Daily Virtual Machines workflow: Use for sensitive activities?

Every day I'm playing with fire regarding my computer security, in one chrome profile I have my business side, logged into social media with tons of followers, logged into bank accounts, emails, domain tool etc. Right beside it I on another profile I have the uncensored me: occasionally pirating software, occasionally watching porn, flaming people on forums etc.

I'm starting to feel like seperating these 2 lives by mere chrome profile is not enough security.

I'm starting to feel like the answer is within Virtual Machines, by loading up a separate windows in a separate VM I ALMOST get the security of having several machines, but without the extreme hassle of bringing several physical devices.

However I'm completely new to VM's, I just installed my first VM 5 minutes ago. Maybe someone with experience in this workflow have advice?

It might seem like the easy answer is simply to have the safe profile as the computer host, and the uncensored profile as a VM. but even that brings a few problems: *my chinese bank requires insane exe files that runs in the background at ALL times, without a doubt its spying on my activities. *someone might insist to just borrow your computer real quickly, for example if airport security demands I log on I can't exactly tell them to wait while I start a VM where they can install their tracking software.

Another option would be: Host is for content creation, if I want to do any online activities I can use an uncensored VM and one censored VM.

The reason I ask for experienced advice is I don't want to step too far either, a month from now I don't want to have to revert it all because I underestimated how cumbersome it was to operate.

Btw I'm aware that VM's are not superman, my plan is not to intentionally install virus-filled software on one VM.

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    my chinese bank requires insane exe files that runs in the background at ALL times, without a doubt its spying on my activities. That's crazy. Is that normal in China? If my bank would demand this, I would switch to a different bank immediately.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 11:48
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    You should look into sandboxing, no need to go the full VM way. On Linux, stuff like mbox or firejail or Qubes would allow you to separate your activities with a bit more confidence (and specifically to isolate that exe you worry about). On Windows, Sandboxie. Out of curiosity, would you mind telling me which bank this is? I'd like to use that as an example of use cases for sandboxing. Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


There's not much we can add to your current analysis of the pros and cons of the various arrangements you describe. You're going to have to experiment to find out where your personal comfort level is.

I would add though that if you believe it possible that e.g. airport security will try to bug your laptop, then the only safe thing is not to bring your machine through airport security. If the bad guy has physical access to the hardware, then it's not your computer any more. Also, if you believe your bank might include spyware in their application, then the only safe thing to do is to run it in it's own dedicated VM with nothing else. If the bad guy can persuade you to install something on your machine, then it's not your computer any more.

And don't forget there are other more subtle things you can do with a VM, like having single-use VMs that you throw away after use, or VMs where the disk lives on removable media that you can store separately from the machine.


I'm the OP, a bug in stackexchange means when I register my account it finds some super old username I used years ago. I don't have enough rep points to comment on others, so writing here instead: The bank is Bank of China, to make purchases directly from account you need one exe, and to use Unionpay card you need another exe. each will also install browser specific plugins for each browser you have. If you attempt to temper with these (i turn them off in services until I need them) they usually make it a PITA to make them work for payments again). Thanks Steve for the Sandboxie suggestion, I had no idea about this category of applications, I'm learning about it now, it appears to be a much more performance friendly way of doing this


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