• Tech
  • News
  • Health

How to Create and Use Virtual Machines


Virtual machines allow you to run an operating system in an app window on your desktop that behaves like a full, separate computer. You can use them to play around with different operating systems, run software your main operating system can’t, and try out apps in a safe, sandboxed environment.

In the VM world, the operating system running on your computer is called the host, and any operating systems running inside VMs are called guests. It helps keep things from getting too confusing.

The guest OS is stored on a virtual hard drive in a particular VM—a big, multi-gigabyte file stored on your actual hard drive. The VM app presents this guest OS file as a real hard drive. This means you won’t have to mess around with partitioning or do anything complicated with your real hard drive.

What’s a Virtual Machine App?

A virtual machine app creates a virtualized environment—called, simply enough, a virtual machine—that behaves like a separate computer system, complete with virtual hardware devices. The VM runs as a process in a window on your current operating system. You can boot an operating system installer disc (or live CD) inside the virtual machine, and the operating system will be “tricked” into thinking it’s running on a real computer. It will install and run just as it would on a real, physical machine. You can open the virtual machine program and use it in a window on your current desktop whenever you want to use the operating system.

COPYRIGHT_NOVA: Published on https://www.novabach.com/i/how-to-create-and-use-virtual-machines/ by Daniel Barrett on 2022-06-12T09:05:56.000Z

Several good free virtual machine (VM) apps make setting up a virtual machine something anybody can do. You’ll need to install a VM app and have access to installation media for the operating system you want to install.

These are several different virtual machine programs you can choose from:

VirtualBox: (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X)

VirtualBox is very popular because it’s open-source and completely free. VirtualBox has no paid version, so you don’t have to deal with the usual “upgrade to get more features” upsells and nags. VirtualBox works very well, particularly on Windows and Linux, where there’s less competition, making it an excellent place to start with VMs.

VMware Player: (Windows, Linux)

VMware has its line of virtual machine programs. You can use VMware Player on Windows or Linux as a free, basic virtual machine tool. More advanced features—many of which are found in VirtualBox for free—require upgrading to the paid VMware Workstation program. We recommend starting with VirtualBox, but if it doesn’t work properly, you may want to try VMware Player.

Also read: Causes Of Blue Screen of Death And How To Troubleshoot And Fix It

VMware Fusion: (Mac OS X)

Mac users must buy VMware Fusion to use a VMware product since the free VMware Player isn’t available on a Mac. However, VMware Fusion is more polished.

Parallels Desktop: (Mac OS X)

Macs also have Parallels Desktop available. Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion for Mac are more polished than the virtual machine programs on other platforms since they’re marketed to average Mac users who might want to run Windows software.

While VirtualBox works very well on Windows and Linux, Mac users may want to buy a more polished, integrated Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion program. Windows and Linux tools like VirtualBox and VMware Player tend to target a geekier audience.

There are many more VM options, of course. Linux includes KVM, an integrated virtualization solution. Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows 8 and 10—but not Windows 7—including Microsoft’s Hyper-V, another integrated virtual machine solution. These solutions can work well, but they don’t have the most user-friendly interfaces.

Virtual Machines

A single physical computer can run multiple virtual machines at the same time. Often, a server will use a program called a hypervisor to manage multiple virtual machines running simultaneously. Virtual machines have virtual hardware, including CPUs, memory, hard drives, and more. Each piece of virtual hardware is mapped to real hardware on the host computer.

However, there are a few drawbacks to virtual machines. Since hardware resources are indirect, they are not as efficient as a physical computer. Also, when many virtual machines are running simultaneously on a single computer, performance can become unstable.

Virtualization does add some overhead, so don’t expect them to be as fast as if you had installed the operating system on real hardware. In addition, demanding games or other apps that require serious graphics and CPU power don’t do so well, so virtual machines aren’t the ideal way to play Windows PC games on Linux or Mac OS X—at least, not unless those games are much older or aren’t graphically demanding.

Why You Would Want To Create A Virtual Machine

Aside from being good geeky fun to play around with, VMs offer several serious uses. They allow you to experiment with another OS without installing it on your physical hardware. For example, they are a great way to mess around with Linux—or a new Linux distribution—and see if it feels right for you. You can delete the VM when you’re done playing with an OS.

VMs also provide a way to run another OS’ software. For example, as a Linux or Mac user, you could install Windows in a VM to run Windows apps you might not otherwise have access to. If you want to run a later version of Windows—like Windows 10—but have older apps that only run on XP, you could install Windows XP into a VM.

Virtual Machines

Another advantage VMs provide is that they are “sandboxed” from the rest of your system. As a result, the software inside a VM can’t escape the VM to tamper with the rest of your system. This makes VMs a safe place to test apps—or websites—you don’t trust and see what they do.

For example, when the “Hi, we’re from Windows” scammers came calling, we ran their software in a VM to see what they would do—the VM prevented the scammers from accessing our computer’s real operating system and files.

Sandboxing also allows you to run insecure OSes more safely. For example, if you still need Windows XP for older apps, you could run it in a VM where at least the harm of running an old, unsupported OS is mitigated.

Setting Up A Virtual Machine (VirtualBox)

VirtualBox is one of the most popular virtual machine programs since it is free, open-source, and available on all the popular operating systems on virtual drives, including Windows, BSD, Linux, Solaris, and more. We’ll show you how to set up a virtual machine using VirtualBox, but most apps handle creating a VM the same way.

Since VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac, setting up a virtual machine is pretty much the same in each operating system.

Start with downloading and installing VirtualBox. You can download it below.

You will also need to download a .iso file for the operating system you want to run on your virtual machine. For instance, you can download a Windows 10 .iso file here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

Create A New Virtual Machine

  • Once you have VirtualBox running, click the “New” button
  • Next, you will have to choose which OS you plan on installing. In the “Name” box, type the name of the OS you want to install. VirtualBox will guess the type and version based on the name you type in, but you can change these settings if you need to.
  • The wizard will automatically select default settings based on your selected OS type and version. You can always change the settings as you go through the wizard. Keep clicking “Continue” and “Create” until you get through the wizard. It’s usually fine to use the defaults.
  • Next, start the virtual machine you just created by clicking “Start.”
  • Once the virtual machine starts up, select the .iso image file you want to use.
  • Your virtual machine will now load your selected operating system. The operating system may require some setup, but it will be the same setup required if you had installed it on a standard computer.
  • Congratulations! You’ve run your first Virtual Machine in VirtualBox.

Editor’s picks:

Share: Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

About The Authors

Daniel Barrett

Daniel Barrett

Recent Articles

  • Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia New - The Future Of Graphics Technology


    Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia New - The Future Of Graphics Technology

    In recent years, the demand for high-performance graphics technology has increased significantly, and Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia New is poised to be the solution for the most demanding users. This new technology promises to deliver unparalleled performance and features that will set a new standard in the world of graphics.

  • How To Delete A Youtube Channel On IPhone?


    How To Delete A Youtube Channel On IPhone?

    YouTube has become an integral part of our daily lives, and millions of users are uploading, watching, and commenting on videos every day. If you have a YouTube channel that you no longer use or want to get rid of, you might be wondering how to delete a youtube channel on iPhone. If you have an iPhone, you can delete your YouTube channel in a few simple steps.

  • Google Lens For IPhone - Revolutionizing Search


    Google Lens For IPhone - Revolutionizing Search

    From your iPhone, you may utilize a picture to access the power of Google's search engine. With Google Lens for iPhone, you can search for things in a picture or with your camera. Send a picture instead of typing and ask Google to identify it. Keep reading to learn in detail

  • Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia Drivers - System Stability And Performance

    Software & Apps

    Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia Drivers - System Stability And Performance

    Nvidia is one of the leading manufacturers of graphics processing units (GPUs) and graphics cards. The Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia Drivers is the latest version of their software package that is designed to ensure that Nvidia GPUs work optimally with the latest computer games and applications. In this article, we will discuss the importance of updating the Xnxubd 2023 Nvidia Drivers.

  • How To Make Nvidia My Default Graphics Card


    How To Make Nvidia My Default Graphics Card

    In recent years, the use of dedicated graphics cards has become increasingly popular for both personal and professional use. In this article, we will discuss how to make nvidia my default graphics card, ensuring that your computer is using the dedicated graphics card instead of the integrated graphics card that comes with your motherboard.

  • What You Need To Know About PCIe SSD


    What You Need To Know About PCIe SSD

    In this tutorial, we will be explaining everything you need to know about PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive). Click the link to read full guide.

  • Ring Vs Blink: Which Smart Security Camera System Is The Best


    Ring Vs Blink: Which Smart Security Camera System Is The Best

    In this article, we will be comparing the two best Amazon home security cameras, Blink Vs Ring (camera). Click the link to read full guide.

  • Intel Core i3, i5 And i7: The Differences Explained


    Intel Core i3, i5 And i7: The Differences Explained

    This article explains the differences between Intel Core i3, i5, and i7. Click the link to read the full guide.

  • How To Fix A TV That Turns On By Itself


    How To Fix A TV That Turns On By Itself

    In this article, we will highlight some reasons why your TV turns itself on and what you can do to prevent it. Click the link to read more..

  • The 5 Best Cheap Wireless Routers Under $50

  • How To Open Firewall Ports In Windows 10

  • How To Use Google Chrome Password Manager To Save Logins

  • How To Fix Chrome OS Is Missing Or Damaged on Your Chromebook

  • How to See Who’s Connected to Your Wi-Fi Network