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Thread: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

  1. #1
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    Feb 2011
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    Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    I've always planned on eventually making the move to Linux from windows, eventually, mainly to break free from dependence on paid software. With the news of strict hardware requirements and optimization issues on AMD hardware, it seems now is a good time to plot out my move. Windows 10 support will end in less than 4yrs 10/14/2025, so I figure I'd best start the planning phase now.

    My idea is to make an image of my current windows installation and then recover it onto a VM within Ubuntu. My system specs are as follows:

    CPU: Ryzen 1700x
    Ram: 16GB DDR4 3000MHZ
    GPU: AMD RX Vega56, Nvidia GT 710
    Motherboard: Asrock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4
    Storage: 250GB Samsung SSD, 1TB Samsung SSD, 6TB Seagate HDD

    I'm wondering if my system is adequate for VM and whether or not I can anticipate any challenges with my current hardware config. I've used Linux in the past and one of the pitfalls then was hardware compatibility (especially with GPUs). This post is mainly for feedback and intelligence gathering. I figure earlier planning will translate to a smoother transition.

  2. #2
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    I think you've got more than enough there to run a vm well . I run games (world of warcraft, skyrim and such) with pci pass through on an intel i5 3470, 16gb of ram, 120gb ssd + 250gb ssd in a lvm volume group on a basic mATX board and an RX570. I ususally stream them to the Linux side over the steam in home streaming. Not perfect but it's livable. Does run better with a dedicated screen and kb / mouse though. I have found some issues that I think are related to threading (one should probably do cpu pinning) and I haven't enough cores over all to do that at the moment. May change to a 3770 4c/8t. would help.

  3. #3
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    I do not use Windows, but just saw this post:

    Windows 11 as KVM virtual install
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2468297
    UEFI boot install & repair info - Regularly Updated :
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  4. #4
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    What applications do you use in Windows that makes you want to keep the install? In short, why bother with the Windows OS?

  5. #5
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    I ran 15 VMs on a Core2 Duo system in 2010. One of those was Win7 Ultimate with all the bloat that includes.

    Today a Ryzen 2600 (13K passmarks) is my VM host, which is about the same speed as the 1700x (15.5k passmarks) and easily runs 20 VMs and 4 linux containers. It uses a little over 16G of RAM, but that can easily be controlled by limiting the concurrent VMs running and not over allocating limited resources to VMs. In general, I give a Linux VM, 1vCPU and 1GB of RAM, unless I 100% KNOW is needs more. My normal desktop runs inside a VM an get 3G of RAM with 1 vCPU. A Windows VM gets 3GB of RAM and 2 vCPUs, but it is powered off almost all the time.

    I think the harder problem is the expectation that you can move a physical install of Windows into a VM. I don't think that is possible due to license restructions. The license keys typically are tied to hardware. MSFT license registration keeps up with the underlying hardware. Retail copies of Windows get a little more leeway, but pre-installed ones do not. The license key is stored in hardware. It is also possible that MSFT has become less picky with licenses being tied to hardware. I have doubts about that, but I've been burned by MSFT too many times. https://www.zdnet.com/article/micros...or-windows-10/ has some info about the Win10 rules. Seems too complicated to me.

    Even I, die-hard Linux lover, still have to use Windows for a few programs that I've not found acceptable alternatives in other OSes. I've come close a few times. Even wrote my own TV schedule parsing and recording scripts when 7MC support ended, which I've been using about 2 yrs now. Many people would use online services for this, but I'm a bit of a privacy freak. The last thing I need is yet another online account, somewhere, to track our stuff.

    I have moved a Windows VM from 1 VM host to another running a different version of KVM. There was a Windows tool - sysprep - which removed all the drivers and told the Windows system to expect fresh hardware on the next boot. This is more about Windows and I don't know if Win10/11 have it. Sorry.

    I've also migrated entire Linux install with VMs on them to newer hardware at least 3 times. The only problem I've had there was self-inflicted - going from Intel CPUs to Ryzen by forgetting to tell the VM config about that change in 1 VM (I remembered in all the others) caused a problem. I just moved a full install from a Pentium dual-core to a Ryzen 5600G a few days ago. There wasn't any MS-Windows involved and the VMs were setup to use the host CPU, so they all worked, but I did have a boot issue because the system directly specified the ethernet adapter from the old system (a Marvell Gbps NIC) and the new system is full of Intel i211 and 82575GB NICs. None of them were configured, so no networking would start ... so no network services on the system would start. It was bad and took me far to long to realize (embarrassing). Once I figured that out, then the igpx Radeo wasn't supported by the Ubuntu 18.04 5.4.x kernel, so it was running in VESA mode. The fix I chose for that was to load a non-mainstream kernel to get newer hardware support:
    Code:
    $ uname -r
    5.11.20-051120-generic
    It has been stable, so far.

    If it were me, I'd get a new SSD/HDD ($50) and leave the old install alone, migrating things to the new install with little risk. That way, if it goes well, you have a good backup storage device left over and if it goes badly, you can swap the new storage for the old storage with little/zero risk. Just don't leave them both connected at the same time.

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tadaen_Sylvermane View Post
    I think you've got more than enough there to run a vm well . I run games (world of warcraft, skyrim and such) with pci pass through on an intel i5 3470, 16gb of ram, 120gb ssd + 250gb ssd in a lvm volume group on a basic mATX board and an RX570. I ususally stream them to the Linux side over the steam in home streaming. Not perfect but it's livable. Does run better with a dedicated screen and kb / mouse though. I have found some issues that I think are related to threading (one should probably do cpu pinning) and I haven't enough cores over all to do that at the moment. May change to a 3770 4c/8t. would help.
    I've got a fair amount of steam games I haven't finished playing through, so I do intend to make use of my Vega. I remember seeing a Level1Linux video about PCI passthrough but honestly I still don't know too much about it. I was under the impression that linux gaming support was gaining traction via native support and platforms like SteamOS+Proton and Stadia (stadia requires Linux ports for all games). I do anticipate there'll be a 1:1 ratio in terms of game playability eventually. Is there a significant advantage with PCI passthrough over the current software solutions? I might try it if it's worth while.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2011
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    I do not use Windows, but just saw this post:

    Windows 11 as KVM virtual install
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2468297
    I'll be avoiding Windows 11, but I'll use it as one of my references for my Windows 10 VM. Btw, it's nice to see a fellow SW Floridian on here

  8. #8
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    Apr 2014
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    838

    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    It's really quite easy to do. I followed this guide. Simple enough. https://mathiashueber.com/pci-passth...rtual-machine/ Performance isn't different enough to be worth mentioning. I did use the Xanmod kernel and kisak mesa drivers though. I have strong suspicions that if I had the core count I could pin 4 cpus to the vm and it would be indistinguishable from bare metal.

    *EDIT* Just noticed the guide uses teh Ryzen x1800. You have a x1700. should be nearly straight across.
    Last edited by Tadaen_Sylvermane; October 27th, 2021 at 05:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    70

    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionParsnip View Post
    What applications do you use in Windows that makes you want to keep the install? In short, why bother with the Windows OS?
    Right now, it's just a contingency measure. I haven't actually gone through my complete list of programs to find out which has native support and which will need to be replaced with an alternative. Right now, I'm expecting that there'll be at least a few programs I'll need Windows for. After about a year or so into the migration, The list of "Windows-bound" programs that I can't do without should be clear. If it turns out I really don't need the VM, then it should be easy enough to dismantle....I hope.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post

    I think the harder problem is the expectation that you can move a physical install of Windows into a VM. I don't think that is possible due to license restructions. The license keys typically are tied to hardware. MSFT license registration keeps up with the underlying hardware. Retail copies of Windows get a little more leeway, but pre-installed ones do not. The license key is stored in hardware. It is also possible that MSFT has become less picky with licenses being tied to hardware. I have doubts about that, but I've been burned by MSFT too many times. https://www.zdnet.com/article/micros...or-windows-10/ has some info about the Win10 rules. Seems too complicated to me.

    Even I, die-hard Linux lover, still have to use Windows for a few programs that I've not found acceptable alternatives in other OSes. I've come close a few times. Even wrote my own TV schedule parsing and recording scripts when 7MC support ended, which I've been using about 2 yrs now. Many people would use online services for this, but I'm a bit of a privacy freak. The last thing I need is yet another online account, somewhere, to track our stuff.

    I have moved a Windows VM from 1 VM host to another running a different version of KVM. There was a Windows tool - sysprep - which removed all the drivers and told the Windows system to expect fresh hardware on the next boot. This is more about Windows and I don't know if Win10/11 have it. Sorry.
    If it turns out that the only issue would be licensing, then that would be Okay. I've discovered that activation in Windows 10 is surprisingly lenient. If you're activating windows on a "fresh" motherboard (not used with windows 10 previously) then normally you can get away with using your Microsoft account to activate it because windows licenses are now tied to whatever account you sign in with. Since I refurbish laptops as a side-hustle, I've accumulated quite a few licenses on one of my accounts. I just revert to a generic local account before resale. (side note) I sell them with User accounts pre-configured and service packs installed due to complaints of performance issues...it's usually just a ton of updates that slam the machine in the background after initial setup.

    btw, Since the motherboard I'll be using with the VM is the same as now, wouldn't it automatically activate? I don't know if Windows' motherboard detection behaves differently under VM. Btw, I'm running Windows 10 already.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Re: Windows to Ubuntu migration (with windows VM)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tadaen_Sylvermane View Post
    It's really quite easy to do. I followed this guide. Simple enough. https://mathiashueber.com/pci-passth...rtual-machine/ Performance isn't different enough to be worth mentioning. I did use the Xanmod kernel and kisak mesa drivers though. I have strong suspicions that if I had the core count I could pin 4 cpus to the vm and it would be indistinguishable from bare metal.

    *EDIT* Just noticed the guide uses teh Ryzen x1800. You have a x1700. should be nearly straight across.
    I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have the Passthrough configured on top of Native/Steam+Proton support. The more options the better. Thanks for the Guide!

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