entrie(s) to (list of simple change, e.g. location of your CD) and press the big blue button. In other words something for a first time user to be successful with. Maybe my problem was thinking I knew more about what was going on than I did. It's quite likely that if I go back and view the tuitorial I'll smack my head and say, "Duh! It did say that, didn't it?"

At any rate, let me say this again: I am VERY greatful and appreciative of everything you guys have done and in no way saying that my problems were caused by anything less than my own ignorance. Remember, I was successful!

Fleagle

#20 amalux

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 01:40 AM

No problem, I appreciate the input and have made some changes that I hope will help.

I have some questions about your setup, how is the VM solution better than HD backup images which can be restored in 1-2 minutes to any setup stage, OS or configuration? Hard drive to hard drive or even machine to machine with universal restore. I'm just curious, always looking for different ways of doing things and which are best.

#21 Fleagle

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 04:44 AM

amalux,

I don't know that any solution is better than any other, all have their pros and cons. The main point is to have one. I think this one will work for me.

The VM solution means that I don't have to backup or restore hard drive to hard drive. Also, I don't have to copy anything to someone else's computer to run my stuff. By simply booting a PE disk and starting the VM Player, I can almost immediately be running "my production setup". When I'm done, I just remove the CD and unplug the drive leaving no traces behind. By the same token, running "portable apps" means that I don't have to have them installed into whatever Windows-based OS I may want to run, they just become plug and play applications and don't take up any resources when they're not being used. Yes, they do load a little slower and yes, I do have to ensure that all supporting routines are there between XP and Vista for example. But in general, I've found that Microsoft's WOW does a good job of ensuring that for me and I typically don't have to do anything. Portable Apps can also run from a menu on a Sandisk Cruzr USB stick (of course you can run a PE from a stick as well). I thought that might be my solution until I found out that not every computer can be made to boot from a stick through the BIOS.

There are things that you can't virtualize to a portable app via VMWare ThinApp: things like device drivers (scanners, printers) or really "hooked-in" apps like Outlook or ActiveSync. But I've been surprised how many things can run that way.

How I got started on the idea of using VM Player and a PE CD came about during Hurricane IKE. I was without power for two weeks, although I had family that did have power. I didn't feel comfortable "messing up" their computers by installing my stuff (even just the VM Player). But I had VM machines on a portable hard drive -- I just didn't have a way to acess them! Now between the PE CD and a shirt pocket USB HDD, I have my "computer in my pocket".

If I had a laptop, this all might have been moot, but my desktop is a bit heavy to haul around and tears my shirt when I try to get it into the pocket. My wife said to find another way, so here I am.

Fleagle

#22 amalux

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 05:06 PM

Fleagle,

All great points! AFAIK, all can be achieved wout the VM but you've made a convincing argument for it and it may afford additional flexibility I'm unaware of. You've piqued my interest in VM again and I might have to call on you for tips in my further exploration of its potential. Glad to have a resident VM expert to call on for advice :confused1:

#23 was_jaclaz

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 05:12 PM

If I had a laptop, this all might have been moot, but my desktop is a bit heavy to haul around and tears my shirt when I try to get it into the pocket. My wife said to find another way, so here I am.

FYI, yet another way:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=5880
(provided you have LARGISH pockets)

:confused1:

jaclaz

#24 sanbarrow

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:44 PM

Fleagle - have a look
A VM with 8 Gb RAM running on PE
http://sanbarrow.com...a8gbramesxi.png

Ulli