Monday, July 17, 2006

The free virtual environment!

The free virtual environment!

Well, you have probably tried running a virtual operating system by now... If not, it's definitely about time!!!

The cool thing is it's pretty much free these days, except from operating system and application licenses of course. And I'm not just talking trial versions - I'm talking 100% free cool and perfectly working software!

What you get is a really good test environment (a sand box) where you can do almost anything to an operating system (or applications on it) and recover within a few second - without having to reinstall the operating system, applications etc. You can test upgrades, registry edits, group policies, domain environments, boot CDs (you can even mount ISO images), OS installation, virus, spyware & root kit behavior, hard disk and recovery tools etc. - in other words: you can do almost anything and it will without doubt make your life much easier :)

Just remember to turn on the "undo disks" feature - which clears any changes since last time you started the VM!

Virtual Machines (VMs) can be used for many different things - also running a pretty secure machine ('within' you normal machine) which can be recovered in no time (a reboot of the VM) to it's "original" state. You can run as many VMs on a host OS as you want - you just need lots of memory (I would recommend a minimum of 1 GB RAM), good processing capabilities and enough hard drive space.

VMs can be moved from one physical machine to another - without having to install any drivers etc. - in other words VMs are hardware independent! VMs created in Virtual PC 2004 can be launched on Virtual Server 2005 - just remember to update the virtual machine additions.

And let me tell you one thing - virtualization is the future ;-)

But both Microsoft and VMware have released applications that is capable of running virtual machines - and the last few months they have even started providing these wonderful tools for free!!!

Get more info and download here:
Free Virtual PC 2004 SP1
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/default.mspx

Free Virtual Server 2005 R2
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver

VMware Server 1.0
http://www.vmware.com/products/server/

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