Virtualization and Viruses

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 26 April 2006 / Last Updated on 26 April 2006]

How to protect your virtual machines without degrading performance.

Viruses can infect not just physical machines but virtual ones too, so if you're running Virtual PC or Virtual Server on a box in a production environment (or any environment with Internet connectivity) then you should install antivirus software on both your host OS and all guest OSes as well. However, on the host OS you should exclude virus scanning for certain types of files to ensure that your VMs don't take a performance hit. These excluded file types include *.vhd, *.vud, *.vsv, *.vfd and *.vmc files.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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