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I'm trying to run a Windows 7 virtual machine on this device, and I want to use a host OS that supports VirtualBox. I want to throw on the least resource-intensive (CPU and RAM, HDD space is not a concern) host OS that I can get. I will be dedicating most of the computer's resources to the VM. I want to use the VM, so I can backup snapshots easily. So that if the computer crashed, it would be a simple copy+paste to migrate it to another computer.

My obstacle is, that the device I want to throw it on has a 32-bit ARM processor.

  • Is there an ARM compiled distro of Xubuntuor or Lubuntu?
  • Is there another Linux OS that supports VirtualBox and has an ARM compilation that would be better to throw on other than an Ubuntu-based distro (one that would eat up less resources)
  • From what I understand, Lubuntu and Xubuntu are lightweight/featherweight versions of Ubuntu?
  • Will a Windows 7 VM work operating under an ARM processor?
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VirtualBox doesn't run on ARM processors - more here. forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=41706 –  uSlackr Nov 23 '12 at 20:34
    
What about converting the VDI to QCOW2 and running it under QEMU? –  Sam Pellino Nov 23 '12 at 20:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

To answer each question:

  • Is there an ARM compiled distro of Xubuntu or or Lubuntu?

Yes. Ubuntu - and other distros - can run on ARM (though there might or might not be a port available for your device) and (presumably) you could install XFCE/LXDE on it.

  • Is there another Linux OS that supports VirtualBox and has an ARM compilation that would be better to throw on other than an Ubuntu-based distro (one that would eat up less resources)

You can't run VirtualBox on ARM CPUs. The closest possible is QEMU, but performance will be hopelessly slow (and next to useless if you are running a full-fledged Windows VM).

  • From what I understand, Lubuntu and Xubuntu are lightweight/featherweight versions of Ubuntu?

Yes: they run a lighter desktop environment, which can run better when less resources are available.

  • Will a Windows 7 VM work operating under an ARM processor?

No. VirtualBox is x86/x86-64 only.

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VirtualBox is an x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product. I believe there isn't a version that runs on ARM hardware.

You may be able to run some versions of Windows on ARM using an emulator such as QEMU, Bochs or DOSBox but I doubt the path will be smooth..

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You might be able to run Windows RT in a VM on an ARM (someday) but regular Windows requires either a 32 or a 64-bit Intel architecture processor. The (predominantly) C language that it's written in has to be compiled for the instruction set on the target machine. Intel and ARM processors have different instruction sets. Windows is compiled for Intel (and similar) architecture processors.

It might still be possible to emulate an Intel architecture on an ARM or to translate the x86 Windows binaries into ARM binaries on the fly the way DEC used to run x86 Windows binaries on their Alpha machines running Windows NT in the 90s. But the former is really slow and the latter is really hard.

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