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A virtual odyssey on a Linux host

Now that Win8 has finally been released and leaked I gave it a try in order to have an opinion of my own. I have to admit I'm prejudiced. But never the less I went through with it.

I installed Win8 in a VirtualBox on a Linux host.

Conclusion

Screen Shots

Installation Booting Setup More Setup Even More Setup Account Setup More Account Setup Home Display Lock Screen Loading a window on the desktop Control Panel VM not supported by Win8 Performance Report

One thing that has not changed in the Microsoft world is the time required to install Windows. As you can see below it took me an hour to install Windows, but only Windows. But in the goold old days of Win2k and WinXP I also managed to install all the additional software I needed.

The memory usage in the virtual machine seems quite feasible, but not being able to turn off desktop compositing, that looks quite a lot like late 1990s Linux window managers (e.g. IceWM), is disturbing like hell. Even on my old notebook with a Pentium III processor I managed to get fancier optics.

Win8 clearly is designed for tablets, but has some hidden "treasures".  The Control Panel still offers good old tools like "Computer Management". Microsoft tries to sell you a Microsoft account like Google on Android, but fortunately one can still create local users. I assume without a Microsoft account you will not get any updates nor programs from Microsoft.

Win8 definetly is no innovation to the desktop environment. You can like the new graphics or not, I simply call it dead weight.

If you need Windows as a physical or virtual installation, keep your WinXP. And if you're a Linux fan, Win8 definetly is no reason to sail back to the (in)secure habour of Redmond.

Setup

The host

  • Ubuntu 12.04 (64bit)
  • AMD Phenom 9500
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600GT
  • 4 GB RAM

The guest

  • Windows 8 (64bit)
  • 1 CPU core
  • 2GB RAM
  • 256MB graphic card memory

Installation

10:30 - Booting blank VM from Win8 disk.

10:42 - Installer has finally loaded and is doing something.

10:50 - Win is rebooting.

10:53 - Message "Getting devices ready".

10:54 - Message "Getting ready" & Rebooting.

11:02 - VM not responding.

11:04 - Powering off and fresh boot.

11:05 - Personalizing & Settings setup.

11:11 - Finalizing settings & stupid video.

11:13 - Finally got the home display.

11:15 - Installing VBox Guest Additions. VM gets terribly slow.

11:17 - Linux host gets slow -> Shutting down VM with ACPI event.

11:19 - VM only logged off -> Retrying ACPI event.

11:22 - Still not shut down -> Powering off.

11:23 - Lock screen after restart.

11:33 - Finally found Control Panel & getting "eye cancer" from cyan desktop, white window background and dark green text.

12:00 - Despite many online resources [2,3] telling that desktop transparency has been removed from Win8 I clearly can see a couple of transparent elements, namely the task bar. Some Googling shows that desktop compositing and the AeroGlass engine are turned on by default and cannot be turned off. At least I found no means to turn it off within 30 minutes.

References

  1. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/hh848042%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
  2. http://www.cyberkey.in/2012/06/leaked-microsoft-remove-aero-glass-from.html
  3. http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Windows-8-kursiert-bereits-im-Netz-1659749.html