Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Microsoft Virtual PC

Virtualisation is currently a hot topic with market leader VMWare offering some of its software under Open Source licence agreements. Microsoft has also released its own desktop virtualisation software called Virtual PC. This is available as a free download from the Microsoft website.

The beauty of virtualisation is that you can run multiple operating systems on the same hardware and at the same time. Previously to run different operating systems you needed to perform multiple installations and choose which system to boot at startup.

Virtualisation performs differently. You install your operating system as normal which is designated the "host" system. Virtual PC is then installed on this and allows additional "guest" operating systems to be installed. You can flick between operating systems as easily as clicking between different application windows. One restriction is the capability of the hardware that you are running the software on but assuming this is sufficiently specified it is very easy to test out different operating systems or different software on the same OS.

I will shortly be testing Windows 7 using Virtual PC on my Vista 64 system and will detail the results that I find.

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