[Review] Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal (English)

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for October 9, 2009 is:

Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal (English)

Version reviewed:

v2009 Build 8931 (1.10.09)

System Requirements:

Windows 2000Pro/XP/Vista/7 (32bit and 64bit editions); Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher; CPU 300 MHz; 128 MB of RAM (256+ recommended); 100 MB HDD; SVGA video adapter and monitor, mouse

Software description as per GOTD:

A powerful tool for system migration!Paragon Virtualization Manager is a powerful tool to help you easily migrate a Windows-based computer to a virtual environment (P2V) of a major virtualization software vendor, regardless of how or where the computer is being backed up.

It also makes a crippled system, previously transferred to virtual hardware by a third party tool, 100% bootable.

  • Continue using your old PC’s applications. Enjoy your favorite applications in a virtual environment on your new computer.
    When it’s time to upgrade to a new PC with a new operating system, you may find that some of your favorite applications haven’t been updated yet to work with your new computer. Using Paragon’s Virtualization Manager 2009, you can migrate to a new computer and make a virtual clone of your old system. Take advantage of an up-to-date powerful computer while still having access to favorite applications from the old computer.
  • Safely Evaluate New Software
    New software can be unintentionally harmful to your computer. You can easily avoid negative system conflicts by creating a virtual clone of your current physical system using Virtualization Manager 2009. Try new software in a safe environment and decide whether it works and is exactly what you need before making it a permanent addition to your collection.
  • Virtualization for Backup Purposes
    Creating a virtual clone of your physical system and saving it to the network is a good alternative to traditional disk imaging. In case of hardware failure, you can still work with your applications in a virtual environment from any other computer until your own PC is repaired – a solution that traditional backup software can’t help you with.
  • Multiple Operating Systems on One Computer
    Virtualization makes it possible to install and run several completely incompatible operating systems on one computer, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X (only as host-operating system).

Technical Support:
During the Giveaway period Paragon Software provides technical support at http://twitter.com/paragonsoftware. Please, post your questions if you have any troubles while downloading, registering and using the software. Paragon Software’s support team will reply you as soon as possible.

If you are 64bit system user follow the link here.

Ashraf’s note:

I am not sure what Paragon is trying to do, but you can already download Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal for free from Paragon’s website: http://dl.paragon-software.com/beta/pvmanager2009_pers.msi.

The download from Paragon’s website is the exact same version as today’s giveaway; both are v2009 Build 8931 (1.10.09). The advantage of downloading the one from Paragon’s website is you don’t have to register anything. However I don’t think there is a 64-bit version available from their website so if you are a 64-bit user you will have to get it from GOTD.

Update: Someone from Paragon is reading my posts because they have taken down the link to download Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal for free. However you can still get Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Corporate for free (32bit64-bit).

For those that are thinking “why can I download this for free” the reason is not because Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 (Personal or Corporate) is freeware. Rather it is because the software is very new at Paragon and they are still testing it and letting people use Beta/RC versions for free. It seems for today’s GOTD Paragon simply took their latest Beta/RC version of Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal, slapped “GOTD” on it, and called it new =).

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Can create Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware, and VirtualBox compliant virtual machines.
  • Can create a VM from your physical partitions/hard disks or image backups created with Paragon software.
  • Interesting “adjust OS” feature to “fix” VMs created by other software.
  • You can browse VMs.
  • Allows you to create VMs of in-use systems.
  • Nice *extra* partition management tools, such as copy hard drive/partition, resize/move partition, format partition, etc.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • A little bit slow in creating VMs when compared to the competition.
  • Requires WinPE disk to use some of the “adjust OS” features; doesn’t come with WinPE disk though.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Pretty much point and click.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”8″}A bit slow when compared to Disk2vhd
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”10″}Come on; everyone will want to do this once or twice =).
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”9″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect my overall rating/verdict of the program in which I considered all the features and free alternatives.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tupr]
{/rw_verdict} –>

Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal is a software that allows you to turn your PC (any partitions or whole hard drive) into a virtual machine. In other words, you can turn your currently installed OS (and all the files/programs on it) into a VM, and run that VM on another computer using any virtualization software.

For those that don’t know anything about virtualization/virtual machines, here is an explanation from my article on Pick up and move to another computer easily: virtualize your current PC (individual partitions or whole disks):

Virtualization technology allows a user to “run an OS in an OS”; in other words, for example, you can have Windows XP 32-bit installed on your computer and run a virtualized version of Windows Vista 64-bit on top of that. The virtualized Windows Vista acts just like if it was installed on your physical machine. However you really didn’t install Windows Vista; you virtualized it and are running it in Windows XP just like you run any other program. Admittedly virtualization does require a fairly powerful PC (to give you a general idea, think of it as running two OSes on your computer at once) or else you will experience huge amounts of lag, but virtualization technology is one of those things that are just awesome.

Now to create a virtual machine, you need virtualization software. The three most popular ones out there VMware, VirtualBox, and Microsoft Virtual PC. VMware is more of a commercial product (although there are some server editions you can get for free), while VirtualBox and Microsoft Virtual PC are completely free. My favorite one has always been VirtualBox because it is open source, so available to all users, and is cross platform (works on Windows, Mac, and Linux).

That being said…I would like to inform dotTechies of an awesome, and potentially very useful, trick: turn your current OS (with all your files and program) into a virtual machine so you can easily run it (with all your files and folders) on another PC. The best part is your current OS is left untouched; rather you just create a “virtual copy” of it. Think of it as creating a backup image of your computer but instead of restoring the image, you “run” the image with your favorite virtualization software such as VirtualBox.

So Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 allows you to create a “virtual copy” of any partition/hard drive on your computer and you can then run that “virtual copy” like a software using VMware, VirtualBox, or Microsoft Virtual PC on any computer you want.

The advantage of virtualizing your current OS is obvious: it allows you to migrate to a new computer very easily.

That being said, lets discuss some more on the features of Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal (PVM09P). Just like with all of Paragon’s software, PVM09P use an “express launcher” where you can access some of the features…

2009-10-09_002212

2009-10-09_002207

…and has a “full scale launcher” where you can access all the features:

2009-10-09_002257

The interface of PVM09P is not really that much different than other Paragon software. In fact PVM09P includes may of partition management tools you find in Paragon’s partition management software such as format partition, resize parition, copy hard drive/partition, etc. However, the main purpose of PVM09P is not related to these partition management features but rather to the “Virtualization Tasks”:

2009-10-09_002639

There are actually more virtualization related features of PVM09P, such as P2P Adjust OS. The problem is I kept receiving an error when trying to use those features. So I looked it up in the Help file and it seems those specific features cannot work with an in-use system and you must boot from a WinPE Cd. the problem is I was not able to find anyway to create a WinPE CD with PVM09P. Oh well; the “P2V Copy”, “P2V Restore”, and “P2V Adjust OS” are excellent features on their own anyway:

  • P2V Copy – this is the core feature of PVM09P. From P2V Copy you select the partition or hard disk you want to turn into a virtual machine (VM), select the VM format you want to create (you can select from VMware, Microsof Virtual PC, or VirtualBox compliant formats), select a location to save the VM, and allow PVM09P to do its thing. Take note, however, you won’t be able to create a Microsoft Virtual PC format VM if your VM will be larger than 127GB because Microsoft Virtual PC has a maximum size limit of 127GB on it’s VMs.

Also when you want to create a VM w/ PVM09P be sure to schedule out a few hours of not being able to use your computer because creating a VM w/ PVM09P can be pretty slow. Now by definition creating a VM will be slow, but PVM09P was telling me it would take 2 hours to create a VM (I let it go to ~30 minutes and the bar only showed about 1/4 done when I canceled) where as Disk2vhd created one in just under 40 minutes.

  • P2V Restore – this feature is basically the same thing as P2V Copy expect instead of creating a VM from your physical partitions/hard drives, you create a VM from a image backup created with Paragon backup software.
  • P2V Adjust OS – this feature is actually pretty interesting. Paragon, apparently, thinks they are the best at virtualizing PCs because P2V Adjust OS is a feature that “fixes” VMs created by “3rd party tools” who did not do it properly. You simply select the VM you want to fix and let PVM09P do its thing.

Two other tools worth noting are:

2009-10-09_003925

  • Connect a Virtual Disk – this feature allows you to “mount” your VM and treat it like it is a real hard drive. You can perform regular partition management tasks on it such as create, format, delete partitions, etc. You can also exchange files between the VM and your physical OS.
  • File Transfer Wizard – this feature allows you to transfer files from your VM to your computer.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

Disk2vhd

Disk2vhd is an excellent lightweight and portable software that allows you to create VMs of your hard drives/partitions just like PVM09P. The difference is PVM09P has more features than Disk2vhd (Disk2vhd can only create VHD VMs) but Disk2vhd also works faster.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal is a great software. It has many tools, allows you to create multiple different types of VMs, and is fairly easy to use to boot. I give it a thumbs up and highly recommend it to anyone. However me, personally, I will be sticking to Disk2vhd because, well, I have no need for all the *extra* features of PVM09P and I prefer the extra speed and portableness of Disk2vhd.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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26 comments

  1. Rob

    The bane of my life (with my oldish PCs) has been XP’s insistence on doing a reboot (in the middle of installing XP).
    I intend to install Ubuntu or XUbuntu into it’s own partition, and then install Virtual Box into that.
    Then I would create a VM within Virtual Box, to install XP into.
    Will XP’s reboot requirement (during XP’s install) cause me heartache ?

  2. Iberg

    @PTLdom:
    I can’t think of any software that I’ve tried to test in Sandboxie which required a reboot on install but I would have thought it would work since the Sandbox remains through a reboot until I manually delete it. Sandboxie does have limitations which is why I was exploring the virtual possibilites but truth be told my Dell Dimension is 6 years old (2 GHz, 2 GB Rambus) and would probably huff and puff if I tried to run 2 OS’s at the same time. Won’t be ready for a new machine until sometime next year.

  3. PTLdom

    @duah: :(:( that’s right, a vbox vm couldn’t either upload the vhd image of my machine due to the same reasons: could not boot it :( … hum … it seems people who succed it are doing some kind of sourcery …

  4. PTLdom

    @Iberg: :):):) … well … how do you “tested” sandboxie? … and, if you want to test Returnil, how will you do it? How will you test software that requires rebooting to install? See … you can’t do much with sandboxie, besides testing small programs and safely browsing the internet.

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @julia: Um copying the VM onto a CD is impossible because, chances are, it will be too big. You can use a USB/flash drive, external hard drive, or even connect both PCs through a laplink or w/e they are called, to transfer the VM to the other PC.

    @mike: Thanks for the info =).

    @LaDuqesa: You could just get Disk2vhd.

    @August: Why not just create a VirtualBox VM and use VirtualBox instead of Microsoft Virtual PC?

  6. August

    @mike:
    You are pretty clear in what you are saying, but just to be sure…

    My C: filesystem is on a 150GB drive, 138GB total size. (I would have put My Documents, Program Files, etc. etc. in a separate partition had I built this from scratch, but it came that way, and I’ve been too lazy to reconfigure it.)

    Are you saying that to meet that 130GB limit of MS’s, I’m going to have to resize my C: partition to under 130GB, and then copy the system to a drive that has at least 130GB free, even if the system is currently using much less than that?

    Obviously I’m going to have to wait until I have a few bucks free to buy an extra drive, or try repartitioning my current system without being able to do a backup first. Oh well…

    Thanks for the heads up and the advice. It will save me a lot of wishful and fruitless planning.

  7. LaDuqesa

    Unfortunately, they seem to have put a stop on the corporate offering too. It downloads, but it’s not possible to install it using the link you provided above. They are certainly reading your reviews!

    What a shame. I was a bit too late to get the GAOTD one and I’ve been to late here too. Does anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  8. mike

    FWIW, Paragon’s Virtualization Mgr has a flaw where it won’t/can’t create a virtual disk smaller than the system partition you’re trying to virtualize. Dynamic [growable] virtual disks are created, but list the original partition size as the max, even if only a small portion of that max is used. This in turn prevents you from creating Microsoft VHDs, if/when your system partition > 130 GB. Creating an empty vhd outside of the app doesn’t seem to work, nor does resizing the partition on a created virtual disk — the disk max is still shown, only now with however much free space, as if it was a physical drive with a small partition. The only way to create a Microsoft VHD when your system partition is > 130 GB would appear to be adjust the size of your system partition downwards, create the VHD, then resize the partition back up.

    BTW, the 130 GB limit is Microsoft’s, not Paragon’s, but the flaw is Paragon’s since their software should let you set the virtual disc max however you like — IMHO it’s a *figure the user’s an idiot* sort of safeguard. I was able to finally create a VHD FWIW, by creating a VMWare virtual disk, downsizing the partition in Virtualization Mgr., & creating a new VM in VMWare Server using this disk [though I never started it]. Connecting the virtual disk in Virtualization Mgr it now showed the reduced max size, which could then be copied to a new VHD in Virtualization Mgr.

  9. Jon

    Hey Ashraf, I don’t know if you looked but Devlet replied on your comment about a free personal edition of this software at GAOTD and you can look further into that to support the fact (or, support Paragon?). By the way, thanks for the post!

  10. julia

    Hi Ashraf and all the other techies here. I’m only trying to learn about computers…I have a question, probably a stupid one at that.

    After I have created a virtual disk on my computer, do I need to copy that data onto a CD first so that I can then load/copy those info to another machine (with Virtual Box installed) to run the VM? If not, how does one copy the virtual disk?

    Thanks in advance for clearing that up;)

  11. mike

    There are 3 package downloads (in both 32 & 64) that I’m aware of:
    1) the corp beta after signing up & getting the url via email.
    2) the corp beta without signup.
    3) the GOTD offer.

    According to Microsoft’s Windiff, after expanding the msi setup files with Universal Extractor, the only differences beside the help & language files, are xml & ini config files. [hdm.dll shows newer, but the version number is identical across all 3].

    The url to get a key emailed to you is: [http://www.paragon-software.com/registration/vm.html]

    Registering for the beta & reporting results is supposed to get you a license for the personal version – how & whether this is different from the GOTD I have no idea.

  12. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Fred Smith: They took it down.

    @rezidue: Bingo.

    @Rush: Yep, the ones from Paragon are the one I talked about “getting for free”. They took them down now though.

    @Mario: Yes that should be true as long as you keep the registration information and the installer safe.

    @Tortuga: You are right it is in Beta. Paragon simply slapped a “GOTD” tag on their latest Beta/RC version and gave it away on GOTD.

    Also, I found those links you posted also; I updated my post to show free downloads of corporate edition. Thanks =).

    @Austinkir: VirtualBox is a completely different software so there is no comparison. VirtualBox runs the VMs created by Disk2vhd and PVM09. You need VirtualBox regardless of if you use Disk2vhd or PVM09.

    @Fred: I can’t =(. I don’t have permission from Paragon to host a mirror.

    @Iberg: Remind me to answer your question when I come back; getting late atm.

    @Tortuga: Ya. I updated my post =).

    @Everyone: Please read my updated “Ashraf’s Note” above.

  13. Tortuga

    Ash

    Did u see the message Paragon left for you on the GOTD comments?
    I went there just now, but the comment it’s soon after yours => #5

    That explains why your link doesn’t work ;)
    Today’s soft is not free per se, the addon is free only when one buys the Partition Mngr.

    Hope this helps.

    Peace

  14. Iberg

    Ashraf,
    As many others have stated I greatly appreciate your reviews of GOTD offerings and the suggestions on this site.
    Just some questions.
    1. I have understood the concept of virtualization for a while but I’m a little stuck on the specifics in regards to this product. For example, I currently have a desktop C drive where XP resides which is 750GB (165GB free). Obviously the OS occupies a small portion of that but how would I virtualize just the OS and a few programs to get it to a size that would come under the 127GB limit you mentioned? Ideally I would like to use my desktop OS virtualized on a laptop that only has a 40 GB hard drive. Is that possible? Am I thinking about this incorrectly?
    2. As far as having a test environment I have also wondered about any advantage of using one of the free virtualization products mentioned in your review vs. my current method of using Sandboxie to test questionable software? Sandboxie seems to setup a virtual environment on the fly although I wonder if the ‘wall’ around it is as strong as a full fledged virtual environment. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks.
    Iberg

  15. Tortuga

    Hello Rush

    I didn’t see that thread on Wilders about the S.I. showdown …
    Could you post that link? Would like «very much» to read it ;)

    Many Thanks

    ***************
    PS: Ash, My comments are getting stuck in moderation!!
    Wassup? You don’t like me nomore??! 8O

  16. Tortuga

    Good Morning Dear Ash :D

    Having the same problem as Fred, that page goes nowhere. But your link seems to say it’s for the Beta version, right?

    I went ahead & searched GG, came up with:
    a) A page to buy the soft, but as an AddOn to Partition Mngr, not as a separate soft
    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/vm-personal/index.html

    b) A thread on Wilders for Beta Testers (but the link for the 32bit dwld is invalid also!)
    http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1553578
    For the Testers, I got this page:
    http://www.paragon-software.com/registration/betatesting_vm2009.html

    So now we’ll await for your instructions, Master :lol:
    If it’s at all possible to get it directly instead of going through GOTD, it’s much better ;)

    Ciao

  17. Rush

    The moderators at GOTD toss any comment I make about this being a different program than what paragon recommends in the email you get from following GOTD’s instructions.

    GOTD x64 MD5:63FD6C4A5AA773CB86048D003E8F478A
    Paragon x64: 5B71A1D7FD63159BA5901D36E637A285

    GOTD x32 MD5:B7D4B80691A9BDC27B41FF55D15C3DD8
    Paragon x32: 153C5C1FFDA4D1EC1DE6FF422EA6E300

    If it is a special GOTD edition, they should say so. You’d think they’d say it proudly, even if it is already free. If it is not then someone (GOTD or Paragon) should explain what is different and why Paragon recommends a different download than the giveaway.

    It’s a great software, but when the mod’s start tossing legit questions it starts to feel shady. Just like when they shot down any comments about the “software informer” until they got blasted over on Wilders.

  18. Fred Smith

    Clicked on the link you have posted to download direct from Paragon and came up with:

    ” This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

    ?

    AccessDenied
    Access Denied
    16A37C8210A7777A
    ?

    Cpbu6taDhqLZ2EVA3qmgl2hm+7/v7JfUtsqkIpBnfb+SIZxKeIhLFJLbFcJdiBBM