Virtual OS information.....are there such?

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Are there programs that let you run an OS virtually?
I don't want to boot to the selected OS but run it in a window from
within the current OS?
I know I'm not doing a very good job of describing what I'm looking
for, be perhaps someone can understand what I'm trying to say well
enough to make a suggestion.

It would be nice if I could run a Virtual window of XP and test a
program to see if it has a virus, or just install it and play, but
when I shut the window, it all goes away.  Nothing was really
installed, nothing really messed up by the virus.

I'd be able to play old software under it native OS.

If someone can make a suggestion for something that can do this,
free/share ware or payware, or even tell me what this type of software
would be called, I'd be grateful.

Also, something that would be very easy to install and set up would be
I'm sure I'll have to have my original OS disks, right? but that is no


Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

Ron Cliborn wrote:

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VMWare Server (free - the one I use; I've also tested the others)
Virtual PC (free, now owned by Microsoft)
VirtualBox (from Sun)

Note that running Windows within a virtual machine qualifies as another
computer.  That means you need another license of Windows for each
virtual machine that you have running at the same time.  You'll need a
license for the host OS (on which the VM runs) and another license for
each running VM - *if* they are Windows.  For Windows, it doesn't matter
if you can find your original install CD since that license is inuse by
the host Windows on which you are running the VM.  One of the drawbacks
to using VMs is that you need a license for Windows for the host OS and
for each VM that is running.

Be aware that testing for malware in unknown software may not work
inside a VM.  There are only a handful of specially designed test
programs that can punch out of a VM.  However, malware can detect if it
is running inside a VM or sandbox and, if it sees that environment, then
it will remain quiescent.  It stays dormant when virtualized, sandboxed,
or policy enforcement would prevent its behavior.  The malware can check
on the emulated hardware to see it is in a VM, it can test for system
API hooking to see if it is in a VM or sandbox, and there are several
other ways to detect a VM or sandbox.  Because of the IA86 instruction
set, any program can tell it is inside a VM.  VMs emulate all hardware
except the CPU.  System emulators also virtualize the CPU so malware may
not detect it's in a virtualized environment but there are still timing
tests to do the detection.

If you want to test unknown software, first start in a VM running a
clean install of your platform OS, then test in a VM of that OS but
which has antivirus and other anti-malware programs (not all of which
need to be running but merely used as a scanner), then inside a sandbox,
then with disk protection software to quickly flatten and rebuild the
disk partition by dumping cached changes (Returnil, ShadowSurfer) with
or without policy enforcement (GeSWall), and then in your production
environment (with or without GeSWall).  However, it is still possible
for malware to remain dark under all these scenarios and only exhibit
its behaviors when not under the thumb of protection software.  You
might want to look at using HIPS (host intrusion protection system)
software, like Comodo's firewall and it Defense+, System Safety Monitor,
or others but then you'll have to know how to answer all the prompts
about what program is allowed to load and what behaviors it is allowed
to exercise.

You can get into having too much security.  The more security, the
slower response you'll get from your system.  Interrogation and
protection always incurs a time penalty.  I use VMWare Server to test
unknown software (where one VM is a clean OS install and another has
anti-malware software), then progress to my production environment but
with Returnil enabled so I can reboot to toss any changes during
testing, and lastly use Comodo v3 and Avast in my production
environment.  I got rid of GeSWall (free version is just too crippled)
and might add Sandboxie (but that turns into once-a-day nagware after a
month) to test before then using Returnil.

Of course, having daily incremental image backups lets me step back to a
physical state of the disk partition before the pest showed up so it is
my last protection.  Malware could stay dark when inside a box and wait
until you let it out of the box and into your production environment.

If you want to see how complicated it can be and how malware can still
defeat VMs, sandboxes, disk protection, HIPS, and anti-malware, read:

Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

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Take a look at Sandboxie.  The link to the site is:

Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

GlowingBlueMist wrote:

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Sandboxies is NOT a virtual machine.  Intercepting and redirection of a
few system APIs does not make a virtual machine.

Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

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To run a complete OS in the manner you describe you need to look
at one of the various virtualisation packages - VMWare and Xen come
to mind.  This allow the OS you run within the 'window' to be
different to that in primary use which can be incredibly useful if
like me you often find yourself need odd platforms.  You can also
run the same OS of course, and the rest of the system is protected
from any changes that may be made in the secondary system.

For the specific case of protecting Windows from Windows apps, thee
are also various sandbox packages out there that attempt to offer
simialr levels of protection.  I have limited experience of these
but to be honest I wouldn't recommend that approach - of the packages
I've seen they are either too restrictive in terms of what they
will allow the protected app to do or conversely they don't provide
full protection to the host machine.  It's a nice idea but ultimately
difficult to do right.

Andrew Smallshaw

Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

Ronald@WhatcanIgetfor10dollars.Com says...
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 Yes, but not virtually any OS.

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 What OS do you want to run in a virtual window?

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 And what OS do you want to run this virtual OS window on?
Do you have all the licences to do this legally?

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 Doable, but be aware there are some restictions. All the
virtualization packages I've seen give you generic virtualized
hardware. Running Crysis would be impossible.

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Re: Virtual OS information.....are there such?

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Virtualbox. Freeware. Also has network support etc.


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