Friday, May 18, 2018

Virtualization of Windows

A couple of weeks ago I heard about something called PCI Passthrough, which is basically giving virtual machines direct access to your hardware. This is useful for many things, the most common being playing Windows games on Linux. Now this is not something I particularly need to do, I don't play games and even when I do, I generally loose interest pretty quickly. I also have not particularly needed to use Windows for a couple of years now. The only exception being the Oculus Rift, which was great for the first couple of months, but then like all gaming platforms, I lost interest. I was told the best Linux distribution to accomplish this was Arch Linux and it just so happened that I switched to Arch a couple of weeks ago. I have been looking for some new technical challenges lately, something to sharpen my skills and reassert my nerd cred and this seemed like a good project.

Let me first say, this process is a pain in the ass. This is not something for a Linux n00b to tackle. I have years of experience with Linux and it took me 3 days of work to figure it out and make it work. If you are looking for a plug and play solution, this is not it. I am not even going to try and give instructions to do this, I spent too much time going from website to website following different instruction sets by people who swore it worked for them. I did not keep notes and frankly I have no idea what finally worked. What I will say is this will require you to have two video cards in your system, it simply will not work with one video card, it is also easier if you plug in a second  mouse and keyboard to dedicate to the VM.

Now while this is a difficult process, it is worth every minute you put into it. The VM works perfectly, I ran Doom 3, Portal and World of Warcraft flawlessly. My next project is to see if I can get the Oculus Rift to work, there are plenty of people who say it works fine this way, but more than a few are also saying it does not, so we shall see.

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