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Windows Development Environment

Conducting Windows-Based Engine development inside of a VirtualBox Guest is the only fully-supported configuration at this time.

Warning: The recommendations presented here are hard-won. We strongly recommend that you test using the exact parameters presented here. Using any other configuration will make it difficult for us to provide you with support.

System Requirements

Windows-Based Engine development presents non-trivial system requirements for your development host:

  • Windows 10 (we’ve tested with Windows 10 Pro, version 1809)
  • VT-x supported and enabled in BIOS
  • 16GB+ of RAM
  • 4+ CPU cores
  • 100GB+ disk space

We’ll be using VirtualBox. VirtualBox must have sole ownership of your hypervisor. This mean you cannot run:

  • Hyper-V
  • Windows Credential Guard
  • Windows Device Guard
  • VMWare Workstation / Player
  • any other product that uses hypervisor extensions

Warning: Nested virtualization is NOT a currently supported configuration.

Instructions presented here assume your host Windows install is running on "bare metal". Separate instructions for developing under a hypervisor (e.g. on AWS) are coming soon!


Create a Windows Guest

Use VirtualBox to create a Windows VM using the following parameters:

  • Name: polyswarm_win
  • Type: Microsoft Windows
  • Version: Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 4GB+
  • CPU: 2+ cores
  • video memory: 128MB
  • disk space: 50GB+

Use the default setting for all other options. In particular, do NOT enable 3D acceleration.

Install Windows 10

Use the ISO you downloaded to install Windows in the VM.

Warning: Conducting Windows updates in a VirtualBox VM is not recommended and is quite likely to leave your VM in an un-bootable state. We recommend disabling Windows Update immediately after you install Windows in the VM.

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

Guest Additions are necessary for Shared Clipboard / Copy & Paste features between Guest and Host.

Refer to VirtualBox’s manual.

Guest Creation Complete

Once Guest Additions are installed, you’re ready to Configure Windows for development inside of the VM.

(Unsupported) Custom Configuration

Warning: Developing Windows-Based Engines outside of a VirtualBox virtual machine will preclude you from conducting integration tests at this time. We strongly recommend that you conduct development inside of a Windows VirtualBox Guest (described above) at this time.

Minimum system requirements:

  • Windows 10*
  • 4+ CPU cores
  • 4GB of RAM

*Older versions of Windows may work, but are untested (and unsupported) at this time.

Configure Windows

We’ll need to use Administrator privilege to make several changes to default Windows settings. We’ll need an “elevated” / “privileged” PowerShell console:

  • search “PowerShell” in the desktop search bar
  • right click on “Windows PowerShell”
  • select “Run as administrator”.

Run the following in this privileged PowerShell console.

  1. Permit script execution (necessary for installing Chocolatey & using virtualenvs):

     Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope LocalMachine -Force
  2. Force PowerShell to use TLSv2 (required of some dependancies):

     [Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [Net.SecurityProtocolType]::Tls12

Install Chocolatey & Prerequisities

Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows. We’ll use it to help with installing some prerequisites.

Run the following in a privileged PowerShell console.

  1. Install Chocolatey:

     iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
  2. Use Chocolatey to install prerequisites (do these one at a time):

     choco install -y python --version 3.5.4
     choco install -y git
     choco install -y visualcpp-build-tools --version 14.0.25420.1

Disable Anti-Malware Products

Warning: We strongly recommend disabling all anti-malware products in your development environment - including the built-in Windows Defender. Below, we describe disabling Windows Defender. Disabling third party solutions is left as an exercise for the reader.

PolySwarm engines should expect to come into contact with malware. Existing anti-malware engines, including the built-in Windows Defender, can easily get in our way, quarantining or deleting files during development.

Disabling Windows Defender is a two step process.

  1. Run the following command in a privileged PowerShell:

     Set-ItemProperty 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender' DisableAntiSpyware 1
  2. Reboot Windows.

Set up a Virtual Environment (virtualenv)

If you plan to use this Windows installation for other purposes, we recommend that you create a PolySwarm virtualenv so as to keep the system-wide Python packages clean:

cd ~
python -m venv polyswarmvenv

Install polyswarm-client Libraries

Info: If you're using a virtualenv (see above), ensure that you activate it before installing `polyswarm-client`.

Installing polyswarm-client requires installing two packages under Windows:

pip install -v -U git+https://github.com/polyswarm/ethash.git#egg=pyethash
pip install polyswarm-client

Verify Installation

You should now have a working development environment!

To verify, simply try importing polyswarmclient:

$ python
Python 3.5.4 (v3.5.4:3f56838, Aug  8 2017, 02:17:05) [MSC v.1900 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import polyswarmclient

You should be able to import polyswarmclient without issue.

Next, we’ll walk you through building your very own PolySwarm Microengine, capable of detecting the EICAR test file.

Make a “Hello World” Microengine →