Installing Windows XP into a Virtual Box VM

I need to do some testing, so let’s try installing Windows XP Pro into a Virtual Box VM to avoid trashing my production system. Which is pretty trashed anyway, and has a big frosty pre-ordered (cheap) Windows 7 waiting when I finally get around to researching a driver for my now non-supported HP LaserJet 3150 MFP – but that is another time…

Fire up VirtualBox and create a new VM. I picked the defaults except for 512M of RAM – gotta be careful to not run anything else – set the CDROM to physical drive E, and a growable HD 8Gb. The usual.

Now boot the new VM with the XP Pro SP3 CD (slipstreamed from the SP2 CD). It does its thing, and hit a certain point while it is loading drivers and locks. Hard. Click the close (X) button, VBox asks do I want to reset the VM? Sure. It locks. Hard. I try to kill all the processes and then restart VBox. There is a conflict with an open semaphore file, so I check again and sure enough there is still a VBox process, which cannot be killed. I shut down, Explorer disappears. Luckily a Task Manager box is still up. Finally the “Shutting down Windows” message comes up. Off to Candlelight Ski in Rush Creek. Three hours later, it is still shutting down. I figure most of the stuff has been saved at this point – reset button it is. Now boots ok. Whew.

The message implied some driver was not cooperating, and I questioned the USB stuff. So I run through the options and turn off any non-vital hardware. Audio, USB, no 3D acceleration. Restart the VM and the install. Now (the upgrade) asks for a previous version CD. Find my copy of Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. Yes.

Set networking to Bridged and run the install. Works great.

Moral: turn off all the extra hardware. You can add it later. Or not. I sure don’t need to.

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