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Linux in VirtualBox without admin rights (Windows host)

Started by Darren Dirt, June 26, 2014, 11:20:00 AM

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Darren Dirt

June 26, 2014, 11:20:00 AM Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:25:57 AM by Darren Dirt
Linux in VirtualBox without admin rights (on a Windows 7 host) -- is it possible?

I want to play around with Linux during lunchtime @ work (Odin Project, ldo) and I don't want to use my 2nd machine (a "lab machine" which means it's less restricted but not on the main network).


So I did some Googling, looks like it's pretty much impossible due to how [hardware] virtualization actually works. But maybe I am missing something. Help?



But if not, if it is impossible, then seems the next best thing for me to try is to just have a bootable USB with my Linux distro (perhaps initially will have to just use a clean .ISO and then after installing/configuring just somehow make a "snapshot" of the USB so I don't have to redo all that work if I end up "breaking" it etc.)


So I found this -- Tom etc. might know whether this would do the trick (or if there is a better option)

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/#faq

I'm hoping to be able to have a USB that lets me run a VDI (or whatever the common format is for virtual disk images etc.) so that I don't have to reboot to do my stuff... but would love if that USB could have both Linux data (the machine I'm playing around with) but ALSO have Windows data (a bunch of text files logging what I'm doing, notes to my self, some Windows apps or whatnot etc.)

I'm probably insane to expect this to be possible, let alone relatively simple.


IDEAL is that I would never have to reboot, could just run the VM right off the USB drive while still logged into my Windows 7 machine (so at 1pm I don't have to reboot to get back into "work mode").


Ideas?

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Mr. Analog

I used to have 3 Ubuntu based virtual box environments set up,  that was ages ago though. Maybe I don't understand your problem?
By Grabthar's Hammer

Darren Dirt

June 26, 2014, 11:25:47 AM #2 Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 11:30:02 AM by Darren Dirt
Quote from: Mr. Analog on June 26, 2014, 11:23:21 AM
I used to have 3 Ubuntu based virtual box environments set up,  that was ages ago though. Maybe I don't understand your problem?


Main thing is that I can not install anything on my work machine, so can't even run VirtualBox (since there's no "portable" version of it , due to how hardware virtualization works apparently) so even if I do all the initial work @ home and build a nice VDI there's no way of me doing anything with it @ work ... which is why I suspect Linux on USB is the way I'll end up having to go.

Setting up the virtualbox environment ain't the challenge for me, it's actually accessing it @ work.


As a reminder, I would likely be doing the initial setup (and most of the coursework) at home where obv. no permissions restrictions -- but would like to move back and forth home<-->work; once it's plugged in @ work it's on a locked down machine so can't install anything or change registry settings or configurations etc -- heck at work I can't even launch "diskpart"!



Also just found this...
"Persistence" caught my attention -- http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/help/faq/persistence
but also the "don't have to reboot to get into Linux" made go "RLY?" http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/features

...will maybe try that @ lunch.
-or NOT: "In order to run LinuxLive USB Creator you must have local administrator privileges on your computer." (  http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/download )

Maybe I can "build it" @ home and then access it @ work [/optimism]
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Darren Dirt

Also found this...
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/portable-virtualbox.html
"Being able to run a virtualization product from a USB key sounds like an interesting idea. In general, virtualization products are heavy creatures, which require a solid foothold in the system innards to work well. VirtualBox breaks these rules.

VirtualBox is an exception in being able to run from a USB drive, without being installed on the machine. This offers you incredible flexibility, as well as allows you to avoid cluttering the hard disk - especially if it's not yours."


but...

http://www.vbox.me/
"Note: VirtualBox needs several kernel drivers installed and needs to start several services: if the drivers and services are not already installed you?ll need administrator rights to run Portable-VirtualBox."


...option #2:
Alternative: MojoPac
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/mojopac.html

hmmm...
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Mr. Analog

What about cloud virtualization? Then you could play with it anywhere
By Grabthar's Hammer

Tom

There is a project called UML or User Mode Linux. I remember running a program that essentially just ran the kernel, which then provided its own user space inside. I'm not sure how graphics work, but I know ssh worked fine.
<Zapata Prime> I smell Stanley... And he smells good!!!

Thorin

Likely your path of least resistance is to bring in a LiveCD, pop it in the drive, reboot your machine from CD, play with Linux for an hour, then reboot to Windows when lunchtime is done.  I think the path of second-least resistance would be renting a server that you can remotely connect to, like Mr. A says.

Or if you have some money, buy a cheap laptop and get a mobile internet stick, then you don't have to follow any of your employer's network rules (as long as you're only on it during the lunch hour, I guess).  Tom, you think he'd be able to to get a cheap laptop that's good enough to run Linux for under $500?  I've heard that Linux doesn't need nearly as much hardware power as Windows...
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Tom

Quote from: Thorin on June 26, 2014, 01:01:50 PM
Likely your path of least resistance is to bring in a LiveCD, pop it in the drive, reboot your machine from CD, play with Linux for an hour, then reboot to Windows when lunchtime is done.  I think the path of second-least resistance would be renting a server that you can remotely connect to, like Mr. A says.

Or if you have some money, buy a cheap laptop and get a mobile internet stick, then you don't have to follow any of your employer's network rules (as long as you're only on it during the lunch hour, I guess).  Tom, you think he'd be able to to get a cheap laptop that's good enough to run Linux for under $500?  I've heard that Linux doesn't need nearly as much hardware power as Windows...
Yeah, I got a refurb lenovo x220 on ebay for $400 or so. You can get cheaper if you don't really care about the hardware all that much.

Just avoid newer ubuntu's, gnome 3, and kde4 with compositing enabled if you end up getting an older laptop with an old intel gpu. like pre-pre sandybridge stuff.

Otherwise, look for a decently modern core i based system with at least 2GB ram, if not 4+. personally 4 is the min for me, and I got my x220 with 8GB. One thing that'll help performance a lot is just swap in an ssd right away. even a cheap 120 or 240gb one. they are getting stupid cheap these days. 60-160$ depending on size/mfgr.
<Zapata Prime> I smell Stanley... And he smells good!!!

Mr. Analog

Oh yeah. I have an old dell laptop you can have.  It'll run Linux just fine. The battery won't hold a charge but it's yours if you want it
By Grabthar's Hammer

Darren Dirt

June 26, 2014, 02:12:23 PM #9 Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 02:27:19 PM by Darren Dirt
Quote from: Thorin on June 26, 2014, 01:01:50 PM
Likely your path of least resistance is to bring in a LiveCD, pop it in the drive, reboot your machine from CD, play with Linux for an hour, then reboot to Windows when lunchtime is done.  I think the path of second-least resistance would be renting a server that you can remotely connect to, like Mr. A says.

That's the boat I'm likely going to be in -- either that or lug around a basic laptop on days where I feel like I'll be able to take a full lunch HOUR and do some non-work work...



Quote from: Tom on June 26, 2014, 01:07:02 PM
Just avoid newer ubuntu's, gnome 3, and kde4 with compositing enabled if you end up getting an older laptop with an old intel gpu. like pre-pre sandybridge stuff.


Why?

With my initial playing around @ home I had given the latest Gnewsense a try; it's "truly" free -- http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html -- and it has Gnome 3 which is the basic GUI which I am quite familiar with now (due to Oracle Linux 5/6 being what I splashed around in during all of June). Seems like it's not too processor-heavy, no need for me to have fancyschmancy GUI I just want to be able to install basic web server and Ruby and whatever other supporting pieces for the Odin Project stuff...



Quote from: Mr. Analog on June 26, 2014, 01:16:41 PM
Oh yeah. I have an old dell laptop you can have.  It'll run Linux just fine. The battery won't hold a charge but it's yours if you want it


Thanks dude! Def no harm in trying it out (leaving it plugged in when I need it if the battery is that bad) and as a bonus nobody @ home will be tempted to borrow it ;)



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Mr. Analog

Ok, I'll reformat it here in a couple days and it'll be yours
By Grabthar's Hammer

Darren Dirt

Quote from: Mr. Analog on June 26, 2014, 02:29:15 PM
Ok, I'll reformat it here in a couple days and it'll be yours


No rush bro! I have a few days off between Friday and next holiday Tuesday but if not there's other stuff I can (and should) be doing to fill in the time too. Currently have the family laptop @ home and the kids are done school so I can just hop on that for a while anyway.


But momentum is building; been months coming but can't deny I am definitely feeling ... shall we say, MOTIVATED -- spent a bit of time this week on and off reading the transcripts from the Standing Committee on Alberta?s Economic Future public input meetings all around Alberta. Time to be proactive re. my personal future...
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Mr. Analog

If I don't prioritize it it won't get done.

I'll try to boot it up tonight and see what's what
By Grabthar's Hammer

Thorin

Quote from: Darren Dirt on June 26, 2014, 03:22:32 PM
But momentum is building; been months coming but can't deny I am definitely feeling ... shall we say, MOTIVATED -- spent a bit of time this week on and off reading the transcripts from the Standing Committee on Alberta?s Economic Future public input meetings all around Alberta. Time to be proactive re. my personal future...


Okay, that link leads to a lot of text.  Are you trying to imply something with it?  Also, did you read everything everyone said, or just skimmed the transcripts?
Prayin' for a 20!

gcc thorin.c -pedantic -o Thorin
compile successful

Darren Dirt

June 26, 2014, 03:51:38 PM #14 Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 03:55:14 PM by Darren Dirt
That page has a link (PDF, HTML) to the transcript for EACH of the many in-person townhall meeting type of things that have been happening over the last few weeks all around Alberta.

I picked 3 of them* and read almost every individual's personal story. Was moving, sad, and motivating.

Bill 9 is gonna die, no doubt. But in 2-10 years who knows what else is coming that might be less offensive or less visible... Hence, one selling point for people chooinsg public sector over private = going going soon to be virtually gone. Gets me thinking I have plenty of time to change career path.


*(Wednesday, June 18, 2014 Public Input Meeting in Grande Prairie) , (Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Public Input Meeting in Fort McMurray) , (Monday, June 16, 2014 Public Input Meeting in Edmonton) -- the 3 biggest cities up to that point (started looking at them on Monday, kept browser windows open until lunchtime today)


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