Thursday, October 18, 2007

10 virtualization softwares for running multiple operating systems

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Virtualization is a process of running multiple operating systems on the same computer, all at the same time. Traditional method of running 2 or more operating system on the same computer was to partition the hard disk into drives dedicated to each of the operating system, and then booting into any one of them. But virtualization allows you to run 2 or more operating system at the same time, side by side. The virtualization software works by setting up a virtual machine on the host computer, which emulates the hardware and behaves as a machine of it's own. The operating system that is run on top of the virtual machine can't tell the difference between the real PC and the virtual PC.



There are several virtualization softwares available in the market. Some of them cost you money while some of them don't. Again some of them are easy to setup and use while some others, usually the open source ones, require considerable amount of tweaking and need some level of expertise to run them.

Virtualization softwares aren't limited to only a handful like VMWare and Microsoft Virtual PC. There are many more options available. Here are some of the best virtualization solutions, both paid and free.

Commercial virtualization softwares:

VMWare
Parallels Workstation (for Windows & Linux)
Paralles for Desktop (for Mac)
Virtuozzo
Simics

Freeware virtualization softwares:

Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
VirtualBox
Virtual Iron
PearPC (for running Mac inside Windows and Linux)
Bochs
QEMU

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