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Windows virtual PC - windows 7

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I tried the XP Mode (Virtual-PC) on Windows 7 for LabVIEW 8.6 once, but the performance is very slow and sometimes a window goes missing. Now I use Virtualbox with acceptable performance. I've seperate environments for LabVIEW down to 6.1. The best choice however is a seperate installation of the required OS on real system to get access to your entire hardware.

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I used VMWare and actually liked it more than VPC.  VMWare also supports sharing USB devices, so I could share NI USB DAQ devices to my virtual PC and it could be used.  I think VPC has some support for this now but I think it only works with USB storage devices.  There is a performance hit for sure but it wasn't too bad, especially with a fresh Windows image. VMWare also supported 64-bit Windows as the guest OS, and multicore. 

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Yes. The initial setup takes a while, but I have different versions of LabVIEW and drivers that I support. There is significant space requirement, however the time savings when a customer calls up and I don't need to spend part of a day reconfiguring my system is huge.You do want a fast , memory rich machine to keep the overhead down, though.You do want a fast , memory rich machine to keep the performance hit down, though.


Not related to LabVIEW, but my company also uses virtual machines for Siemens and Rockwell software (PLC/HMI programming). Rockwell doesn't play nice with Siemens in particular and Siemens doesn't play nice with anyone (including some NI software). Virtual machines are a great way to sandbox applications.

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I think every professional LabVIEW developer should take advantage of virtual machines.  Although, I do not recommend running VM's on your primary PC.  Some advice/tips:


  • VirtualBox
    It has fantastic remote desktop support.  It is also free.
  • P2V
    There are a few tools out there that allow you to do a Physical to Virtual conversion.  I have used this in the past to convert a "real" machine shipped to a customer into a "virtual machine" that I can fire up at any time for support reasons.
  • Snapshots
    Allows you to instantly save the "state" of a machine and restore it (while the OS/application is running!)


We run a Linux server at my work that hosts multiple VirtualBox machines (one for every version of LabVIEW).  Developers access this over RDP.  I use these VM's on a daily basis.

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  • 1 year later...

Apologies for resurrecting a way old thread, but I noticed a few posts lately mentioning the use of VM's to manage multiple versions of LabVIEW. 


At the moment, I'm trying to support many applications from 7.1 to 2014 and all in between. So I'm wanting to switch to VM's to make this a bit easier than multiple laptop's and complex re-configurations. 


I'm a bit confused on the best way to do Windows licensing though, as I may end up with a lot of VM's if I have one for each LV version.


I've googled it a bit including this and I think I need a Windows Volume license + Software assurance. Is that right? And if you're running multiple VM's with Windows what's your experience?





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So my company has site licensing for Windows products.  So for me I'll make a new VM (right now I prefer VM Player).  When making a new VM you provide the ISO and Windows license and it will do the rest.  Then I activate Windows the normal way, if it didn't do it automatically.  Then I setup my VM the way I like with various utilities, .NET installs etc.  Then I'll shutdown the VM and copy away the virtual hard drive as a clean OS.  Then I'll make multiple VMs using a copy of my clean OS multiple times.  In each VM I'll install the one version of LabVIEW, along with the appropriate drivers and libraries for that project.  When I have a new project I'll make a new VM using that clean OS I backed up.  Each VM is then using the same site license of Windows, and each is already activated.  Getting major updates can be a bit of a pain, but I just try to keep whatever VM I'm using frequently up to date.


Windows 7 also comes with XP Mode which essentially means you get Windows XP in a VM for free.  So licensing there is taken care of.  I would just make the clean OS in the same way I mentioned before.  This means being restricted to XP 32-bit, which is too limiting right now which is one reason I go with VM Player which supports 64 bit guest OSs, and multi-core support.

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My company maintains MSDN licences for developers. There's an OS only license which while not cheap, is a great value considering it gets you access to every OS they have made (within reason) over all the localizations. Wonderful for testing and also very valuable for being able to have a clean OS for each major project. Depending on the operating system the number of keys you can claim may be rather limited, but they allow you to re-use the keys quite a bit. I've never run into the limit, but my conversations with support imply if you ever hit it, it's a simple matter of calling them up and they can reset things on their end.

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