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Graphics Software Technology

Virtualbox 3.0 Announces OpenGL/Direct3D Support 161

Posted by timothy
from the can-this-vm-be-simulated-though dept.
bl8n8r writes "Apparently, Virtualbox 3.0 released today (2009-07-01) brings with it 'OpenGL 2.0 for Windows, Linux and Solaris guests; and experimental support for Direct3D 8/9 applications on Windows guests.' Maybe we can finally game in a VM?"
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Virtualbox 3.0 Announces OpenGL/Direct3D Support

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  • Finally? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:36PM (#28551061)
    What do you mean finally? I'm playing Minesweeper in a VM now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rachit (163465)

      You could also do this using VMware player, which is free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You can also do this in VirtualBox, which is free and full featured (for non-commercial use.)
        • Re:Finally? (Score:5, Informative)

          by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:14PM (#28551523)
          The free to use 'personal user end license' does actually allow you to use VirtualBox in a commercial environment, as long as you install it and use it yourself. Check out their FAQ at http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Licensing_FAQ [virtualbox.org] If you can live without USB connectivity then the GPL version is also pretty fully featured, and their 'seemless' mode is really really cool.
          • Is the absence of USB passthrough from the GPL version related to the licence(s) of USB passthrough code they licenced from somebody else, or was that just a convenient feature to omit for price discrimination purposes?
          • We use the the GPL version in our classrooms. It makes teaching technology a lot easier when the student is just one rollback away after a fuckup.

            • by debatem1 (1087307)
              similar situation here- used it as the basis for a networking simulation lab where I could put the whole (simulated) network into a known state and demonstrate various attacks and defenses from there.
        • by IBBoard (1128019)

          You can even stay in Linux and run Minesweeper through Wine ;)

      • Does VMWare have anything equivalent to
        VBoxHeadless -s XP?

        I know most people running 3D acceleration will be doing it locally, but with a quad core processor and a hefty Video Card I can do a ton of batch processing in photoshop using RemoteDesktop on a computer with under 1GHz.

        • by pdbogen (596723)

          VBoxManage -type vrdp start , or something quite similar, though you can also do it through the GUI, if you like. Note that VirtualBox supports RDP access to any type of VM, since it's done by VirtualBox rather than the Guest OS.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Does VMWare have anything equivalent to VBoxHeadless -s XP?

          Every VMware virtual machine is headless until you connect a console to it, so, yes.

          VMware also has a multilingual script API which you can use to control your VMs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Wow. What are your frame rates? Do the tile bevels look any better? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hedwards (940851)
        No, but just wait until we get physics acceleration support. The explosions will be truly breathtaking.
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      I've been playing the original Grand Theft Auto [rockstargames.com] in VirtualBox recently. GTA2 couldn't recognise a suitable graphics card in 2.2.4 with WinXP, but I still got some old-school car theft and carnage on my Linux box :)

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:37PM (#28551073)

    "Experimental" generally means "full of tons of bugs." 3D virtualization seems like it is just hard to do, at this point. VMWare has been working on it and at this point it isn't even "experimental" in the latest version of VMWare Workstation. Well it works... kinda. It's fairly slow and there are some rendering errors. I can get WoW to run, but it isn't all that playable.

    I've been watching this sort of thing with interest since old games are one of the things I'm very fond of. However at this point, 3D VMs seem to be an experimental playtoy, not something that can be used for serious gaming.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      i am able to play sof2 fullscreen with high specs on my xp virtualmachine, running in gentoo. 3d accel works great. still iffed about starcraft not stretching to screen-size though -_____-

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Try running the VM with RDP (from vbox, not from windows itself) and connect to that.

        While the normal SDL output of vbox won't scale, most RDP clients will.

        Since you are (probably) doing this over localhost, crank that shit up and it should work just fine :D

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      How about Parallels?

      This can be done well, it just hasn't yet been done well on a Linux host.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MobileMrX (855797)

        Parallels, definitely! I play CS 1.6 and HL2 on my Parallels install with few/no problems!

        If I could double mod you up, I would ;)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:43PM (#28551131)

      "...not something that can be used for serious gaming."

      WTF?

      Sorry, I didn't know I was speaking to a "professional". :-/

    • by Meshach (578918)

      "Experimental" generally means "full of tons of bugs."

      Not necessarily. Recently companies have been redefining what words like "experimental", "beta", and "release" mean. Just look at GMail (the obvious example).

      My main point is that the software may not be as bad as we think.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      When I tested (was vbox 2.x) I could play Quake 3 in a WinXP (32-bit) VM at over 60fps consistently (1024x768x32, everything on and up excepting anti-aliasing)

      Host system:
      Amd Phenom II X4 (4x 3.0ghz), nVidia 9800 GTX+

      So, yes it could be faster. But it's not all that slow either.

      I hope to test out vbox 3.x - I'm assuming it will be better.

      I can't wait for the days where when Wine fails, you can just fire up a VM!

    • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:32PM (#28552763)

      However at this point, 3D VMs seem to be an experimental playtoy, not something that can be used for serious gaming.

      It makes no sense to lump OpenGL and Direct3D together as "3D" when you're talking about VirtualBix, since they are implemented in very different ways.

      VirtualBox OpenGL is basically just as pass-thru to the host driver. The guest box additions includes a virtual OpenGL driver that just passes the commands thru to the the host and the real driver. There must be some performance hit, but the approach seems simple enough.

      VirtualBox Direct3D is implemented using the WINE driver that converts Direct3D calls into OpenGL which then get tunneled through to the host OpenGL driver as in the OpenGL case. VirtuaBox Direct3D should therefore be similar in functionality to that in WINE. One upside to the approach is that you don't need a Windows host to have D3D guest aceleration.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Michael Hunt (585391)

      The problem, as I understand it, isn't that 3D hardware is difficult to handle in a VM (it's not, really, you simply paravirtualise calls to the 3D hardware and translate them into libGL calls in the VM host software). The problem is that doing so in Windows is practically impossible, because of MS's licensing terms for the DDKs you need. Smart move on their part, of course, if Paravirtual D3D was considered a first-order citizen of windows in the same way that NVidia or ATI D3D was, then nobody would hav

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tried Quake Live in an XP VM on my Mac. It ran slowly, mouse didn't work at all, and keyboard response was piss poor.

      So yeah, seems like it ain't happening for now. Virtualbox is really nice though; I've been using it for a year and a half now and I love it.

  • It can use FreeBSD as a host O/S.

  • Virtual box (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:46PM (#28551161)

    I use Virtual box on a pair of mac intel core duo 2 machines to run windows XP pro I'm very pleased with it. It essentially works perfectly. I don't care that it is only single processor since All I want is basic seemless windows functionality for those few cases where software is windows only.

    it works well with USB devices. I use it to program Lego Mindostorms, and for Midi (to USB) keyboard input and some thumb drives.

    it will mount any folder on my mac disk either permenantly or temporarily (these show us as X: or Y: or whatever). What's mildly annoying is that this is 2 step process: first you tell the VM to "add the drive" then you have to use a windows "run" command "net use x: " to tell windows about it. the second step seems strange to me, but you only do it one time.

    I've had three things I could not figure out.

    I never was able to get a windows media player to mount in media player mode so I could use windows DRM protected WMA files on it and manage it from within windows media player 11. Instead it only will mount as a thumb drive.

    I was not able to get a virtual CD device to mount an iso image or burn an iso image (as a work around for getting the WMA files in a format I could play).

    It will not burn a CD or DVD.

    also I never figured out how to add my Samsung C310 printer to it or my HP multifunction printer to it. it does see them, it just never finds the drivers. However I'm pretty certain this is a windows driver problem and nothing to do with the VM.

    I don't game so open GL means squat to me.

    • Re:Virtual box (Score:4, Informative)

      by stevied (169) * on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:55PM (#28551309)

      .. then you have to use a windows "run" command "net use x: " to tell windows about it. the second step seems strange to me, but you only do it one time.

      If you can figure out how to browse the *whole* network in Windows, which IIRC isn't immediately obvious, you can do it in the GUI (and in fact don't even need to map a drive - just save shortcut.) Right clicking on network neighbourhood and saying "explore" is the trick, I think. Alongside the "Microsoft Windows Network" object there's a "VirtualBox Shared Folders" which contains all the shared folders.

      But you're right, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to make the appropriate window pop open automagically.

      • by goombah99 (560566)

        .. then you have to use a windows "run" command "net use x: " to tell windows about it. the second step seems strange to me, but you only do it one time.

        If you can figure out how to browse the *whole* network in Windows, which IIRC isn't immediately obvious, you can do it in the GUI (and in fact don't even need to map a drive - just save shortcut.) Right clicking on network neighbourhood and saying "explore" is the trick, I think. Alongside the "Microsoft Windows Network" object there's a "VirtualBox Shared Folders" which contains all the shared folders.

        But you're right, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to make the appropriate window pop open automagically.

        .. then you have to use a windows "run" command "net use x: " to tell windows about it. the second step seems strange to me, but you only do it one time.

        If you can figure out how to browse the *whole* network in Windows, which IIRC isn't immediately obvious, you can do it in the GUI (and in fact don't even need to map a drive - just save shortcut.) Right clicking on network neighbourhood and saying "explore" is the trick, I think. Alongside the "Microsoft Windows Network" object there's a "VirtualBox Shared Folders" which contains all the shared folders.

        But you're right, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to make the appropriate window pop open automagically.

        What you say "should be true". It says so in the virtual box manual. How I found the devices did not show up in the network neighbor hood. So I had to use the run command. I admit I was baffled by the network neighborhood on windows. it seems like their are different views of varying completeness depending on how you get the explorer window (or whatever it's called) to bring it up. So it could be that I'm just a windows spaz. but I don't think so. I think windows is simply unreliable when exploring

        • by stevied (169) *

          Network configuration just seems to get worse and worse in later versions of Windows. I set up a Vista box for my neighbour and I still can't get my head around the "architecture" of all the different networking views. God alone knows what W7 will be like.

          Win2K made sense,, XP was still reasonably sane, but I think you might be right in thinking there's a bug (either in XP or the VBox addons) that mean the shared folders aren't always visible depending on how you use explorer.

          Alternatively, typing "\\vboxsv

          • by sirsnork (530512)

            Windows 7 is much better in this regard. I think MS worked out they screwed it up and have backpeddled some.

        • by stevied (169) *
          That should be "\\vboxsvr\<sharename>". The slashdot comment handling code is another mysterious oddity in my book.
      • by leamanc (961376)

        I just see "VirtualBox Shared Folders" in My Network Places and am able to get to the Mac folders I shared. I have ready about people having to use "net" command, but it's always worked out of the box for me.

        Using VirtualBox on Linux, however, I have had to use the command and map the drive manually.

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Wow, a choice of typing cryptic console commands or hunting through a maze of poorly-designed configuration GUIs? That sounds like Linux circa 2002. Clearly Windows is not ready for the desktop.

        • by stevied (169) *
          To use shared folders in a Linux guest, you also have to type a mount command directly :-)

          I have to say, though, NetworkManager is growing on me. 90% of the time it just works, and on the odd occasion you need to drop back to using /etc/network/interfaces, it just gets out of the way.

          I've come to the conclusion over the years that, in fact, desktops are not ready for the desktop. Bring back dumb terminals (or centrally managed smart ones.) Failing that, computers-as-appliances. Most people don't care enough
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228)
      I might be able to help with the WMP problem, as I ran into that one a few years back with a customers MP3 player. it turned out Windows was using an MTP driver and it needs to be using IIRC MSC to sync. Anyway Here (faq#10) [sansa.com] is a patch for the problem, I don't know if it will work in a VM or not, and if it doesn't you might want to look up a little about WMP and MTP/MSC problems as there are several tutorials on how to repair that particular error. i hope this helps.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by X0563511 (793323)

      Gaming isn't the only thing that uses OpenGL.

      3D content creation comes to mind (blender, maya, 3dstudio, etc)

      But, as well, some audio programs I've used can use it for their UI (flstudio...)

    • by dargaud (518470)

      I don't care that it is only single processor

      Well... I do. That and USB are the two things I need for the kind of image transfer from hardware and high CPU processing I can't do on Linux. Right now it works perfectly, but it's dead slow. I multicore VB in the pipes ? Is there a pay version that does it ?

    • by tepples (727027)

      I never was able to get a windows media player to mount in media player mode so I could use windows DRM protected WMA files on it and manage it from within windows media player 11. Instead it only will mount as a thumb drive.

      Then play Creative Commons licensed music instead.

      • by goombah99 (560566)

        I never was able to get a windows media player to mount in media player mode so I could use windows DRM protected WMA files on it and manage it from within windows media player 11. Instead it only will mount as a thumb drive.

        Then play Creative Commons licensed music instead.

        I wish I could! it's books on tape checked out from the library. I tried to explain to them how DRM is not a good thing for them to promote but it's talking to the wall. They just rent the downloadable media from companies that serve libraries and 100% of these use WMA so they can have time-limited checkouts.
        I can understand the desire for time limited checkouts--it's equivalent to limiting how many copes the library has in it's collection (and thus paid for).

        The net effect however is that am defacto not

  • When the hell are they going to support GRE over NAT? Some of us don't have any choice -- our company uses PPTP VPNs.

    • by stevied (169) *

      Could you not just use bridged mode (or "host interface networking" or whatever it's called this week) instead of NAT?

    • by stevied (169) *

      Hmm, looks like bridged mode doesn't always play nicely with wireless.

      Host-only mode with pptpproxy [mgix.com] or parprouted [freshmeat.net] might do the trick - there's a recipe for using the latter here [archive.org].

    • by Dadoo (899435)

      No offense (since I'm sure you're not the one who made the decision), but when are companies going to stop using VPNs that use odd protocols, like GRE? We use OpenVPN, here. It works great, and only requires UDP, so I can NAT and tunnel it anywhere I want.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by forsetti (158019)

        "Odd protocols, like GRE?"
        Hmmm .. not a network guy, are you? Should I use a standardized, widely implemented protocol like GRE, or a single-implementation solution like OpenVPN. Don't get me wrong, I love OpenVPN and thing those guys have a fantastic cross-platform solution ... but GRE isn't exactly an "odd protocol".

  • by Jimmy_B (129296) <slashdot&jimrandomh,org> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:47PM (#28551177) Homepage
    I played around with this a bit in the beta. It's significantly slower than native and has a fair share of graphics glitches, but it was good enough to take my dual-monitor computer, plug in a second keyboard and mouse, and play two games of Warcraft III against eachother simultaneously using only one box.
  • As I use Linux (Ubuntu and openSUSE) on my primary home machines, I tend to run the Windows stuff - aside from Office 2007 - in VB. My kids have always complained about the game play.

    Maybe not now. :P

    It worked great when they were younger and Tux Paint, SuperTux, Chromium, TORCS, TuxRacer were what they wanted, but now they NEED to play the "in" gamez.

    <sigh>

    I'll just go back to playing my games on Stella and GFCE.
  • by bhsx (458600)
    Maybe we can finally game in a VM? Try it. I get about 12fps in Guild Wars on a 3.4G p4 with 2GB ram and a 512MB nvidia 9500. Yeah 15 frames per second. Guild Wars runs perfect on half this hardware on Windows. Unfortunately Wine has quite a performance hit on this machine as well, so I'm still stuck with Windows for GW.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      You should try it on a processor with virtualization extensions. Muuuuch better.

    • Using crossover games, I get about 25-35 fps in GW. Unfortunately, I still can't get ventrilo to work, so I, too, have to reboot into windows to play.

  • by BillyMays (1587805) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:20PM (#28551579)
    With virtualbox from Sun! now with three-d acceleration!

    You've got problems, we all know what it's like not being able to develop on windows - but you can't seem to give up counterstrike! Notepad carriage return issues, archaic command line functions, the works - all gone in a jiffy with Virtualbox(tm)!

    Want to pwn noobs from the comfort of a linux environment!? No problem. Toss xp on there, Bam! It's done!
    Want to show people your awp skills while still being able to strace!? Easy as boom-headshot with virtualbox!

    Call now and for no extra cost we'll throw in the latest jre for absolutely free!
  • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:29PM (#28551693) Homepage

    The Direct3d support is not designed for gaming, but it works for the most part. I have found a few games which do not work, Fallout 3 America's Army 3, but also many which do work, Counter Strike Source America's Army 2 Team Fortress 2 Rise of Nations.

    • Games are the last bastion for a seperate Windows install.

      The audio stuff (Reason, FLStudio) etc work perfectly well under VirtualBox now.

      You need to use ASIO4ALL to get asio working, but once done and fiddled with... hah! 10ms audio latency in a freakin' virtual machine! That is just so awesome to me!

      • by ZosX (517789)

        thanks for sharing this. reason has long been a reason to keep me in windows only land. if I could get all my productivity stuff under vmware, it might not be so bad.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:38PM (#28551781) Homepage

    This could be the upgrade I've been waiting for... now all I have to do is dig up an old copy. Has anyone tried it already?

    • I'm sure DOSBox runs great within Virtual Box... but will they read my old floppies?

      • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @01:55AM (#28554625)

        I'm sure DOSBox runs great within Virtual Box... but will they read my old floppies?

        I got DOSBox in VirtualBox, and a copy of X-Wing, but it is tricky reading the old floppies with modern hardware. With a bit of determination, I was able to insert a mini usb plug in under the sliding metal thingy on the disk, but the computer still can't work.

        At first I thought it was the host OS lacking the correct drivers, but then I realised that floppies are much slower than usb drives, so they need to operate at a lower frequency. If I could just up the frequency, I could read the data!

        Okay, here are the numbers. A high speed floppy would get around 500 Kbps tops and the USB transfer is around about 29.5 Mbps, so the floppy is around 1.7% the speed of the USB. So if I increase the speed of the USB connection by 59 times, I should get the USB to read the floppy correctly. Now a microwave oven works at 2.45 Ghz, so I figured that, seeing that that is ~83 times the speed of the USB, with a little bit of duct tape and some copper foil sheilding the usb cable, I could get the increase I needed in the floppy without over doing it.

        So I put the floppy with the cable inserted in it and wrapped in copper foil and duct tape into the microwave, jammed the safety switch with a plastic spoon so I could run it with the door open (don't worry, I sat behind the microwave) and plugged it into the computer. Then I quickly turned the microwave on and read the data coming from the cable.

        It didn't work first time, but that was because the USB wasn't acting like a drive, so the computer could "read" it. Unfortunately it was so fast that it blew up the usb port (I think, it wont read my thumb stick).

        So then I opened up an old flash drive (32MB) which I have filled with 0x00 and carefully attached the chip to the disk surface with a spot of hot glue. When I plugged it in, the computer recognized it as "removable media", so I again started the microwave to spin up the disk frequency. This time there was more smoke, not just from the microwave (to be expected), but also from the usb port!!!

        Can anyone help me with the right number of winds of duct tape needed to slow the floppy frequency from the 41.5Mbps I am getting to the 29.6 Mbps I need? I think the extra speed is causing overload, I am running out of USB ports and I just got a nosebleed. Also, does anyone have another copy of X-Wing? Mine is a bit worn :-(

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Why on earth would you run DOSBOX in VirtualBox? DOSBOX will run natively pretty much anywhere.

        And you're probably better off just downloading a copy of whatever instead of messing with your old floppies. As I mentioned yesterday, there's an exception [slashdot.org] in copyright law for just this kind of thing.

  • Data loss bug (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l00sr (266426) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:42PM (#28551817)

    Unfortunately, looks like they still haven't fixed bug 1040 [virtualbox.org], or even upgraded its priority from 'minor.' The gist of it is, do not even think about touching anything in the GUI relating to the 'snapshot' feature, unless you really, absolutely, positively understand what you're doing. The wording is very confusing, and can easily lead to data loss scenarios. Unfortunately, since this is a human interface flaw, and not a programming error, it seems like it's not really being taken seriously. In my mind, sadly, this is exactly the sort of macho hacker mentality that keeps OSS from mainstream acceptance.

    • by selven (1556643)
      I don't know, I've seen lots of people complaining about their 1040s.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Seems minor to me; reading the appropriate documentation makes it quite clear exactly what these options do.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Well, since this is not a programming error, a fix from you should be easily forthcoming :P

      The other argument, is you should probably read the documentation before you go running amok with it - at least where data loss might be concerned.

  • They had USB, seamless mode, folder sharing, and clipboard (txt) support since version 1.x. Most of the additions that had been done since didn't really matter to me. What's really missing for a more seamless integration for me is support for drag and drop of files and other objects between host and guest. Other VMs support such functionality, so I wonder why VBox isn't doing it, despite all their fancy efforts.
  • OpenGL games tend to be very easy to get working on Wine, unlike Direct3D games, so this will just give us one more way to run what we already can. Direct3D games will continue to be Windows territory.
  • by Bilbo (7015) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @09:28PM (#28553223) Homepage

    Cool! After the umpteenth million time of not being able to build VMware Server under the latest kernel version, and this time NOT being able to find yet-another-vmware-any patch to fix it, I finally abandoned VMware (at least for personal use) and switched back to VirtualBox. Looks like I made the right decision right, just in time.

    I'm still using VMware for server virtualization at work, but for running one of Uncle Bill's products on my desktop, it looks like VirtualBox is a better solution.

    I will be interested in seeing how it works with USB. That's always been a bug-a-boo for me--getting USB devices to talk to the VM. This release sounds like they've cleaned up some things. I will be really interested in how it performs with some of my games that require 3D. (I'm talking like Guild Wars, not the latest releases.)

  • Not stable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paimin (656338) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @10:31PM (#28553609)
    At least running on an OS X 10.5.7 host, 3D is definitely not yet stable - even OpenGL which is not listed as "experimental".

    See here: http://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19352 [virtualbox.org]

    Other than that, VirtualBox is very polished in general. 3D is just not a feature that works yet, and should not be used in a production environment.
  • I understand that the commercial efforts of Virtualbox and VMware get all the attention, but there is a completely Free alternative in the form of QEMU. Recently I have used its fork KVM, which uses hardware virtualization functions, to run XP under Gentoo, complete with USB passthrough.
    • by Dunkirk (238653) *

      Seconded. I used VMware for years and years, but switched over to VirtualBox about a year ago. I, personally, don't see much difference. However, at our small company, we've setup all of our infrastructure on KVM VM's. We have about a dozen. Now, these are all running Gentoo Linux ON Gentoo Linux, but I've played with Windows-based VM's, and it seems to run just as well. Anyway, the point I wanted to add was: try libvirt for managing these VM's. I have found it to be pretty slick.

  • like my ability to easily transfer a virtualbox image from one computer to another, without dropping into some commandline tool.

    I have tried many google tutorials using VBOXmanage, and and not been able to move my image from one machine to another, or clone it on the same computer without it giving an error message during bootup. So I don't look forward to the day my computer dies.

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