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Thread: virtual machine or install to HDD

  1. #1
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    Default virtual machine or install to HDD

    I am a student at ITT Tech, persuing my degree in Information System Security. I've been using backtrack for a while now and have always either booted from usb or installed to the disk. I've not yet ran backtrack in a virtual machine. Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of running in a VM vs Installed to HDD?


    Keep in mind as a young parent I do not have much funding so my laptop is ancient... (compaq presario f700 runing xp pro 64bit)

  2. #2
    Good friend of the forums scottm99's Avatar
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    First of all, congrats on working for your degree I think the time & money spent will be well worth it in the long run.

    Installing BT to disk will be faster, and (in my usage) more reliable than in a virtual machine. I've found some of the tools in BT just work better when run outside a vm. Here's my advice: before doing anything, get a full backup in case you F something up! Assuming you have enough disk space, install your preferred version of BackTrack in a virtual machine so you can check it thoroughly on your hardware. If everything goes well, download your preferred BT version in ISO format, and install on your laptop following the dual boot directions on the wiki.
    If I could figure out how to scuba dive & hack at the same time, there would be nothing I couldn't do...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    Thank you for your input. I've ran BT5 on this hardware previously via usb so things work pretty well. I had issues with my Alfa AWUS036H adapter with backtrack 5 R1, so I'm going to install simply backtrack 5 due to the fact that the rtl8187 drivers are preloaded into it and not in R1. I'm not entirely savvy with Linux so installing drivers is not a simple task at the moment.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    You also loose out on being able to use the hardware in the same way. Since in a VM, you are not using the real devices, you are using the VM managers version of a pass-through driver so that the VM thinks it has the hardware available.

    I would also recomend the dual boot way of installing BT, have had both Win7 and BT5 on my laptop for quite a while..

  5. #5
    My life is this forum Snayler's Avatar
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    Quote Originally Posted by scottm99 View Post
    Installing BT to disk will be faster, and (in my usage) more reliable than in a virtual machine. I've found some of the tools in BT just work better when run outside a vm.
    I share the same opinion as scottm99, but you can have both setups up and running (using the same HDD partition). The advantage of this is that you can still boot BT5 to run heavier tools, and also access it through VirtualBox to test tools/scripts, update the distro, research something quick, etc... without having to reboot your system.

    I made a guide a while back for BT4 on installing BT on disk through virtualization software (VirtualBox/VMWare). VMWare guide is outdated since VMWare Workstation seems no longer able to control full HDD (since version 8.0), only separated partitions except for the partition VMWare is running from (reads: the host partition). Since VMWare is paid software, you could try VirtualBox. Anyway, here are the links:
    Guide: Installing BT4 to HDD using VirtualBox

    Guide: Install BT4 Dual Boot using VMWare Workstation

    Since the threads are closed, and if you opt to follow the guides, you can PM me if you run into any problems.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    Virtual machine is faster than usb but slower than full install. With the virtual machine you will need a USB network device in order to do some things. The virtual machine enables you to do snapshots, which may or may not be useful to you depending on how prone you are to messing something up.

    I like the virtual machine option because I primarily use windows and can get into backtrack in the VM at any time without having to reboot.

  7. #7
    My life is this forum Snayler's Avatar
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    Default Re: virtual machine or install to HDD

    Shortbuss: Yes, but the option I mentioned is more complete because it performs a dual-boot install onto the hard drive, and so you'll have BT5 installed on it's own partition and accessible trough Virtualization software.
    Last edited by Snayler; 12-13-2011 at 01:11 AM.

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