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I currently have a dual boot 120 GB HDD, with Windows XP on sda1, Linux (Ubuntu 11.04) OS on sda6 and Linux /home on sda7 partitions.

When I want to use the only remaining Windows program that I need (MMoney), I boot into my existing Windows partition.

I want to cease using Windows because I do not want to continue to have to maintain and update Windows security and other patches or worry about security breaches. I have given up on Wine (very frustrating). So I thought I'd install Windows XP as a guest OS in VirtualBox. In so doing, here are my basic questions:

1) If I install XP as a guest OP in VirtualBox, will I still need to maintain/update Windows regularly as I do now on its existing sda1 partition to keep it secure?

2) Is it recommended/better to install VirtualBox on a new, separate partition instead of on my current sda7 (/home) partition?

3) Does VirtualBox really require a minimum 20GB HDD space?

4) Does the memory dedicated to VirtualBox reduce the memory available to Windows only when running a VirtualBox machine, or all the time?

Anything else I should know? Thanks for helping out a beginner!

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What is "Windows exP"? –  ændrük Jun 9 '11 at 15:53
    
These would work better as individual questions so you can accept an answer for each one. –  Jorge Castro Jun 9 '11 at 17:30
    
@user12809 If possible, please consider closing some of your other open questions by selecting the best answer (if they have one). Consider which answers have been useful and need an upvote. We need users to maintain their questions so that the site can be an effective tool for the next person with your problems. For more details on best practices consider reading the FAQ on asking questions. –  fossfreedom Mar 11 '12 at 13:21

2 Answers 2

1) If I install exP as a guest OP in VirtualBox, will I still need to maintain/update Windows regularly as I do now on its existing sda1 partition to keep it secure?

Yes and No - If you intend to access the internet then you'll need to regularly update your windows XP virtual guest. However, if you edit the virtual box network settings and disable the network adapter - then you'll have a very isolated virtual guest, both to ubuntu and the outside world!

2) Is it recommended/better to install VirtualBox on a new, separate partition instead of on my current sda7 (/home) partition?

There isn't a strong recommendation either way - it depends. If you like to regularly backup your home partition but dont want to regularly backup your guest virtuals, then put your guest virtuals on a dedicated partition you will not often backup.

3) Does VirtualBox really require a minimum 20GB hhd space?

VirtualBox requirements are described here - it says 30MB (megabytes not gigabytes).

You could try to remove unwanted files yourself such as help etc. - however if you are short of disk space - then virtualisation isnt really for you, because you need to allocate large chunks of disk space for your virtual guests.

4) Does the memory dedicated to VirtualBox reduce the memory available to Windows only when running a VirtualBox machine, or all the time?

The amount of memory virtualbox allocates to windows is up-to you when you define the guest settings. Your ubuntu host will obviously suffer if you try to overallocate more than the recommended memory settings.

If you are not running a virtual guest, virtualbox itself doesn't "reserve" any extra memory (i.e. the amount you have allocated to the guest) other than for just running the virtualbox application itself.

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If it's only one single, not 3D-graphics dependend, and not Wine compatible application you need to run it is a good idea to do this in a virtual machine such as Virtual Box.

By doing so you will have the same limitations to your virtual guest OS as you have from a real install. That is, if your virtual OS is connected to the internet you are faced the same risks. This is why it is recommended to have an anti-virus software running on the virtual OS, or to never connect this virtual machine to the internet.

The virtual OS will be installed in a file on your host Ubuntu hard disk (preferably in your HOME to ease backups) that will grow up to the limit you defined when installing the virtual hard disk. Therefore there is no need to limit the disk space beforehand.

To further reduce hard disk usage you may consider to install a reduced version of Windows XP, e.g. by removing unwanted programs with nLite.

Memory usage for Virtual Box depends on the application you are running. Try not to allocate more than half of your installed RAM to the virtual machine to avoid problems from the host. A minimum of 512 MB is needed to run XP.

I recommend you install virtual box by adding the repository from Oracle to your sources to make sure you have recent updates.

Also you may need to install dkms to avoid problems after host kernel updates. After installation of virtual box you will also need to install GuestAdditions for full features.

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