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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, How can I make a virtualbox disk image read only? in Technical; Our ICt dept want to do stuff with the students for their coursework that CC3 won't let them do, and ...
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    reggiep's Avatar
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    How can I make a virtualbox disk image read only?

    Our ICt dept want to do stuff with the students for their coursework that CC3 won't let them do, and I'm not sure I would want them to do it.
    So i suggested that they could run a virtual machine and once it was turned off no harm was done to anything.
    So they agreed and now I can't deliver!
    I have virtualbox running with an XP image but i can't work out how to make it read only. I have even made the image read only but whenever I save something on the desktop and trun the virtual machine off, I select save image( as a student might) and then when i turn the image back on the changes are still there. I'm guessing it is creating an additional file somewhere but I don't want it to.
    Has anyone else done this?

    Thanks

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Not with Virtualbox, but with Virtual PC and SteadyState.

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    We did this on Virtual PC by enabling Undo Disks and allowing access to a user-runnable batch file that would delete the delta file to reset it back to the default. I took this approach because I didn't want changes to be deleted automatically in case a student closed the Virtual PC window accidentally mid-lesson, or VPC crashed (not that I can recall it ever doing so).

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    As much as I dislike RM and their badged products, I'm curious what "can't be done" on the CC3 system? What is it they are wanting to do?

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    reggiep's Avatar
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    • Install a program
    • Create a shortcut
    • Explore the c: drive
    • create a user
    • You get the jist

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggiep View Post
    • Install a program
    • Create a shortcut
    • Explore the c: drive
    • create a user
    • You get the jist
    Is this for their ICT course that they need to evidence etc?
    Could you not set up an old laptop or computer off the network for them to do it on?

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb2k01 View Post
    Is this for their ICT course that they need to evidence etc?
    Could you not set up an old laptop or computer off the network for them to do it on?
    Hate this sort of learning. Prefer VM idea.

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    reggiep's Avatar
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    I could set up an old laptop, and indeed that is how it has been done in the past BUT if I could have a simple read only virtual image, the students could do their best all at the same time in a whole ict suite and then when they finish the image is as it was before they started.

    Wow that was a long sentence.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Hate this sort of learning. Prefer VM idea.
    What's to hate about it?
    It provides a use for old equipment, provides a secure enviroment off your network, gives a real-life / hands on perspective for the child and means you don't have to go to the trouble of installing vmware on your classroom pc's and create an image!?

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mb2k01 View Post
    What's to hate about it?
    It provides a use for old equipment, provides a secure enviroment off your network, gives a real-life / hands on perspective for the child and means you don't have to go to the trouble of installing vmware on your classroom pc's and create an image!?
    Generally I hate supporting old hardware, there comes a point that the only thing to do is replace it. You start the year with say 20 machines for 30 kids and by the end you end up with 15, next year its down to 5. Personally installing MS Virtual PC isn't hard, nor is sun's or vmware free version. It'll take a while to get going, but it's easier to support in the long run.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Is it not possible to use snapshots of the VM? Instead of giving the student access to the main virtualbox screen use command line to start the VM through a batch file using:

    VBoxManage startvm |

    and using it to revert the snapshot on exit?

    VBoxManage adoptstate | (i think)

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    A crude approach would just be to have a read only copy of the VM file elsewhere on the disc and an icon to copy it into place.

    If a student accidentally messes up then they can quickly get back to the original settings; if someone deliberately messes up it's also easy to fix and you could even automate an overnight/early morning/whatever replace of the image file.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    A crude approach would just be to have a read only copy of the VM file elsewhere on the disc and an icon to copy it into place.

    If a student accidentally messes up then they can quickly get back to the original settings; if someone deliberately messes up it's also easy to fix and you could even automate an overnight/early morning/whatever replace of the image file.
    I believe VirtualBox has some weird hashes on the hard drives which prevent you from copying drives like that, you have to use the VBoxManage copy function which creates a new drive, but it takes AAAAAGES.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    As your with CC3 - if you want a soloution with no hastle to you RM do one based on MS Virtual PC 2004.

    RM.com Shop: MS Virtual PC 2004 for CC3/ST3 Solution Pack

    Quote Originally Posted by RM
    RM's Virtual PC implementation will provide you with an easily installable, education-focused Virtual PC configuration, with added security features and a comprehensive Virtual PC administration guide.
    Butuz

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