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Building Better VMs

The other day I fired up my old desktop, intending to use it as background in the podcasts. It gave me a "Activate Windows" error for the W2K3 installation on there. I know I was thinking that I would use it as a file server, but downstairs it has no Internet access, and I'm not in the mood, so that will go back to XP.

What does that have to do with VMs? Nothing really, but it was foreshadowing for me. Today I went to build a new VM to hold RC0 for SQL Server 2008, which will let me do some tech reviewing of a new book. Since I hate installing the OS, it's simple, it's the same every time, and it tends to waste my time, what I did last year was install a copy of W2K3 as a VM, shut it down, and copy it to a file called "BlankW2K3". Now I have a blank VM and building a new one is as simple as copying the files over, renaming them, and then starting them up. I did that today and ...

"This copy of Windows needs to be activated"

Grrr, not what I wanted. Especially since I didn't get a W2K8 VHD downloaded last week because bandwidth was moving slow around here. That's something for today.

I typically install TechNet or MSDN versions of the OS's for testing. I have licenses for them, so that's not a big deal. My VM has internet access, so I activated and then moved on to installing SQL Server 2008.  Unfortunately it didn't go smoothly.

The first thing needed is the .NET Framework 3.5. And that needs SP2 on W2K3. Enough acronyms for you?

So setup shut down and I set about installing SP2. In this case, since we're far enough along in the process, as soon as SP2 downloads and installs, I'll shut down the VMs, copy the files over and rename them as W2K3SP2, and then bring my new SS2K8 VM up and put RC0 on it.

 It's going in the background now, aren't VM's great? If this was my desktop I'd be done for now. 

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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