The Best Virtualization App for Windows | Lifehacker.com

Author Dragan Berak 3.10.2012. | 15:00

(VirtualBox for Windows. Within VirtualBox Ubuntu 10.10 is running)

Windows users have a few choices when it comes to virtualizing another OS, but our personal favorite is VirtualBox, for its solid feature set and $0 price tag.

But first, what exactly is virtualization software?

Virtualization (or virtualisation) is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or network resources. While a physical computer in the classical sense is clearly a complete and actual machine, both subjectively (from the user’s point of view) and objectively (from the hardware system administrator’s point of view), a virtual machine issubjectively a complete machine (or very close), but objectively merely a set of files and running programs on an actual, physical machine (which the user need not necessarily be aware of).

Meaning, Virtualisation software is most often used to emulate a complete computer system in order to allow a guest operating system to be run, for example allowing Linux to run as a guest on top of a PC that is natively running a Microsoft Windows operating system.

Today we’d like to present you VirtualBox, the virtualization app for windows.

VirtualBox

Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free
Download Page

 

The Best Virtualization App for Windows

  • Easy installation of popular operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X
  • Run multiple virtualized environments simultaneously
  • Run a guest OS in “seamless mode”, which puts the applications on your main Windows desktop
  • Fast performance all around
  • Take snapshots of your virtual machines, so you can start it up from any configuration or point in its life
  • Clipboad sharing
  • 3D Virtualization
  • Open virtual disk images made in VirtualBox, VMWare, or Microsoft Virtual PC

The Best Virtualization App for Windows

VirtualBox makes running other operating systems—whether it be Linux, other versions of Windows, or even Mac OS X—super easy on your home computer. Just insert your install disc (or point it to an ISO on your computer), and you can install it in a virtual machine with as much or as little RAM, CPU, and hard drive space as you want. It integrates with your mouse pointer, so you don’t even have to click on the window to start using it, and lets you create “snapshots” of your machines so, like restore points, you can just boot it up from any point in its history and use it from that point. You can even share your clipboard back and forth between your virtualized and host OS.

The Best Virtualization App for Windows

VirtualBox can seem a little intimidating to most beginners, but so can any virtualization program. In addition, its “seamless” mode, while cool, isn’t done quite as well as VMWare’s—it brings the entire toolbar of your guest OS with it, and moving the Windows around isn’t the smoothest experience. But, overall, it’s still very feature-filled, and with a great documentation and a ton of users, it isn’t difficult to find answers to any of your questions.

The Best Virtualization App for Windows

VMWare Player is VirtualBox’s main competition, providing a similar feature set from a well-known company in virtualization. The main differences are that VMWare’s equivalent of seamless mode is a bit better integrated and it has drag-and-drop file sharing, though it doesn’t have a snapshot feature—which is, arguably, a more useful feature, which is why VirtualBox ekes it out in this App Directory. VMWare is also feels a bit more sluggish, though like VirtualBox, it is free, so it’s worth trying both. If you want the whole package, VMWare Workstation has everything VMWare Player has and more (like snapshots), but it’ll set you back 200 clams, so it probably isn’t worth it for most home users.

If you’re only virtualizing Windows, you also have the choice of using Windows Virtual PC. For the most part, it isn’t quite as good as the above options, but it does come with a free Windows XP license and good integration with Windows Explorer and XP mode, for running those old programs that Windows 7 doesn’t play nicely with. It requires Windows 7 Professional or above to use, though, so while it’s “free”, you’ll still be paying for it.

VIA | Lifehacker.com

 

Do you have a favorite virtualization app other than the above, or just have another reason you love these programs? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Author Dragan Berak 3.10.2012. | 15:00
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