This is virtually amazing!

I’ve been wanting to change my main PC from Windows to Linux for ages, but held back because there are a few applications on it that I found didn’t have a Linux equivalent, such as the old version of OneNote that I like, and the Canon photographic utilities for my DSLR camera. The OneNote version is the one that just works on the local machine, rather than the newer one that insists on putting things “in the cloud”. I want my data here, not somewhere I am unable to control, and might get disconnected from. I have a strong dislike of dual booting systems, from back when they used to be a real pig to work with, and kept going wrong…

A lot of people have told me, “Oh, you can run your Windows software under Linux, using Wine”. There’s something wrong with me, as I never could get any of those programs to work in Wine. I think I prefer wine to Wine…

What I needed, clearly, was to keep a virtual copy of the PC, and run it on the Linux machine. And it turns out you can…

A while back, I had moved as much data as I could from C: to my 4 Terabyte D: drive, planning to keep the programs that used the data on the boot SSD.

First, I used VMware’s useful converter program, to make a virtual machine from the PC’s SSD. For some reason, VirtualBox isn’t yet able to do this. I’m more used to VirtualBox, which seems to have better support than VMware, so I fed VMware’s resulting virtual PC into a converter that outputs a VirtualBox machine.

Having saved that very carefully, in more than one place, I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon on a brand new SSD on the PC, and started the fun of getting used to it. It’s really good these days, and “just works”. I put VirtualBox and RealVNC on Mint, and found that my saved virtual Windows 10 computer ran just fine.

Well, actually not the first time, it didn’t. Reverting to Windows 10 was easy, because it was on the old SSD, and I was able to fix the things I had forgotten to do. There is a snag here, in that each time I return to Linux, the Data drive gets changed to a read only file system. There’s a simple fix for that snafu, that I will mention when I remember what it is.

Now, normally, I use a Chromebook around the house, to access the PC and all the little Raspberry Pi computers I run. Mrs Walrus seems to prefer to have me where she can see me, or maybe she likes my company, and I do an awful lot on what used to be her Chromebook. I was already using the Chrome browser on the Chromebook to do remote access to the Windows PC. To my absolute delight, when I fired that up, it connected to the virtualised PC on the Linux machine. When software is good, it can be very good indeed!

Soon, I must get the Chromebook to remote directly into Linux Mint as well. Mint is just fine using RealVNC Connect to work the Pi computers, so now I have more than one way to access them.

End of Part 1…

Me, wearing a Panama hat, spectacles, and a fine growth of facial hair.

Author: Walrus

Just this guy, you know. To be continued...