There are plenty of reasons to run a virtual machine. The first, and most compelling, is that you want to play: Maybe there are some other operating system you want to dabble with (cough Linux cough), but you don’t want to deal with installing another hard drive, partitioning your existing drive, or setting up your system a different way.
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For a while it appeared development on Oracle's virtualisation product, VirtualBox, had all but ceased. The start of April however has seen it given a new lease on life, with the company releasing a beta version of 5.0, packed with new features and improvements.
I've jumped between various virtual machines over the years -- Virtual PC was my go-to choice until Microsoft stopped supporting it and my needs grew beyond Windows emulation. These days VirtualBox and VMWare Player do the job, but a lack of major updates to the former could see the Oracle-owned VM left on the sidelines.
VirtualBox is a lifesaver for anyone who wants to tinker and experiment with different operating systems. Using a CD or disc image is easy in VirtualBox, but it's handy to know how to boot from USB in VirtualBox on Windows as well.
So you've gotten started with Linux, but you're looking for a new flavour besides Ubuntu to try out. Instead of installing a bunch of them from scratch, web site Virtualboxes provides a bunch of free Virtualbox images for you to test out, no installation required.
If you work with a lot of virtual machines and switch between them frequently, it can be handy to automate the process of launching them. RunMyBox makes it easy to launch specific VirtualBox virtual machines.
Tech thinker Anil Dash gets "uncharacteristically nerdy" and breaks down the process he used to install Windows 7 in Boot Camp — and then get access to it from OS X, without rebooting, using the free virtualisation software VirtualBox.
Weblog MakeUseOf details how to install Windows on your Mac with freeware virtual machine software VirtualBox. We've already shown you how to run Windows apps seamlessly in Linux with VirtualBox, but the MakeUseOf guide takes on the new OS X beta version of VirtualBox with a nice step-by-step for getting started. It sounds like VirtualBox isn't as robust as other Windows-on-Mac alternatives, but it is the only no-cost app. If you've always wanted to ride the Windows-on-Mac train but didn't feel like shelling out for VMware Fusion or Parallels, VirtualBox looks to be a viable alternative. If you've tried running Windows on the latest version of VirtualBox for Mac, let's hear how it's worked for you in the comments.