Virtualbox


Just a quick happy post.

I have an old program I really, really need that was running on an ancient Compaq laptop. I know I need to get a newer version of the program running, but setup is a long process with a gazillion details and I just haven’t got it done. Transferring the old version database to a new version of the program hasn’t worked.

So of course the ancient laptop, which was kind of running on life support already, died.

I put the hard drive in a USB case and had read errors. Scary! So I tried an internal 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter in my desktop machine and it worked!

Next, to preserve the original data and get a copy running in a virtual machine.

Made a disk image with
dd if=/dev/sdb of=compaq_28apr12.img
(yeah that was a while ago. Haven’t had much time to mess around with this.)

Converted the disk image with
VBoxManage convertfromraw compaq_28apr12.img compaq_13may12.vdi

After that, I could boot the disk image as a guest OS in Virtualbox, but X failed with “no devices”. Xorg.conf examples I found online all seemed to point to installing Virtualbox Guest Additions in the guest OS, so following instructions I booted my image and in the Virtualbox “Devices” menu clicked “Install Guest Additions” then confirmed in “Devices -> CD/DVD Devices” that VboxGuestAdditions_x.xx.iso was enabled.

That makes the Guest Additions ISO available to the guest OS as a CD. Next step was to mount the CD with
mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
go there
cd /media/cdrom
and run the appropriate script, in my case
./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run
since my guest OS is 32-bit. The alternative would have been VBoxLinuxAdditions-amd64.run if my guest OS had been 64 bit.

After that completed I rebooted the guest OS with
shutdown -r now
and when it came back up I had X running, better mouse integration, a larger Virtualbox window and probably more benefits that I haven’t noticed yet.

Old program lives on! I am so grateful to the good and smart people who make these tools available to people like me.

(One of these days I’ll switch to the newer version of the program…just need some time to work on it….)

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