What I’ve been doing lately..

In addition to tracking down mysteries of not getting virus def updates or Windows Update automatic downloads this week, I’ve also been working on a few other projects. The first thing I wanted to accomplish was using a trial edition of Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2004 to setup an NT Workstation install alongside my XP machine. One reason was that I am seriously thinking about taking one of the machines we are going to replace later this year and turning it into a storage workstation. Just leave the OS installed as is, uninstall Office and other apps and use it to store stuff and create some extra room on our main file server. Since I don’t have access to any of the machines yet, people are using them and all, this was the best way to do that exact setup and make sure everything will work the way I had envisioned it. It does..

The other reason I wanted to get a trial version of the software was to see if it was something I wanted to add to my Christmas list for home use. So, with that in mind, I also installed a virtual PC with Suse 9.1 Personal Edition as the OS on my work desktop. That install was quite a bit messier than the Windows NT install, but since MS doesn’t officially support Linux distros with Virtual PC, I was expecting that. Eventually yesterday I did get it to where it could access the work network, and even access shared files, so I felt like that was quite an accomplishment, and a learning experience. 🙂

Flash forward to last night. Virtual PC is only officially supported running on XP, or 2000 Professional as the host machine, but documentation and other things led me to believe there was a good chance it would run on 2000 server too. Unfortunately, at least in my case, it did not. Since this is the only machine I would even consider using it on at home, my idea of getting Virtual PC for home use as a Xmas gift is right out. Looks like a trial of VMware is in the cards for the home setup in the next few days.

BTW, my reasoning for getting it as home was so that I could get trial versions of Small Business Server, Exchange Server and probably Windows 2003 Server, run them for the trial period in the virtual machine, learn everything I could about running them, and then, when the trial period is over, simply delete them. No fussing with partitions, boot loaders, etc to run different OS’s side by side just so I could do it again at the end of the 120 days.

However, as fate would have it, our wireless access point had a serious issue that delayed me from both getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and looking into getting an evaluation key for VMWare. For some unexplained reason the SMC Barricade reset itself. Now, normally that’s not a big deal, it mostly involves getting the encryption setup correctly again, but this time it also went back to the default SSID, and IP address. Now, the SMC is not the main router in the house, it does not do DHCP, the Hawking Ethernet router does, so it does not use the default IP address. In fact, the default IP address is not reachable from the network, it’s in a different subnet! So, the only way to connect to it was to take the laptop upstairs, plug it into one of the Barricade’s Ethernet ports, manually set the laptop’s IP address to match the subnet of the default Barricade address, connect to the router, reset it’s IP address and everything else, disconnect the Ethernet on the laptop, plug the wireless card back in, connect back to the Barricade, and then reset the encryption. Whee fun, let me tell you!

So, today, on top of a few other work projects, I’ve got 43 days left on my Virtual PC trial. Even though I know I won’t be purchasing it for home use, there’s much I can do and learn with this in the meantime, and who knows, maybe I can convince my boss to splurge for it? It’s cheaper than the hardware that would be required for a true test environment.

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