windows 8.1 on virtualbox – a more permanent solution

In January, I installed the Windows 8.1 trial on VirtualBox.  The trial is good for 3 months.  I need a more permanent solution so I bought Windows 8.  I chose to buy a physical DVD so I have it in case I need to re-install it.  This turned out to be an “adventure” as Staples lost it the first time and there was some trouble picking it up.

This post assumes a tiny bit of experience with Windows 8.  If you don’t have any, see the trial post first.

Creating the VM from DVD – failed 64 bit attempt

The Windows 32 DVD didn’t stay in drive. 64 bit did though so I tried installing that.  In VirtualBox, you click the CD/DVD icon  and set storage to “host drive.”   After the Windows splash screen, I got “your PC needs to restart.”  So far so good.  Then I got

Error Code: 0x000000C4

Control command delete didn’t allow me to kill the virtual machine. I didn’t even have a cursor/pointer on my main Mac.  I had to press the power button on my Mac to get out of the virtual machine and close it.

I saw there were CPU requirements for 64 bit Windows and decided to try 32 bit again.  I’m doing anything powerful in Windows so I don’t need much memory.  The 32 bit DVD worked fine the second time.  A later found out there is an instruction you can give VirtualBox to load 64 bit Windows.

Creating the VM from DVD – successful 32 bit attempt

This went smoothly.  The gist of what went on:

  • Install now
  • Enter key from product key card
  • Choose custom: install windows only (advanced) – because not upgrading
  • Install Windows: “drive 0 unallocated space”
  • Started installing – showed % then blue windows splash for a few minutes then rebooted
  • Personalize screen – customize
  • Turn off shared info settings – don’t send data to MS
  • Prompted to sign into MS account.  I entered the wrong info (on purpose to see what would happen.)  I got prompted to create a local account.  Perfect.  Went with that.
  • Saw getting critical updates screen for a while since the DVD is older – the screen changes color as it downloads
  • Reboot again
  • Saw installing your apps – again the screen changes color as it goes

What I setup

  • view > switch to scale mode so don’t have to scroll up, down, left and right in Windows
  • Boot to desktop instead of Windows 8 screen.  This also allows shutting down by right clicking the windows icon at the bottom left.
  • I used solution 3 in this post to get rid of the black help box
  • in “tiles” went to command and pinned it to start menu and task bar so the DOS prompt is always handy.  I use it a lot in Windows to avoid having to use Windows while still being able to test Windows behavior in Java
  • Launched the control panel (which took a long time to load first time) so I could edit the PATH environment variable to add the path of javac

What I installed

  • JDK
  • The git app (because it is faster than setting up git manually) and login as me.  This gets the git shell quickly

Accessing the DVD drive

I wanted to run a DVD to see what it looked like and if there was anything beyond the PDF and Shockwave files.  (There wasn’t.)  To get VirtualBox to show me the d drive, I went to devices > host drive and chose my DVD drive.  Then the d drive turns into the real DVD drive instead of VirtualBox extensions.

As I was shutting down Virtual Box, I tried to eject the DVD from the Mac.  My Mac didn’t recognize the DVD.  I wound up having to wait until the Windows VM shut down (which took a while because Windows was busy patching.)  Then the Mac saw the DVD as if I had just stuck it in.

A nice aside

I learned you can drag a swf (Shockwave) file to the browser URL bar to open it.

Communicating with the VM

I’m still using my github system to communicate so repeating that from my trial post.

You can copy/paste from VirtualBox.  I decided to use github instead though as I already have the code I want to try on Windows in a private github repository.  Github has a Windows client.  I’ve never used it so decided to download to see what it is like.  It is only 41.2MB, but downloaded really slowly.   The app provided a UI to clone a repository in github which it automatically checks out into Documents/github/repo-name.  The UI is nice, but I wound up using the git bash shell provided with the application.  Which meant it really only saved me some setup.

Other options would have been Dropbox or just use the copy/paste functionality from VirtualBox.  (I really didn’t want to do that for whole files.)

making it too easy to do something (a toshiba laptop) + windows 8 annoyances

I helped a non-technical friend set up her new Windows 8 laptop.  I encountered a bunch of expected problems as Windows 8 “changes everything.”  I wound up showing her some keyboard shortcuts as they were easier than fighting with Windows 8:

  1. Alt + tab: to switch amongst applications
  2. Windows M: to show desktop
  3. Windows C: to get sidebar (this one she actually showed me as the first step in the restarting sequence)

I also did some setup to make Windows 8 less – um – prevalent.  The biggest one was to boot to the desktop instead of the start mess and put the few commonly used programs on the desktop.  I used windows-r a lot to type “cmd” and get to the command line.

I was expecting Windows 8 to be annoying though so this didn’t surprise me.  What did surprise me was the touchpad.  I’m not sure if this is Microsoft’s fault or Toshiba’s.  The laptop trackpad was disabled by default.  I turned it on in the Windows settings.  Then I learned that if you hit F5, it disables it. (Which I did by accident when trying to do alt + f4).  It seems like it shouldn’t be so easy to disable the trackpad.  A confirmation would be nice.

a virus encounter

Due to my struggles with Open Office Impress, I decided to take advantage of Microsoft’s at home use program and install Office 2007 on my home computer.  Short story, I had a dormant virus on my machine that showed up as soon as I installed Office 2007.  This reminds me why I avoid Microsoft products like Internet Explorer – way too tightly coupled to the operating system.  Longer story:


Right after I installed Office 2007, my Windows XP computer started exhibiting a number of odd problems:

  1. Took 30-45 minutes to shut down the computer
  2. When downloading an attachment from Firefox, Firefox hangs.  Killing it in the task manager and re-launching Firefox keeping the tabs intact indicates the file is still downloading and it completes.
  3. Starting postgres via a shortcut opens a DOS window saying “starting” and hanging.
  4. Starting the postgres process in Services gives:

    Error 1053: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion

  5. Internet Explorer does not open.  (I can’t say when the last time this worked was.  I only tried in hopes I could use the Windows Update site.
  6. Add/remove programs shows an empty list.  (Meaning I can’t uninstall Office 2007)

What I unsuccessfully tried to fix it

  1. sfc scan now from Yahoo answers
  2. Running three registry commands from Microsoft knowledge base (also mentioned at Yahoo but I wasn’t about to touch my registry on the advice of a third party site.)  The first gave an error, the other two ran.
  3. Microsoft’s registry fix.  I was able to download it (painfully), but got “install server not responding”
  4. Avast full scan – it hung on the file “c:\windows\system32\drivers\acpiec.sys” about 10% through my hard drive.

What finally worked

Avast’s boot time scan is supposed to run before the drivers are loaded.  Since there was clearly an issue in the driver directory, I decided to try this.  I still didn’t think I had a virus at this point.  The problem CLEARLY showed up right after installing Office 2007, making it Office 2007’s fault, no?

I tried a few times to run the boot scan.  This took a while because each shut down took so long.  And the first two were “unsuccessful shutdowns” where Avast didn’t get the cue that it was supposed to run before Windows launched.

Luckily the boot scan logs everything it finds so you don’t have to watch it.  The process ran for a number of hours and then logged to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Alwil Software\Avast5\report.

The boot scan found a few corrupt zip files (Apache ant documentation, some class file jars) and a bad Open Office OLE file – all of which it logged and ignored.  It then found seven infected files.

Infected by “Java:Jade-“

Avast says this is caused by old Java exploits.  I don’t think these are a problem and am virtually certain they aren’t the cause of my issue.  However since they are in the cache and I hardly use NetBeans, I just deleted them.  (I use Eclipse for development.  NetBeans is only installed for the FIRST robotics plugin code.)

File C:\Documents and Settings\me\Application Data\Sun\Java\Deployment\cache\6.0\19\66c54313-5302a8c6|>c.class is infected by Java:Jade-A [Heur],

File C:\Documents and Settings\me\Application Data\Sun\Java\Deployment\cache\6.0\52\59ec2974-343db254|>vload.class is infected by Java:Jade-C [Heur], Deleted

Infected by “Win32:Alureon-KG”

Microsoft describes this trojan as being responsible for a range of harmful activities.  None of them look particularly relevant to the problem I’m having.  But they are in a temp directory so no harm in seeing them go.

File C:\Documents and Settings\me\Local Settings\Temp\encrawsxmo.tmp is infected by Win32:Alureon-KG [Trj], Moved to chest
File C:\Documents and Settings\me\Local Settings\Temp\masneowxrc.tmp is infected by Win32:Alureon-KG [Trj], Moved to chest

Infected by “Win32:Malware-gen”

This isn’t good but I don’t have any Symantec products installed anymore.  I switched from Norton to Avast over a year or two ago.

File C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\CCPD-LC\symlcrst.dll is infected by Win32:Malware-gen, Moved to chest

Infected by “Win32:Malware-gen” (part 2)

Eureka! Two dlls are infected by something.  I don’t know which of these was the root cause of my problem, but it was clearly one of them.  I went to check what each of them are for since removing a system file is risky.  dkvcm.exe is a known virus file.  I couldn’t find anything on the dll good or bad.

File C:\System Volume Information\_restore{202550A8-7A33-4BCA-9586-051D24DDBF8F}\RP1238\A0204372.dll is infected by Win32:Malware-gen, Moved to chest

File C:\WINDOWS\system32\dkvcm.exe is infected by Win32:Malware-gen, Moved to chest


I seem to have had a virus lurking that came to life when I installed Office 2007.  Thanks to Avast, all the symptoms are gone now and my machine is back to normal.