Issues with VirtualBox between Ubuntu and Windows 7

My Sager NP8690 is one awesome notebook (except for the battery life).   Right now I have it configured for dual boot between Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows 7.  The only time I really use Windows 7 is to watch Blu-Ray movies and the occasional office document that down for display correctly in Open-office.  But rebooting the PC to go back and forth between the two OS’s is an inconvenience.

To resolve this issue I installed Oracle Virtualbox 3.2.4.  Currently I have one VM with Linux Mint 9 x64 which works well.  So I attempted to install Windows 7 x32 just like I did at work on an old HP D530 tower.  When the install reaches the point of Installing Updates the OS fails stating it’s unable to find the hard drive.

I searched for an answer but nothing really fixed my problem.  Then I noticed the HDD controller for my Windows 7 VM was set for AHCI with a blank check box.  Selecting the check box allows the VM to access the HDD controller directly.  Installation of Windows 7 is complete.

Everything in Windows 7 seems stable and running well minus the Aero effects.  I checked for updates and out of 21, only 3 installed.  That’s no good, time to reboot the VM and tried again.  None of the available updates would install.  I found this solution for Windows Vista and it worked on Windows 7.

And since I am setting up VMs, I decided to install my copy on Windows XP and Microsoft Vista.  Why Vista?  Because I got it for free and gives me an opportunity to learn something new.  Plus I have friends and family that run Vista and they call for help on occasion.

Unfortunately I made a small error when I installed Ubuntu 10.04.  Since I chose to dual boot, I kept the Windows partition at 2/3 total drive space.  Since I created four VMs I am down to about 7GB free on my Home partition.  If I can get my Windows 7 VM to play Blu-Ray I will copy off all VMs, backup all data files from both OSs, and then rebuild with Ubuntu 10.04 and import all data.  Looks like I’m in for a long weekend.

UPDATE:

After spending 2 hours reading posts about playing Blu-Ray in a VM, it looks like this is not possible.  I plan on moving forward with the migration since I’m out of drive space.  I read a solution in Ubuntu Forums that might work.

Complaints About OpenOffice

Over the weekend, I had to download about 10 different documents written is Microsoft Office 2003 or earlier.  Because I really want to move away from Windows and stay Linux only, I said to myself; “Self – Let’s use OpenOffice to open all of these documents, fill out what needs to be filled out, save, print, and e-mail them to the correct recipients.”

So I downloaded all 10 documents, saved them into a folder on the Desktop, and then used OpenOffice to to read them.  Now comes the problem, each document opened, and I could see all the text, and logos, but each document had tables.  The tables were setup in a form format, and they were a mess.  I then said; “There is no way these documents are supposed to look like this.”  I tried to modify the tables and set cell the way it should be.  But I don’t know how they should look.  So I had to save the documents to my XP partition and reboot to Windows.

So now I am back in XP, I open each document with Microsoft Office 2007, and the documents look 100% better!!  All the cells are aligned correctly, even documents that I opened in OpenOffice which were two pages long, were actually only one page in Office 2007.

I completed my work in Office 2007, printed and saved and rebooted into Ubuntu 9.04.  I copied each document back from the XP partition, into a new sub-folder on my Desktop, and then opened each in OpenOffice.  And each document still looked like a mess, but now the mess had my information in each field.

I’m not sure why Open Office was giving me a hard time about documents with tables.  To me, this is ridiculous, how can anyone expect OpenOffice to be a replacement for Microsoft Office when it can’t open documents with tables?  I’m going to search the Internet for some answers, maybe even post in Ubuntu Forums.  You can give Microsoft all the grief you want about Vista, but in my opinion, Microsoft Office is still the best.  If Microsoft would build a version to run native in Linux, I would purchase it today, or yesterday when I needed it.