Every now and then a really awesome software product comes out. This one is known as Virtual PC.
It’s a Microsoft product that does full hardware emulation. What
does this mean? It means that you can run a “virtual operating
system” within it and the virtual os won’t even know it’s not running
on real hardware. At first I must admit I was a bit
dubious. But what could it hurt? After all, my company had
bought some licenses for it, so I figured I’d give it a short.
Here’s the list of operating systems that I’ve successfully installed and run using virtual pc:
- Windows XP
- Windows 2000
- Windows 98
- DOS 6.22
- RedHat Linux 9
- SuSE Linux 9 (live eval)
- SUN Solaris 8
- SCO UnixWare 7
- Knoppix (linux)
- (1 or two others that I can’t even remember!)
Quite a list huh? And it’s so brainless to use; just run it, and
slip in the CD (or ISO image) and install the OS. If something
goes wrong – no worrries – just delete the “virtual hard drive” file
and start again. You don’t have to dedicate a machine to it, and
there are no risks. It’s amazing.
So what do I use it for personally? Well, at work it’s nice to
have several different environments to test with without having to have
several different machines (or at least several different hard drives
that I have to swap).
Also, if there’s a piece of software that I want to try out but i’m not
really sure about, I’ll install it on a virtual OS first and see if I
like it. If not, oh well – I don’t have to worry about it
cluttering my “real” system.
Another is a virtual pc for my kids use; i’ve installed all their games
on it, and they just have an icon on my desktop that they click.
And I don’t have to worry about them messing up any settings.
Another is that there’s some software that’s only available on certain
OS’s but I want to run it. No problem. Just start up the
virtual os and use it.
I highly recommend that anyone reading this go and at least give it a try; go kick the tires and see what you think. It’s well worth the investment.
And just so you don’t waste your time – no, you can’t install a virtual OS inside of another virtual OS.