Virtual machines let you run other operating systems within the current operating system. This is useful when you want to test a particular operating system. A virtual machine acts like a virtual computer. It works on the present operating system and provides virtual hardware to the other operating systems, known as ‘guests’. The guest operating system runs normally just like running on a physical computer. From the perspective of the guest operating system, the virtual machine looks like a physical machine.
Virtual machines have their own hardware, which includes a virtual CPU, hard drive, memory, network interface, etc. These are mapped to real hardware on the physical machine. You can have a number of virtual machines installed on your system, but you only have a limited amount of resource that you can use.
Virtual machines are very useful. Here are the important uses of virtual machines.
Test new versions of operating systems
With virtual machines, you can run the development version of Windows 8 in a virtual machine on your Windows 7 computer. So, you can test the Windows 8 version without installing it on your computer.
Experiment with other operating systems
You can install Linux or other operating systems in a virtual machine, and learn how they work. You can experiment with the various elements of the operating system before installing it on your computer.
Use software that requires an old operating system to run
If you have a software that runs on Windows XP only, then you can install Windows XP on a virtual machine and run the software.
Run software that is meant for another operating system
Users of Mac and Linux can run Windows in their virtual machine and run Windows software there. This way you won’t need to install the Windows operating system in order to run your Windows software.
Test software of various platforms
You can test whether your software will work of various platforms. You can install different operating system on each virtual machine and see if the software runs on them.
Some good virtual machine software includes VirtualBox and VMware Player. In order to install virtual machine in your computer, you will get lots of online guide. Read them and try to install virtual machine in your computer in order to get the experience of it.