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I Bricked My Laptop Then Installed A Virtual Machine

August 3, 2017

 This post may be for my tech heads out there.

 

I had Windows 10 Home. But my laptop does not have a TPM which allows for BitLocker without using USB drives.

 

To give Microsoft credit, the most trusted encryption tool is Bitlocker. Without a TPM, the Bitlocker tool is very beneficial. Without it, one has to figure several workarounds or more likely need to purchase 3rd party encryption software.

 

So I tried to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and it was unsuccessful. The upgrade only work if the hard drive does not have an operating system installed. But took the opportunity to reinstall Windows 10 Pro but decided without encryption there wasn't a point - in other words without a TPM on the laptop, using the USB method wasn't practical.

 

I installed Linux with used the option to encrypt the drive then installed both Virtualbox and VMware player. My first test was with Virtualbox. This worked well but a huge pain point for me was a known issue of audio not working. This means I have to listen to music using Ubuntu and not Windows.

 

I then decided to try VMware Player. This worked well too, but noticeably not as smooth as Virtualbox, but overall worked.

 

For both emulators, the laptop fan comes on much more compared to running Windows natively. So long term I worry about whether is working harder then it needs to. But Virtualbox allows you to also encrypt the virtual machine. So in the event my laptop is stolen, in order to get data from the Windows 10 virtual machine, the Ubuntu encryption would need to be cracked then the Virtualbox encryption would need to be cracked which is better security than native Windows without BitLocker.

 

I enjoy the ability to open suspicious emails and links in Ubuntu for testing purposes. While I am considering a cloud based virtual machine, it may be easier and cheaper to buy a server, host it, create a high spec virtual machine, and put it on my own cloud. I feel cloud based virtual machines eliminate the hardware needs for most computing needs.

 

We'll see what I do over the next 4 months.

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