Easy Insider's builds testing via VMs

johngalt

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Hi, all,

I have gobs of RAM, gobs of HD Space (NVMe - planning on dedicating one of my 3 drives to VMs). I plan to create the VMs from base WinX installs, via Win 7 upgrade using my legitimate TechNet keys, and then creating snapshots of the base install and enabling Insider builds - 3 VMs, one for each flight type.

It's been a couple of years since I played with Insiders builds, and back then I was running them live on my system, not in VMs. Anything I should look out for? In particular, I know that reverting to snapshot and upgrading to the latest Dev builds will be particularly crazy sometimes, but I don't really see the need to create a snapshot of the current build, upgrade, create a new snapshot, then revert to base and upgrade again - unless it will help for troubleshooting purposes (a clean WinX stable install upgraded to latest dev build versus a consecutively updated Dev build, which can (and has in the past) caused issues.

If I do decide to keep both SxS, y'all think it would be easier to create 2 installs for each flight type, one that keeps rolling forward with updates, and one that I revert to base and update to latest directly? Or should I just make well labelled snapshots and only use 3 VMs, one for each flight type? (keys are not an issue - I have at least 20 previously unused Win 7 Pro / Ultimate keys I can upgrade with, and 5 or 6 more that I've used previously in VMs to upgrade but have been disassociated with my Microsoft account so are free to be used again).

I'm leaning towards 6 VMs, so I can keep them clearly separated. But if more snapshots and fewer VMs is a better way to go, let me know.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro X64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    The Beast Model A (homebrew)
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * Corsair Vengeance 32 GB 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    eVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0 (04G-P4-3979-KB)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 * Lenovo LT2323pwA Widescreeen @ 1920*1080
    Hard Drives
    3x Sabrent Rocket PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 1 TB SSD (SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB)
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDHII-960G-G25 960 GB SATA III SSD
    2 * Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM --> RAID1
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    NZXT KRAKEN Z73 73.11 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler + Air (3 * 140mm fans from case)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Laser Mouse(shared)
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philc43

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I am currently testing insider builds with VMs. It works well and I have about 4 on the go for the different channels and I include one 32bit installation as well. I started some with Win 7 and others with W10. I keep rolling forward with WU and have not needed to do any clean installs. I usually do automatic checkpoints and don't keep a history of checkpoints because I would soon run out of space - that may not be a problem for you though. I would struggle with more than about 4 VMs and find this a good balance between the time it takes to keep them all updated and evaluated and the storage space needed. They run really well on SSDs but I don't have loads of memory or loads of CPU cores so I am limited on how many I can run simultaneously.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self-Build
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77-V LX
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidia Geforce GTX 750Ti
    Sound Card
    On-board Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 226BW
    Hard Drives
    1TB SSD + 1TB HDD
    PSU
    Corsair TX550
    Case
    Gigabyte IF233
    Keyboard
    Microsoft wired Keyboard 600
    Mouse
    Microsoft wired Basic Optical
    Internet Speed
    900MB/s
    Browser
    MS Edge
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johngalt

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Thanks for the info. I suspect that if I made an initial (fixed) checkpoint of the clean OS initial install, if I had problems with a particular build not installing over a previous build, repeatedly, I could simply revert to clean and install the latest build over that (provided it didn't also go south during install).

I think that makes up my mind - I'll just go with the 3, one for each channel, and keep only 3 checkpoints per install - 1, the main backup of the default base install prior to enabling Insiders builds for each VM, one of the current build and one of the previous build (in case I need to revert to previous for whatever reason).

I think with keeping them at the bare minimum HD space that I need for test, say 50-60 GB (or even less, perhaps), I can have a lot on the 1 TB drive, though I've already used up about 250 GB for the CompTIA VMs. I've already assigned the CompTIA VMs to their own group (although Hyper-V doesn't show groups - pity) and my currently only non-COmpTIA VM it's own group named personal - I'll drop in 3 more VMs into the personal group and start playing with some of these newer builds.

If anyone else has any comments / suggestions, please, feel free to chime in here - Good thing about VMs is that they can be removed and new ones can be created with barely any effort. If I actually spent a bit of time and learned how to duplicate them then it's be even easier lol - that's a topic for the weekend, I think.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro X64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    The Beast Model A (homebrew)
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * Corsair Vengeance 32 GB 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    eVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0 (04G-P4-3979-KB)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 * Lenovo LT2323pwA Widescreeen @ 1920*1080
    Hard Drives
    3x Sabrent Rocket PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 1 TB SSD (SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB)
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDHII-960G-G25 960 GB SATA III SSD
    2 * Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM --> RAID1
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    NZXT KRAKEN Z73 73.11 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler + Air (3 * 140mm fans from case)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Laser Mouse(shared)
    Internet Speed
    AT&T Lightspeed Gigabit duplex
    Browser
    Nightly|Chrome|Canary|Edge+ (Chromium) (in all 4 flavors)
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    Windows Defender + MB 4

Kari

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Just to be sure, the following applies only to Hyper-V.

First and most important, I would absolutely use differencing disks, as told in this Ten Forums tutorial: Hyper-V - Use Differencing Disks

In your case, I would download the three different Insider ISO files from UUP dump :

1622997827067.png
(Click thumbnail to enlarge screenshot.)

I would then create three parent disks, as told in above mentioned tutorial, one for each of three different Insider channels.

From now on, you can install Windows 10 really fast, because the parent disk (Windows system core) already exists on a parent disk / VHD. Using differencing disks, first time installing W10 on a child disk is a mind blowing experience: start the VM to install W10, a minute later you are on Desktop.

In addition, here are some tips to "pimp" / fine tune your Hyper-V Insider virtual machines, as told in a Ten Forums tutorial: Hyper-V - Optimizing Virtual Machines

Kari
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Insider Dev Channel
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP HP ProBook 470 G5
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-8550U
    Motherboard
    HP 837F KBC Version 02.3D.00
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620 & NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Laptop display (17.1") & Samsung U28E590 (27.7")
    Hard Drives
    128 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD
    Internet Speed
    100 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up
    Browser
    Edge Chromium Dev Channel
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    2 * 3 TB USB HDD
    6 GB WD Mirror NAS
    Wireless Logitech MK710 keyboard
    Wireless Logitech MSX mouse

johngalt

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Oh, man, it is so damned good to see you back in form, @Kari.

Thanks for the heads up - that will make a HUGE difference.

Time to start reading those (again).
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro X64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    The Beast Model A (homebrew)
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * Corsair Vengeance 32 GB 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    eVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0 (04G-P4-3979-KB)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 * Lenovo LT2323pwA Widescreeen @ 1920*1080
    Hard Drives
    3x Sabrent Rocket PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 1 TB SSD (SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB)
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDHII-960G-G25 960 GB SATA III SSD
    2 * Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM --> RAID1
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    NZXT KRAKEN Z73 73.11 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler + Air (3 * 140mm fans from case)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Laser Mouse(shared)
    Internet Speed
    AT&T Lightspeed Gigabit duplex
    Browser
    Nightly|Chrome|Canary|Edge+ (Chromium) (in all 4 flavors)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + MB 4
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