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[SOLVED] Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

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esbeeb
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[SOLVED] Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#1

Post by esbeeb » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:27 pm

Edit: Please see here for more info on how I got my Windows 10 Home VM to start automatically, and non-interactively at boot time, in Linux Mint 18.1:
https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=94338

Read the last post by me in this thread, in order to see how I got Virtualbox 6.0.10's in-built RDP server to work properly.

----------- Original post:
Hello,
I'm in MX Linux 18.1

root@box:~# inxi
CPU: Quad Core Intel Core i5-8250U (-MT MCP-) speed/min/max: 781/400/3400 MHz
Kernel: 4.19.0-1-amd64 x86_64 Up: 10m Mem: 1205.3/7861.2 MiB (15.3%)
Storage: 238.47 GiB (70.5% used) Procs: 250 Shell: bash 4.4.12 inxi: 3.0.33

I do not dual boot. My laptop came with Windows 10, but I nuked and paved with MX Linux, only.

I've been using Linux for 21 years, and from time to time I need to use a Windows VM. I ususally go without one, BTW, but then get dragged back again for some stupid legacy reason or another.

I plan to use the Windows license key which originally came with the laptop, which is not in use in any other place. I've extracted my Windows license key out of the ACPI using the command:

sudo acpidump -n MSDM

Here are my needs:
- Windows VM starts automatically at boot time
- other MX linux users on that system should be able to RDP into the Windows VM (one at a time only, as in, whomever is physically sitting in the seat in front of the machine, from their Linux desktop)
- Ideal, but not essential: The ability to pause the VM when not in use. And an ability for any user, whether Sysadmin or not, to do that pausing/unpausing would be great.

The two obvious contenders seem to be VirtualBox (currently 5.2.24 for me, even though 6.something is the newest), or Cockpit (version 188 is in the MX Package Installer, even though the newest version is 200). I've used VirtualBox before, but I'm tempted to have some sort of Web GUI to manage VMs instead.

Can anyone suggest which would be better for me? Cockpit seems like it would be the potentially "cleaner" way to do it, to allow any user to do the VM pausing/unpausing (from a web GUI). But Cockpit isn't officially supported for MX Linux.

Are there any Cockpit users out there in MX Linux, who can vouch for Cocklpit working without bugs to speak of, when it comes to creating/managing Windows 10 VMs?
Last edited by esbeeb on Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:33 am, edited 4 times in total.
Esbeeb
MX 18.1
ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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JayM
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#2

Post by JayM » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:33 pm

A web search returns a lot of results indicating that yes, a VirtualBox VM can be made to autostart. For example,
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=start+virtual ... fnt&ia=web

VirtualBox 6 is available in the MX Test Repo and can be installed (or your current version upgraded to 6) in MX Package Installer. I have no experience with Cockpit.

AFAIK there's no way to "pause" a running virtual machine other than suspending the guest OS.
Please read How To Ask For Help and How to Break Your System.
MX User Manual: hold down ALT and press F1. Further information may be found in the MX Wiki.

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esbeeb
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#3

Post by esbeeb » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:04 am

OK, I installed VirtualBox 6 from the testing repo. This pulled in the virtualbox-qt package. Now my Virtualbox looks like garbage, as the font has become really small. Also, there is a very light font on a light background. Is there a package I can install to adjust the qt-specific desktop widget settings, to make then sane again? Note: I normally use a dark theme for my XFCE desktop. This would be the cause.
Esbeeb
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ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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esbeeb
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#4

Post by esbeeb » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:30 am

The following screenshot might look acceptable to you,if you have a large monitor (like 32"), but crushed into my 13" laptop HiDPI HD display, the font is very tiny:

https://ebt.support/images/virtualbox_6_crap.png



mod note: image changed to link, please be mindful of the offsite linked size limitations, thanks
viewtopic.php?f=133&t=48374
Esbeeb
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ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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JayM
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#5

Post by JayM » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:40 am

Install qt5ct and see what it can do for you.
Please read How To Ask For Help and How to Break Your System.
MX User Manual: hold down ALT and press F1. Further information may be found in the MX Wiki.

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esbeeb
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#6

Post by esbeeb » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:05 am

I installed qt5ct, and tried to run it on the command line, but then I got the error message, in a GUI dialog, saying:

"The QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME environment variable is not set correctly"

Then I ran:
export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=qt5ct
...and then I could sucessfully launch it. But whatever I chose differently, then click the "Apply" button, it doesn't affect Virtualbox yet. Perhaps once I log out, and log back in again (later today)...
Last edited by esbeeb on Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Esbeeb
MX 18.1
ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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JayM
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#7

Post by JayM » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:07 am

Use the menu. Settings/Qt5 Settings. Wait a second. I remember getting that too when I first installed it. Give me a few minutes to try to remember what I did to fix it.
Please read How To Ask For Help and How to Break Your System.
MX User Manual: hold down ALT and press F1. Further information may be found in the MX Wiki.

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esbeeb
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#8

Post by esbeeb » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:18 am

Maybe I need to add:

export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=qt5ct

...to the end of my ~/.bashrc,and log out and in again?
Esbeeb
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ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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JayM
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#9

Post by JayM » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:23 am

Either that or .local. Then log out and back in.
Please read How To Ask For Help and How to Break Your System.
MX User Manual: hold down ALT and press F1. Further information may be found in the MX Wiki.

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esbeeb
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Re: Need a Windows VM to start at boot time, how? Cockpit? VirtualBox?

#10

Post by esbeeb » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:58 am

OK, that worked. HiDPI is not smooth at all, however. Once I jacked up the font to 16 using qt5ct (then Applied, and clicked OK to Exit), then it looked OK on my 13" HD laptop screen (no light font on light background any longer, font size is OK looking), but if I drag the VirtualBox window to my second monitor, also HD, but 32", then it looks terrible again, as the font becomes really tiny, "automagically". Some sort of HiDPI automagic doing the wrong thing.

As long as I keep the Virtualbox window on the 13" laptop screen, then it's OK looking.
Esbeeb
MX 18.1
ASUSTeK UX330UAR, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, Crucial Micron 256GB M2 SSD.

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