Practical Virtualization with VirtualBox
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Most of today’s computers are pretty powerful just as they are. We’ve also gotten into the habit of upgrading our memories far beyond the amount we truly require. These two trends are turning the virtualization of operating systems into a smooth, seamless process. Right now, we’re going to discuss the subject of virtualization and learn a few practical uses for it.
It’s been said many times that virtualization is for business use. While that is true, most home users could also take advantage of this capability. A while ago we took a close look at the popular virtualization solutions; please be sure to check out that article, An Overview of Virtualization Solutions, published on Dev Hardware. For the purposes of this article, we’ve opted for VirtualBox.
All right, but what exactly are we going to talk about? Well, as the title says, our purpose is not to advise you specifically on VirtualBox, but rather to show a few practical uses for virtualizing operating systems (Linux distributions or Microsoft Windows) for the everyday home user. It’s not related to business—neither cutting-edge performance, nor reliability, is required. It’s all about having fun and learning about things without being afraid or limited.
The beauty of running virtualized operating systems comes from the sense of safety and security. There’s nothing you can do wrong—or, more precisely, even if you do something wrong, the damage does not last. It’s nothing physical; it's just virtual. In a nutshell, you’ll be allocating a specific size from your main HDD partition to your virtual box partition, and then you can do anything on it.
Any home computer with more than 1 GB of RAM should have no problem running one virtualized operating system completely smoothly. Two GB or more is ideal. You can simply allocate 512 MB or 1 GB to the virtual machine and leave the rest for your main operating system. It’s pretty clear that any OS can run decently with that much of memory. Before we even start, keep in mind that we won’t want to game on a virtual box!
All right, having said this, we should begin. First we will explain where to grab VirtualBox from, how to install it on your machine, and ultimately present some of the capabilities and functions that we’ll be using.
Right after that, we will continue to discuss the “practical” uses of virtualization. We will get into test-driving operating systems without limitations. Yes, this actually means you can play around with Linux distros without being afraid to ruin your main OS. No fear!
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