Tuesday, August 16, 2011

VMware Player

To test my applications under Linux, I have decided to install the VMware Player from VMware.  It is a free product, so I made an easy decision to check it out.  I have been using Microsoft Virtual PC for over a year with my Windows 7 64-bit operating system on my laptop/development machine.  I installed it to accommodate a client who purchased two machines with Windows 7 x64 installed.  With Windows 7 x64, Superbase must run in a virtual machine inside a 32-bit Windows OS.  Superbase installs and runs fine in 32-bit versions of Windows, but needs help in 64-bit versions.  That is why I am converting my application to SIMPOL.

Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP-Mode are free downloads from Microsoft for licensed copies of Windows 7 Professional and higher.  They are not available for the Home editions.  Windows Virtual PC is the Microsoft program that runs virtual machines.  Windows XP Mode is the Windows XP-sp3 version that is licensed to run on Windows 7 Professional and higher. 

Windows XP Mode under Windows Virtual PC works pretty well, but there are a few issues: 
  1.  Getting printers to work was a bit difficult.  
  2.  Setting up virtual applications are difficult.  They are applications running in the virtual machine, but the VM is hidden and the application is launched from a shortcut on the host machine's desktop and displays as though it was running natively on the host. I know the tricks to doing that now, but spent much more time than I wanted to learn what worked and what did not.  
  3. Some times the virtual application cannot connect to shared folders on the host.  If that happens I may have to shut down the VM and reopen.  That is OK for me, but I don't like training clients to do that and they don't want the hassle of needing to do that.
  4. Most disturbing to me is that the Superbase program editor can be quite laggy.  Not always, but more often than not, I must wait one to several seconds for the cursor to move or my keystrokes to appear.  This is not normal behavior when running Superbase in a native OS.
For those reasons, I wanted to try an alternative to Windows Virtual PC, so I downloaded and installed the (free) VMware Player.  The current version (3.1.4)  can import Windows XP Mode machines.  Here are the best instructions I found for how to do it.  Unfortunately, the instructions are for a newly installed XP Mode Machine.  Mine has been installed for over a 18 months and I have several applications installed.  I can import it, but cannot run it without crashing the VM.  I posted a note in the VMware online support community asking what to do.  Now I need to wait for a response. 

I'm also waiting on two issues from SIMPOL tech support.  Hopefully I will have a usable response from someone tomorrow. 

-djinks         Apps and Services: www.jinksinc.com


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