Ever wanted to use an older version of windows or any Linux distros like Ubuntu etc. for work or wanted to just boot into some OS just for testing some program’s under that specific OS environment but at the same time don’t want the complication of installing multiple OS on your machine? Kudos then you have an alternative option to do so and that is by using a virtual machine.
What is Virtual machine?
In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a particular computer system. Virtual machines operate based on the computer architecture and functions of a real or hypothetical computer, and their implementations may involve specialized hardware, software, or a combination of both.
Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system – the operating systems will run as if they’re just another program on your computer. Virtual machines are ideal for testing out other operating systems – like the new Windows 10 or alternative Linux operating systems. You can also use virtual machines to run software on operating systems it wasn’t designed for – for example, you can run Windows programs on a Mac with a virtual machine.
Why would you want to create a Virtual Machine?
Aside from being good geeky fun to play around with, virtual machines have a number of serious uses. They allow you to experiment with another operating system without leaving your current operating system. They’re a good way to play with Linux, or at least a new Linux distribution, without actually installing that Linux distribution on your current hardware or even just booting to a live CD or USB drive. When you’re done with an operating system, you can just delete the virtual machine. A virtual machine is also a great way to test out a new version of Windows.
Virtual machines are also “sandboxed” from the rest of your system, which means that software inside a virtual machine can’t escape the virtual machine and tamper with the rest of your system. A virtual machine can be a good place to test out programs you don’t trust and see what they do
How many OS can I install using a virtual machine?
You can have several virtual machines installed on your system; you’re only limited by the amount of storage you have available for them. Once you’ve installed several operating systems, you can open your virtual machine program and choose which virtual machine you want to boot – the guest operating system starts up and runs in a window on your host operating system, although you can also run it in full-screen mode.
Recommended Virtual Machine Software
VirtualBox is a great, open-source application that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. One of the best things about VirtualBox is that I love is there is no commercial version – you get all the features for free, including advanced features like “snapshots,” which allow you to take a snapshot of a virtual machine’s state and revert to that state in the future – a great feature for testing.
VMware Player is another high-quality virtual machine program for Windows and Linux. VMware Player is the free counterpart to VMware Workstation, a commercial application, so you don’t get all the advanced features you would with VirtualBox. However, both VirtualBox and VMware Player are solid programs that offer the basic features – creating and running virtual machines – for free. If one of them doesn’t work quite right, try the other.
While VirtualBox works very well on Windows and Linux, Mac users may want to buy a more polished, integrated Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion program.
Setting up virtual machine
Setting up a virtual machine is actually very easy. First, just download and install your virtual machine program of choice. Open it and click the button to create a new virtual machine. You’ll be guided through the process by a wizard that asks which operating system you’ll be installing. The wizard will choose the appropriate defaults for your operating system of choice, so you can go through the wizard just accepting the default settings if you like.
At the end, you’ll be prompted to insert installation media — for example, an ISO file with a Windows or Linux installer on it or a physical CD or DVD. The virtual machine will then boot and load the operating system from that installation media normally.
When you’re done with the virtual machine, you can shut it down or just close the window. When you want to use it again, open the virtual machine program and double-click the virtual machine.
Which OS did you run using virtual machine? Let me know in comment session below.