VirtualBox: Vaio Tablet with Windows XP Guest OS

Just receiving the latest gadget last month from Sony, a Windows 8 based tablet PC called as Sony's VAIO Duo 11. It’s my first Win based tablet PC review anyway before having hands-in-hands next with Samsung ATIV family. Actually, this also becomes my experiment with VirtualBox since my last attempt about 6 years ago. However, there’s only co-incident why I wrote about both different things (the VAIO and VirtualBox). So, here’s below the tales, the why and how…

Sony Tablet PC
Why was that Sony engineers had created this touchy things with “huge” 11.6in LCD with so high-res screen? Even with Windows 8, everything wasn’t too awesome – except the Metro icons in the first interface. I thought that it wouldn’t be suitable for hi-mobility person however, since this thing is too heavy to carry.


The backside frame architecture similar to Nokia E7 – slide the screen to use physical keyboard. That’s why this tablet looks heavy - it has built-in keyboard inside it screen. Feel so futuristic for anyone who ever sees it for the first time, but not for me :)


With 11.6in screen, the keyboard very comfort to use. Even it had a black spot touch-pad similar to Blackberry handheld that also fun enough. This might be the answer, why the engineers made “bulky” tablet just to provide a smooth keyboard inside the LCD screen.

Windows 8
This was my first experience with Windows 8 and it just great at all. From System properties window, we’ll know that this machine has i5 core and 4GB RAM with x64 architecture.


All that major enhanced from this OS I liked was the boot time and GUI – including the window status when copying files while in progress. Like that live graphical up and down very much! Described the transfer file speed and it seems more than intuitive and so futuristic!


However, a problem raised when we need to run 16bit DOS application, since this machine and OS didn’t support it as well. Meanwhile 16bit DOS application is a rarely to have in recent days, but if you still use it for your daily works, so you’ll need 3rd party DOS virtualization tools.

DosBox
I don’t recommend this tool for sure, because garbled things will show up after invoking a large data. Let say, a clipper or pascal application that querying text file records (or an old-fashion DBF files). After all, DosBox have a configuration files that annoying common users to use or modify. Besides, there’s no way you want to full-screened the DOS window filled to your LCD. It can make your eyes creepy because seeing mini fonts on a small DOS window.

VirtualBox
This is another alternative virtualization tool to run 16bit application from guest OS that support it natively. I still recommend using Windows XP as guest OS to run it over Windows 8. However, with i5 core processor and 4GB RAM, running a virtual Windows XP is not a problem at all. If you’d like to try, go download for the latest VirtualBox version from Oracle website.


All you need is the VirtualBox setup files and the extension pack. Also, you must provide Windows XP installation CD. Let assume you had already installed both VirtualBox package above and continued to create a guest OS environment, so I can skipped to the installation screen.


Installing Windows XP guest OS takes about 15 – 20 minutes on this machine. When it finished, the screen may show the first boot screen.


If you need to run guest OS not from VirtualBox main window, there’s a quick shortcut maker that create an icons to your desktop.


Just right click from OS selector, and choose Create Shortcut on Desktop menu. From this shortcut, you can modify the behavior of the launcher parameter. For example, if you need to start Windows XP guest OS in full screen mode, you can add –fullscreen to the last Target parameter.


Or, add –seamless if you intend to use it in seamless mode. Try the shortcut icon and here we go. Also try to run cmd DOS window, continued to ALT+ENTER to display in full screen mode and what you need is what you get.


A full screen DOS window helps people eyes being relaxed. And also, it runs natively in Windows XP.

VirtualBox File Sharing Sessions
There’s no major enhancement in VirtualBox for file sharing features. Working with files in both OS can be done with native feature of Shared Folders or pure networking link.


As it simply by click and select, you can access files where you defined as shared before. The steps are described below:
  • Right click from selected OS on main VirtualBox window
  • From Settings window, create Shared Folders
  • Add a folder path from toolbar on the right of the window
  • Browse  for a folder from Add Share window, also defined it as read only or not or re-mount on boot or not
Anyway I found buggy things here after I shared a folder contains 16bit application that need to run from guest OS. Couple times it successfully loaded, but at last it permanently shows a failed message that says “Can not execute [application exe name]”.  There’s no clue about this, so I picked a pure networking link for the same purpose.

To create this, you must specify IP for both OS’es. First, give IP for guest OS (Windows XP) with 192.168.10.2. To generate host IP, below are step-by-step:
  • First, set VirtualBox network setting to VirtualBox Host Only Ethernet Adapter
  • From Windows 8 Network and Internet Setting Control Panel, open properties for VirtualBox Ethernet adapter
  • Set the IP with 192.168.10.1 (Windows 8 become server)

Try to give it a test by pinging from guest to host. Beware with firewall since it may give you troubled. If your ping succeeded, then your both OS are ready to use. Create a sharing folders from Windows 8 and try to access it from Windows XP.

PS: If you found your networking failed, run diagnose wizard from VirtualBox Ethernet Adapter in Windows 8. This might occurs after you resume Windows 8 from hibernate. I don’t have a clue about this, so I noted it as a VirtualBox bugs for my self. Have a good try...

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Sincerelly,

Eko Wahyudiharto
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  1. Blogger Jerry Gene said,

    Friday, November 01, 2013 4:27:00 PM

    Nice post with awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.

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