How To: Migrate a VirtualBox Windows 7 client to VMware Player

Step 0 – [Linux-specific instruction] When installing VMware Player, let it use /etc/init.d/ even if your system uses Systemd. After install you can create a service for vmware like this:


Start the service with systemctl start vmware to make sure it kicks off. If you want it to start automatically at boot use systemctl enable vmware.

Step 1 – Disable any devices in the virtual machine that run on VirtualBox/Oracle drivers.

Step 2 – Convert the VirtualBox.vdi hard drive to VMDK format via “vboxmanage clonehd source.vdi target.vmdk –format VMDK”

Step 3 – Launch vmplayer and create a new virtual machine. Say that you’ll add the operating system later and let it use a ‘single large drive’ or such.

Step 4 – Replace the default created .vmdk drive with the one you converted in step 2.

Step 5 – You can try booting your VM at this point – if it works, GREAT! But it’s likely to bluescreen with a 0x000007b error, if so you’ll need to follow the rest of the steps below:

With all that done, the Windows 7 client should boot in vmware player and start installing the VMware specific drivers.

Twiddles / Housekeeping

VM audio crackling? Live with it – it crackles for a few seconds then sorts itself out. Fixing it as per the below causes VM crashes with “vcpu-0 unexpected signal 11” errors.
In Windows client go: Control Panel | Hardware and Audio | Sound | Speakers | Properties | set it to 24-bit @ 44.1KHz or higher.

VM suspends and stops Linux host from suspending? Shut down the VM, then edit the .VMX file it and add the line suspend.disabled = “TRUE” then restart.

VM generating “spurius APIC interrupt on #CPU X, should never happen”? Edit /etc/vmware/config and add the line monitor_control.disable_hostedIPI = TRUE then restart VM.

VMware tools won’t install? Either try to find the ISO to mount and install from or install ncurses5-compat-libs – on Arch this is in the AUR at:

Windows 7 has a twisted sense of security

I’ve got some lecure materials to sort out for Monday so I’ve booted into Windows to use Office, and thought a bit of music might be in order. So I access the NAS and noticed that I could quickly tidy up the letter E section of my music by dragging one folder into another – and then this:

Windoes 7 - yo safe!
Windows 7 – Safe!

Thanks for protecting me from moving a folder of mp3s there champ. And especially for the informative warning message specifying the nature of the problem.

It turns out that the issue is that windows is treating your intranet like the Internet and not trusting it, and you can fix this up by either twiddling the “Internet Options” of Internet Explorer or simply removing Internet Explorer entirely. The entire process takes less than a minute, and there’s a good guide on how to add your NAS to the known intranet addresses here:

Finally, as tempting as it is to remove IE entirely, might I suggest that this might not be a 100% wonderful idea (95%, yes..) because some (specialist / rubbish /silverlight-lovin’/ virtual-app-on-demand-type) websites will only work with IE, and if you really need to use one and don’t have it installed you’ll be miz.

How-To: Install the latest version of Wine in LMDE

Wine Logo transparent backgroundFeb 2013 Update: More recent versions of Wine are now available in the standard LMDE repositories, so skip all the headache below and just install Wine with a s swift sudo apt-get install wine and you’re done!

The Wine “not-emulator” allows you to run Windows software under Linux, but the version in the Debian testing repos (themselves cutting edge) is pretty old, at time of writing it’s a 1.3.6 variant, while Wine 1.5.0+ is now available. Unfortunately, upgrading can be a bit of a pig if you want to build Wine yourself, so a far better solution is to find some Debian binaries and install them. So let’s do that…

Getting the Debian binaries

Wine binaries are available for a whole heap of different platforms, distros and architectures from, but in this case I’m installing on Debian, so if you are too, head on over to and grab the following packages (either 32 or 64 bit, depending on your architecture – I’m using 64-bit LMDE so I’ll use the 64-bit package names for this quick guide):

  • libwine-alsa-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-bin-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-capi-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-cms-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-dbg-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-dev-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-gl-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-gphoto2-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-ldap-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-openal-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-oss-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-print-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-sane-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • libwine-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • wine-bin-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb
  • wine-unstable_1.5.0-0.2_amd64.deb

Satisfying Dependencies

jp helpfully provided details that for the above packages to install without issue, you’ll first need to install the packages:

  • libc6-i386
  • lib32asound2
  • libc6-dev-i386

So do that via your mechanism of choice, for example, if you use apt-get then you can install them though a simple:

Replacing Wine

Before you can install any new Wine stuff, you’ll first have to uninstall the wine package. Do that through whatever means you feel most comfortable with, ya know, synaptic, apt, dpkg etc.

Once that’s done, you’ll want to install all the libwine packages through dpkg (to be honest, you might not need them all – but it doesn’t hurt, and you’ll certainly need most of them).

To install all the libs, open up the location you saved all the .deb files to in the console, and run:

Once that’s completed successfully, in the same location run:

And finally, in the same location again, run:

Almost done!

Getting the gecko engine

At this point we’re 99% complete, we just need to launch winecfg and let it install the Gecko engine for web-browser shenanigans (again, you might not need this – but there’s no harm in it, and Wine’ll moan at you about it if you don’t). So just run:

And when it prompts you about gecko, just click on [Install].


New cutting-edge Wine goodness is now yours to play with, although from this point on you won’t get automatically updated as wine won’t be installed from any repository. For this reason, it’s worth holding onto all the debs so you can uninstall them with ease via a swift sudo dpkg -P *.deb (-P for purge) if at a later date you want to go back to the repo version.

As Bryant would say – Drink some for me, eh, pal? ;)

The 12 steps of Windows anonymous

Saw this on the net somewhere and it made me grin so I thought I’d share…

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over Microsoft Windows and that our computers had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that an operating system greater than Microsoft Windows could restore us to greater productivity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our hardware and data over to the care of better software as we understood it.
  4. Made a fearless and searching inventory of our wrecked data, wasted time and thrashed hard drive.
  5. Admitted to our higher power, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of Microsoft Windows.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Linux remove all of these defects from our computers and from our working lives.
  7. Checked that our hardware was compatible with Linux.
  8. Made a backup of all files that Microsoft Windows had harmed.
  9. Corrected data to such files where possible, except where such corrections would harm other files.
  10. Humbly installed Linux onto our hard drives.
  11. Searched through man pages, HOWTOs , the Internet and Slashdot, to improve our understanding and use of Linux.
  12. Having had a productive awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to windowholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

Microsoft - How about a nice cup of fuck offFlippancy aside, once you make the switch to Linux, I’d say that it’s pretty unlikely that you’d ever willingly go back to running Windows as your main OS – because overall, and once you get used to it, Linux is simply better.

This isn’t to say that a *nix system will do you for absolutely everything – I still run a little MS Office in a Windows 7 virtual machine (via VirtualBox) because it makes life easier to be able to natively edit docx files and powerpoints for work, but that’s pretty much it. So I guess the message here doesn’t have to be abstinence but moderation. If you’ve got high-end Windows-only applications that you can’t live without and which require 3D hardware acceleration, then you’re pretty much stuck, but any other 2D Windows apps tend to work just fine under virtualisation (Flash, Photoshop, Office etc). The only thing that’s not so good under Linux is gaming (and this can be a deal breaker for many people), but if I want to game these days I just get on the 360 or PS3 anyways, and if PC gaming’s really your thing then you can always run a large number Windows games under Wine.

If you’re going to try out a *nix, most distros (Linux distributions i.e. flavours of Linux) allow you to try out the OS entirely from CD or DVD and make zero changes to your hard drive, and then you can install it later if you like, or not. Linux will also happily sit beside Windows in a dual-boot configuration so you can choose which OS to boot at startup. One thing to add though is that you shouldn’t judge the performance you get from a live distro instance as anywhere near the performance you’ll get from a proper install – running an OS from a disc (as opposed to hard drive) is really pretty slow and clunky, but the facility exists if you just want to have a look around, or take a Linux distro around with you. A better solution (even for trialling a distro) would be to find a USB stick which is a couple of GB in size, and then install the distro to that and boot it. If that appeals, then a list of USB compatible distros can be found here (Ubuntu’s included via the bundled usb-creator tool).

Microsoft Monopoly T-ShirtThe main problem with trying to convert people to *nix (apart from the whole zealotry thing, and that Windows users are commonly happy with their lot, as they [usually] don’t know how much better things can be) is that it’s different to Windows. The interface is different, things work a little differently, and if something doesn’t work perfectly out of the box then it can be tricky for newcomers to fix. Also, nobody likes change – so there’s definitely an inertia thing involved too. But if you stick with it, put in a little time and effort, and look up how to fix stuff on sites like UbuntuForums, you’ll be rewarded ten-fold with an OS that does exactly what you want, when you want it done, quickly and stably – for free!

There are stacks of distributions out there, geared towards things like multimedia, stability, security, flexibility or ease-of-use – why not have a look to see if there’s one there that speaks to you? I mean, what have you got to lose? If I had to recommend one, I’d have to say most standard to advanced users should be happy enough with either stock Ubuntu or Linux Mint (a customised version of Ubuntu with tweaks and improvements for eye-candy and ease-of-use).

Finally, if you want to see how people have customised their *nix desktops, check out UnixPorn (tagline: It’s not Porn, it’s Unix!) – I even have an old desktop up there ;)

Bonus Gubbins: That UnixPorn desktop was kinda old and Windows-y, so I’ve just posted my current desktop setup which uses Jix’s Artistic Wallpaper HD no logo along with Kouri1977’s Streets theme for conky (which uses the bring tha noize and the B.O.M.B fonts):

r3dux Desktop - June 2011
The CPU/RAM etc. counters along the bottom update at 1 second intervals - conky is sweet =D

Anyways, if you’re not already converted, are you maybe tempted? If not, why not? I’d love to know, and as always, comments/flames are always welcome =D