• All Community
    • All Community
    • Forums
    • Ideas
    • Blogs

Not what you are looking for? Ask the experts!

Kudos0

Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

I have NIS 2012 (v19.7.0.9) installed on my Win7 Pro x64 laptop and it is working fine.  It is a 3-PC license and all 3 installations are used.  The remaining 2 licenses are installed on other WinXP desktop PCs.

I have Windows Virtual PC - Windows XP Mode installed on this laptop to run some older programs.  This is also working fine.

My question is this - do I need a separate antivirus program installed in the Virtual PC XP Mode?  If I have internet activity going on from within the XP Mode VM, does that internet traffic go through NIS which I have installed on Win7, or do I need an additional antivirus program installed within XP Mode?

Thanks for any guidance.

--------------------------------------------------Gary

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

I have NIS 2012 (v19.7.0.9) installed on my Win7 Pro x64 laptop and it is working fine.  It is a 3-PC license and all 3 installations are used.  The remaining 2 licenses are installed on other WinXP desktop PCs.

I have Windows Virtual PC - Windows XP Mode installed on this laptop to run some older programs.  This is also working fine.

My question is this - do I need a separate antivirus program installed in the Virtual PC XP Mode?  If I have internet activity going on from within the XP Mode VM, does that internet traffic go through NIS which I have installed on Win7, or do I need an additional antivirus program installed within XP Mode?

Thanks for any guidance.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?


nikki605 wrote:

I have NIS 2012 (v19.7.0.9) installed on my Win7 Pro x64 laptop and it is working fine.  It is a 3-PC license and all 3 installations are used.  The remaining 2 licenses are installed on other WinXP desktop PCs.

I have Windows Virtual PC - Windows XP Mode installed on this laptop to run some older programs.  This is also working fine.

My question is this - do I need a separate antivirus program installed in the Virtual PC XP Mode?  If I have internet activity going on from within the XP Mode VM, does that internet traffic go through NIS which I have installed on Win7, or do I need an additional antivirus program installed within XP Mode?

Thanks for any guidance.


Hi,

If the VM sees and is seen by the Internet it needs protection. You can install your Norton product in that system without needing an additional subscription. The Norton server will recognize the VM OS as part of the authorized machine and allow the install - will will never be using more than the purchased three subscriptions at any one time. If you do reach a point where you want to run four systems then you will need an additional subscription.

Hope this helps

Dick Win7x64 SP1 current NSBU
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Dick,

Let's double check about activations in VMs unless you have done it -- my recollection is that an activation is used up in VMs unlike with dual booting as isolated OS's.

But I may be wrong .....

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

I haven't tried installing NIS in the VM yet.  I have been running MSE just to have something because I wasn't sure if I needed an a/v in the VM or not, which is why I posted the question.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Thanks for asking, Gary.... I realize your question was whether the VM was in fact protected by its host. I have gotten the impression from here and elsewhere that it is not, if it has any contact with the outside world, which could be internet but equally could be reading a file from a disk or thumbdrive ....

I've asked for clarification of what I'd seen earlier but that ended up not entirely clear on the point of activations.

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Hi Gary

      I had checked the same scenario a while back in an imac running Windows7 in Virtualbox. I have N360 in Win7 and NIS for mac in the Host. I downloaded some malicious files from malware domainlist website and got the prompt from NIS installed in mac stating malicious connection blocked, N360 didn't prompted anything, because the Internet Connection is only shared by the VM and not a separate connection. So the Host machine AV moniters the Internet Traffic and blocks anything malicious. And as the malicious communication is blocked already by the Host AV, N360 didnt prompted anything.

      Same applies to the files you download in Vm, because if you download a file it gets stored in the Virtual Hard Disk space you had allocated and that Virtual HDD space is located in the Host Machine only. So that too gets scanned by the Host Machines AV. I hope i made my comment clear.... Feel free to correct me and give your Comments about it. 

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Well... if I'm reading these replies correctly, then I'm still unsure.

Hugh seems to think that the host a/v does not protect the VM, but Subash's reply says that the host a/v does protect the VM.

When I get a minute, I guess I can download the the EICAR test file from within the VM and see what happens.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

nikki

I would not pay too much attention to me on Virutal Machines since I've not used them and I don't know the "status" of the host when the VM is running

I am very likely wrong about the host security not protecting the VM since I said somewhere recently that since the VM is just a bunch of files running under the host and "pretending" to be an operating system the user in that case should not have assumed that it was safe to play with a rootkit to see what it did since if it infected the drive itself then the host could be affected.

But even that logic may be wrong since we are dealing with computers ....

What I was more categoric about was that we need to check on the question of whether a Norton security application installed on a VM requires an additional activation or not ... on that I don't have a areply yet from the person who was dealing with multiboot activations  ....

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?


nikki605 wrote:

Well... if I'm reading these replies correctly, then I'm still unsure.

Hugh seems to think that the host a/v does not protect the VM, but Subash's reply says that the host a/v does protect the VM.

When I get a minute, I guess I can download the the EICAR test file from within the VM and see what happens.


Hi,

Quick fix suggestion. You have a 3PC subscription with all three in use. Install Norton on the VM and see if your key will activate it or you get an error message. If it activates, problem solved. If not, then you will need an additional subscription.

Hope this helps

Dick Win7x64 SP1 current NSBU
Kudos3

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Dick, you will find that it takes a seperate license to run a Norton product in a VM since the "hardware" of a virtual machine is different than the host system.  (most of it is virtualized).

Subash, I think you will find that the behavior for a windows VPC is different than a Mac.

Files downloaded into a Virtual PC do not "pass through" the host system so they can't be scanned or intercepted by a AV installed on the host.   I can download and run the Eicar test virus in a VM and NIS on the host system doesn't bloack it in any way.

I'm not familar with how a Mac does virulization but it seems like it must be sending the files from the host into the VM.

As for NIS scanning the virtual had drive, it can't do that either.

Norton products do not support .vhd files as "containers" like it does with archives like zips and rars.

Although it really should support them, it's a very common format.

You can right click and scan the vhd files but it only scans tham as 1 file, Norton is not able to scan the files inside the container.

In order to do a manual scan of the contents of a VHD, the easiest way if your using windows 7 is to use disk management to mount the vhd as a hard drive and then scan it like you would a normal drive.

You also could "share" the VHD wile it is in use and scan it like a network drive but it should be considered bad practice to share the root of another system over the network.

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

DaveH,

Thanks for the information. I did not kow for sure and I haven't found an answer elsewhere so I made my suggestion. Your response has saved that user the effort of trying and failiing, again thank you.

Dick Win7x64 SP1 current NSBU
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Thanks Dave,

I really was pretty certain that I'd come across this explanation in enough other places that it needed clarification here.

I'm still hoping that Norton will jump in on the specific of activation in view of the situation as it was left in the earlier private discussion.

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

It has been clarified, a virtual machine is a different hardware platform than the physical system.

That makes it a different computer, it does not matter that it's running inside a program (virtual pc) that is installed on the physical system.  The "BIOS" and therefore the "motherboard" are virtulized and so are the hard drive controllers, hard drives, sound card, CD-Rom, and even the ACPI.   The "Network adapater"  although it appears to be the phyical NIC actually works through a "bridge". 

You can verify this with an activated version of windows, if you restore an image even an image of the physical OS into a VM it's going to prompt for activation because the hardware enviroment is completely different.

I'm saying this from experiance, I have personally done each and every thing I have commented on here.

I have been using virtual PC's for many years and I think I have around 15 of them at the moment.

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

There is a point that in private discussions was left up in the air -- it's not to do with physical reality so I don't want to discuss it in public until it is clarified.

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Well, I had no idea my question would prompt so many replies. Thanks for all the input. Your posts made for some interesting reading and I learned a few things.

After a busy day working on the "honey-do" list, I had some time this evening to test the EICAR file.  I started the VM and then started IE8 in it.  I downloaded the file from the EICAR site and low-and-behold, NIS running in the host Win7 OS saw and blocked the download.  It never got as far as even being seen by MSE running in the VM.

I guess that answered my question.  It seems I do not need to install NIS in the WinXP VM.  I probably don't even need MSE, but since it's free, I guess I'll leave it there and running.

Thanks again for all your input,

Gary

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?


nikki605 wrote:

Well, I had no idea my question would prompt so many replies. Thanks for all the input. Your posts made for some interesting reading and I learned a few things.

After a busy day working on the "honey-do" list, I had some time this evening to test the EICAR file.  I started the VM and then started IE8 in it.  I downloaded the file from the EICAR site and low-and-behold, NIS running in the host Win7 OS saw and blocked the download.  It never got as far as even being seen by MSE running in the VM.

I guess that answered my question.  It seems I do not need to install NIS in the WinXP VM.  I probably don't even need MSE, but since it's free, I guess I'll leave it there and running.

Thanks again for all your input,

Gary


Gary,

Thanks for the feedback. We all learned a bit or two.

Hope your honey do isn't as long as mine.

Please do leave MSE on the VM system. Keep both Norton and MSE current. No one security program is going to protect you from every threat all of the time. That's just one of the hard facts. Security is always trying to catch up and out guess the bad guys/gals but that isn't always perfect.

Stay well and surf safe

Dick Win7x64 SP1 current NSBU
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

The "honey-do" list is written on legal sized paper - 2 columns - both sides.

I plan on leaving MSE right where it is.  I do very web little surfing from within the VM.  I mainly have it to run Windows Live Mail for compatibility with my primary PC which is a WinXP desktop.  WLM under Win7 is not compatible withWLM under WinXP, so I have to run WLM in the VM.  Clicking on a link in an email therefore, starts IE8 in the VM.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Nikki,

You can get infected from webmail ..... so IMO you need a security program on your VM if only to deal with the malware a user unwittingly can invite in.

Hugh
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

They don't get blocked for me, you can see the 3 Eicar test files on the right.

I can download and run them in VPC without Norton blocking or detecting them.

Dave

Kudos1

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

I can see whats going on now.

Your using the network setting: Shared Networking (NAT)

That sets up something very similar to internet connection sharing.  All the internet traffic is coming from the internet to your physical network adapter and then goes to your virtual pc and virtual NIC through internet connection sharing.

Internet > Real NIC > internet connection sharing > Virtual PC

The internet traffic passes through your physical system and can be inspected by file insight.

I set mine for NAT and the eicar files get detected too.

I normally don't use NAT, as in the screenshot above all my VPC's are set to the physical adapter.

Internet > Virtual PC

Whats called a "bridge" is used to allow 2 systems to share a single NIC directly by letting them "take turns" using the NIC as traffic is needed. Basically 2 direct internet connections without having to use NAT.

Since there is no NAT and no traffic going through the host operating system, nothing can get inspected or blocked.

The main reason I don't use NAT is that I can set each VPC as a fixed IP address and it's easier to network them together and through a router when they are all treated as seperate systems like that.

I'm not using them as "XP Mode", I'm using them as complete virtual PC's.

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Gary,

"The "honey-do" list is written on legal sized paper - 2 columns - both sides. "

You have me beat. I've been working on mine for a few decades but it never seems to get too much shorter.

Stay well and surf safe

Dick Win7x64 SP1 current NSBU
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

You are correct, Dave.  I just checked and that is how the option on my VM is set.  It is the default setting, which I never changed.

I didn't realize the effect the option had.  See, I learned something else new.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Actually I learned something new too.  If I can learn something new every day then I have made some progress and didn't waste that day.

It must be somethig new, within the last couple years added to the Norton products because I don't recall network traffic being scanned before with the NAT setting.

I had nothing to do last night so I setup XP mode to play around with it again since I have no need to actually use it.

I see another potential problem in installing an AV into it.   If the user is using XP mode to only run programs that are not comapatable with windows 7, the user will hardly ever "see" the XP desktop.  So if your AV is blinking red in the system tray because of a problem, you may never see it.  If Norton pops up a warning box, I don't know if XP mode will display that in addition to the program being run in XP mode.

Another thing is the way XP mode goes in and out of hybernation, you would have to know when the AV needed a reboot because of a program update.   It seems with the 2012 products we have gone through several forced reboots so far.

So it seems to me you would want an AV that can just "sit there and work" with a minimal amount of user action or reboots.

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

That is the way XP Mode ends up being used on my laptop - very rarely, if I don't start WLM.  So, it would be like an actual XP machine being in hibernate.  An a/v would not get any updates with the machine hibernated.

I usually start the XP Mode about once a week just to do a manual update of MSE and "sync" the WLM mailbox storage folders with my primary desktop PC.

--------------------------------------------------Gary
Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

I doubt Norton will be able to scan incoming mail the same way it scans something downloaded from the internet.

As far as I know, it doesn't scan incoming mail for WLM like it does with Outlook and Outlook Express.

Defiantly not if your using SSL ports to connect to your ISP.

Thats silly how WLM does not have compatibility between the different versions, I might be inclined to use 2 different email clients.

Syncing your mail in the other direction would be safer, it's thats possible.  Recieving it on the XP desktop that had Norton installed should allow the files to be scanned as they are accessed (moved to the laptop XP mode).

Other than that, as long as you don't go clicking executable files or attachments you should be fine.

I'm no expert in Viruses but my personal belief is that the main source of infection is through the internet and the most common vectors in my opinion is java and flash.  

For that reason, I never use my virtual pc's to surf the internet.  I don't even install java, flash, or adobe reader so I don't end up with those vulnerabilities.  If I do go online in one, it's either to update something or I may go directly to a known good website to download a legitimate program.   But besides that, it's really unnecessary to use a browser in a VM.

I hate to mention this, because I would not reccomend it to everyone.

But in all my years of using virual pc's never once have I ever had one infected.   I always recieve any downloded files to my desktop when possible and scan them before moving them into my VPC.   I also do not use the browser for normal internet use, and just in case something were to happen, I limit the VM's access to the physical machine by only allowing shared folders that I feel are necessary.   (Don't give it access to every single drive if you don't need it so you can limit any possible "spread" of an infection).

It's also very easy to copy the vhd file to backup a "known clean" virtual pc if you have the extra space availible.

If I were using XP mode for a very important task or program on an ongoing basis, I guess I would then use an AV just in case but if you understand the ways that a system can get infected and take precautions it would be very difficult to get infected in the first place.

Dave

Kudos0

Re: Windows Virtual PC - Do I Need An Antivirus?

Normally, I pull down email on my primary PC, a WinXP desktop.  Originally, it used Outlook Express as the email client.  It is my wife's PC mainly and I have been forbidden from making any major changes to it.   When I was planning on getting this Win7 laptop, I knew OE would not be on it, so I switched to WLM on the WinXP desktop because the UI looked so much like OE, I figured it would be easy for her to get used to.

With OE, I would copy all of the .dbx mail store files to my old WinXP laptop for when we traveled.  That worked great for us.  When we got home from the trip, I would copy all the .dbx files back from the laptop to the desktop.

It wasn't until I received this new Win7 laptop and installed WLM on it that I found out that it used a different version of the MS Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) database and the file structure was not backward compatible.  I could copy the mail store files from WinXP to Win7 and Win7 would convert the file structure to the newer version and work fine.  The problem came when I tried to copy the mail store files back to the WinXP desktop.  I got error messages like crazy because it couldn't read the newer version's file structure.

That's what pushed me to installing Virtual PC WinXP Mode.  When I installed WLM in the WinXP Mode VM, it was using the same older ESE version and I could move the mail store database files back & forth with no errors.

I never use IE8 in the VM for general web surfing, as you pointed out.  I always use IE9 in Win7.  But every once in a while, an email will arrive with a link in it that if I click on it will open IE8 in the VM.  These are trusted emails from banks/businesses/financial institutions that I know and trust.  I'm trying to get in the habit of copying the link and pasting it into IE9 rather than just clicking on it.

My ISP (Verizon) does require a secure connection (SSL) on SMTP port 465 & POP3 port 995.  You are correct, Norton in not integrated into WLM like it is into Outlook & OE, but to date, I have not had any problems because of that.

--------------------------------------------------Gary