Creating virtual machines RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am starting on my MCITP Server Administration. I need to create some virtual machines in order to do the practice labs. I have Windows Vista and I need to create several virtual machines with Windows 7. Can I create virtual machines that mirror my current OS then install Windows 7 using the free enterprise version MS offers? If so, how, and what software do you recommend to create the virtual machines? Any helpful articles on creating and using virtual machines would be great, as I don't have a lot of experience creating them.
    Monday, December 6, 2010 2:30 AM


  • Hi,

    when you want to do practice labs, I would not recommend to mirror your existing OS first. A clean build is always best to start with (At least that is my experience).

    What I loved to use in the past is Windows Virtual Server (If you have a powerfull machine and you want to run the vms always in the background). This is still a valid solution, even that this product was moved into Windows Server and is no longer available as seperate product.

    If you want to start the systems manualy on your desk, all products can be nice: Virtual PC and Virtualbox are both available for free. VMware is nice but needs a license (ok, you can use the player and create your VMs with different tools but that way you miss a lot of features).

    I didn't like the VMware server. It seems like a unfinished product to me. (Some settings are in the Web-Frontend, others are in a seperate fat client and a lot of settings cannot be done in the GUI and must be done directly in the config file. At least that was my experience when I worked with it in the past. So I do NOT recommend this!)

    And of course: a good solution is always an ESX server or so. But that requires a complete seperate hardware just fo VMs. (VMware is very good in this area so my judgement regarding vmwar server does not cover ESX at all! ESX is great and even provides a good and great API through Webservices!) But there are also other solutions but I do not list them by now because I understood that you was looking for desktop solutions.

    Using VMs is quite easy. The only additional layer you get is the hardware configuration. So you can create a special network configuration. But that all depends on your needs so it is hard to give you any hints.

    And creating the VMs: I always install them from scratch. If you want to build up systems more often, you could check how you can automate the setup so there is no requirement for user input. But my experience is, that this is not required with VMs. You can also install one fresh VM and then Copy / Clone it. After that you simply change the hostname / add the system to AD and then you are done. :)

    I hope this helped a little.

    With kind regards,


    • Marked as answer by Rubel Khan Monday, December 20, 2010 3:47 AM
    Monday, December 6, 2010 5:44 AM