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VirtualBox Windows - Experiment and surf unrestrained

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Malware, broken registry, messed up settings? No matter. Installed in VirtualBox, you can reset Windows to its ideal state with two clicks. Thats how it works! A messed up Windows is no big deal: If this only affects a virtual counterpart in VirtualBox, reset it in no time. It only takes seconds and much faster than a new installation.

Although the operating system has become more secure and stable over time: Windows 10 defies malware better than a few years ago; the detection rates of Windows Defender are meanwhile competitive. You are usually spared from blue screens, similar to Windows 7/8 (.1). With normal behavior, Windows can be used for a number of years without the need to reinstall. However, if you are consciously using your PC in a risky manner, since you are interested in a registry hack, it may have been about the stability.

In addition, malware soon spills over onto the device when you visit a potentially infected website. If your browser has a security vulnerability for which an exploit (malicious program) embedded in the page is tailored, installs foreign code via a drive-by download. Then you lose control of your system. This cannot happen to you with a throwaway Windows. You build that withVirtualBox, a free virtualizer from Oracle. You install a test Windows in it and save it. If it hurts or if you want to restore an unused work environment for further experiments, you can reset everything at the push of a button.


>>Download VirtualBox Installer for Windows


VirtualBox: Create safepoints
In VirtualBox you run a PC in the PC: The program opens a window in which you install and boot an operating system of your choice. The installation proceeds as usual; If you delete and / or format the system partition during Windows setup, it is harmless: This does not affect your real C \ drive, but one that exists in the virtual environment. It is isolated from your PC. Once your virtual Windows is started, changes to it (installing programs, changing their settings, adjusting the Windows configuration, visiting damaged websites) only affect the second system. Your real OS almost always remains off the hook, especially since any malicious programs usually cannot break out of virtualization. However, phishing is very much a danger!

Perhaps the biggest advantage of virtualization is that you can take snapshots with VirtualBox, for example. Such safepoints record the status of the virtualized computer. It is also possible to create several backup points per virtual machine (VM); they often require a few gigabytes in total. Either when switching off the virtual PC (close the window of the second window) or if it has already been shut down, you can reset the pseudo-device with the backups: The status is thus an earlier one. If you wish, you can switch back and forth between older stands. In addition, it is not a problem if the virtualized Windows no longer starts up: If there is a safepoint, it can be used to repair it.

Create safe windows
Since you quickly discard the status of the virtualized operating system, the term "throwaway Windows" fits. Any Windows version can be installed: We have successfully tried it with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and many of the numerous Windows 10 major releases (1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709, 1803 , 1809, 1903, 1909, 2004, 20H2 et cetera).

Linux can also be installed. In the case of Linux, you get a throwaway Linux. This shines with the charm of special security: virtualization already offers increased protection, Linux is also inherently immune to Windows malware. Below you will find the requirements for VirtualBox and a disposable Windows and software and hardware side.

What do you need? You need a PC with enough storage space, 20 gigabytes per VM are ideal. More disk space is always better, since savepoints sometimes require hundreds of gigabytes in total. An SSD is better than a hard drive because not only the real PC, but also a virtualized throw-away Windows computer boots from it quickly. A Windows CD (Windows XP) or a Windows DVD (Windows Vista and higher) is essential. If you have a Windows setup stick, it is not just possible to install it in VirtualBox. An ISO file of the desired OS is best: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 can be downloaded free of charge.

You can obtain these OS from an official source. It dried up with Windows XP, Vista and 8 (.0); Windows 2000 cannot be loaded from Microsoft either. But there are ways and means to get there: An ISO of this OS can often be found on the Internet, with Windows XP / Vista even including the current Service Pack 3 or Service Pack 2. To run a virtual OS parallel to the real OS, sufficient RAM is necessary: 4 gigabytes (GB) are now considered to be little and are rather a minimum; 8 GB offer more space, but in the VM context it is often almost not enough, 16 GB is more contemporary, 32 GB and more are ideal for professionals.

They boot and operate several VMs in parallel and compare operating systems, for example, by operating the windows alternately. however, in the VM context, they are often very little, 16 GB is more contemporary, 32 GB and more are ideal for professionals. They boot and operate several VMs in parallel and compare operating systems, for example, by operating the windows alternately. however, in the VM context, they are often very little, 16 GB is more contemporary, 32 GB and more are ideal for professionals. They boot and operate several VMs in parallel and compare operating systems, for example, by operating the windows alternately.

Set up VirtualBox Installation
Make sure you have enough free space and you are using an SSD . If necessary, shovel free disk space, for example with CleverCleaner or Wise Disk Cleaner. Install and launch VirtualBox. During setup, click "Next" through the wizard and agree to a driver installation by Oracle Corporation. Right click on "New" or press Ctrl-N to create a virtual machine: A wizard opens.

Here you enter a name for your VM, such as "Windows 10 Test". The operating system you are virtualizing (guest) does not have to be the same as the correct system (host). Based on the name, VirtualBox correctly selects the setting next to "Version"; if this is not the case, open the drop-down menu and enter "Windows 10 (64-bit)" in the example.

After clicking on "Next" you can use the slider (mouse) or input field (keyboard) to specify how many megabytes of RAM the virtual machine should have. You should increase the specified value so that your VM has more air. However, it should not exceed 50 percent of your memory. Continue with "Next> Create".

In another window leave the setting at "VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)" and confirm with "Next". Under "Type of storage" you specify whether the VM should be "dynamically allocated" or have a "fixed size". In the first case, the VM grows according to your requirements; at first it takes up little storage space.

With a fixed size, your VM needs the full (selectable) disk space from the outset, regardless of the user data it contains, but is (in practice not noticeable) faster. Creating a VM with a fixed size takes longer. We recommend the dynamic growth option. Complete the wizard with "Next", optionally changing the size and clicking on "Create".

Install and optimize Windows in VirtualBox
At first your VM is still empty: You can change this by double-clicking on it. In the window that opens, you install Windows from an optical data carrier, for which you must ensure that the CD / DVD drive is selected in the drop-down field. Alternatively, the installation takes place via the yellow symbol with the green arrow pointing upwards: Click on it and in the window that opens click on "Add".

Navigate to the desired ISO file in the Explorer dialog. You highlight it and choose "Open> Select" and "Start". Windows installation begins. Follow the instructions from its setup wizard. For Windows 10, click on "I don't have a product key" to skip entering the serial number. Windows 8 (.1) are set up using a generic keyone that is suitable for installation but not for activation. Windows XP, like Windows 8 (.1), requires a key, Windows Vista / 7, in turn, similar to Windows 10, allows you to skip entering the key.

If you have Windows installed, start it in VirtualBox in the list on the left by double-clicking on its entry. After the boot screen, the desktop appears: Then set up the OS as you need it as a test environment. For example, you can add a browser (quickly done via ninite.com ) or change the wallpaper (even without Windows activation).

We recommend installing the guest add-ons: After that, it is better to use the emulated VirtualBox Windows. If you enlarge its window, the second window will also enlarge. This is not possible without the extensions. Furthermore, the extensions are the prerequisite for a shared clipboard for guest and host as well as for drag & drop between them. You can integrate the guest add-ons as a virtual drive using the VirtualBox menu bar in the guest OS: Select "Devices> Insert guest add-ons", open Explorer with Windows-E and double-click the drive and the EXE installer. Follow its instructions. At the end, restart Windows and activate either "Devices> Shared Clipboard> Bidirectional" or "Devices> Drag and Drop>" in VirtualBox.


Create VirtualBox safepoint
To backup Windows while it is running, select "Machine> Create Backup Point" in the VirtualBox menu bar. Optionally, change the name "Safepoint 1". Confirm with OK". If you have finished your VM and want to save it, this is done via the VirtualBox main window called "Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager": You mark your VM, select the three lines to the right of it, then "Save points" and click the "Create" button at the top . Now you can optionally enter a name, with "OK" complete the process.


Reset Windows VM
Resetting a VM window is done in one of two ways. Close the VirtualBox window (click on the X symbol at the top right, see title bar): Then make sure that there is a point under "Switch off the virtual machine" and a checkmark below that in front of "Return to backup point '<Individual backup name>' "is set. Confirm with OK". If you have already closed your VM, you can restore any backup point: Then (unlike when you exit) VirtualBox will not only offer you the most recent, but all backup data sets. In the VirtualBox Manager, right-click on a backup entry, such as "Backup Point 1", and select "Restore". You have the choice!

Delete safepoints
If the memory consumption by VirtualBox reaches exorbitant heights, you should clean up. You don't see the memory usage of your VM data in VirtualBox, but Windows Explorer shows less and less free GB on C \ over time. To clear out, delete individual VMs (if there are too many VMs). It is less drastic to get rid of VM backups: If necessary, switch to the "Save points" area in the VirtualBox interface via the hamburger symbol (the three lines). Right-click on one of the backup entries and select "Delete> Delete". Important: Always remove safepoints through VirtualBox.

If you were to do this manually in Explorer, VM starts could fail. Because the virtualization program must merge the changes within the backups with the virtual machines when they are deleted. If this does not happen, the VMs are in an inconsistent state - and are unusable. A final tip: You can access the VM files in the file system using VirtualBox: If you right-click a VM entry, the context command "Show in Explorer" leads to the relevant VDI file, among other things. As mentioned, you should not delete the files in the "Snapshots" subfolder via Explorer.

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