Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Virtual Box

Not sure how many of you out there have the need to run virtual machines. If your doing software development and you want to match a client's software configuration and you don't want to tweak your main production machine for a temporary project running a virtual machine is a great solution. All you need is a client to run the virtual PC and an operating system to install to/on your virtual PC.

On the PC side Microsoft's Virtual PC which is a free download. For PC / Mac / Linux user Sun recently released Virtual Box which provides the same functionality (but obviously supports more platforms).

Anyway, I guess the big take away for me is the free availability of Windows 7 release candidate. If you want to try out Microsoft's next operating system free for a year you can download a free copy of it direct from Microsoft. So far I've been impressed at the "clean" nature of windows 7, it runs smooth and quick through virtual box. I'm sure once you get a PC from a major vendor they'll load it up with crapware. One of the more notable difference / improvement is in the task bar. Take a look at the screen capture below (note the first program I downloaded and installed to the virt
ual PC). The icons on the task bar act like shortcuts and provide quick "pop-up" previews of the pages you have open.


  1. Confused - you move from VM's to Windows 7...are you saying that you're running Windows 7 on a VM? for pleasure or business?
    We use VMware for development environments. Can't remember why, but apparently there's a reason directly related to arcview.

  2. Right... Virtual Box is VMware but OS agnostic... you can run any OS from any OS. With my home maching a mac I could either partition my hdd and use boot camp to dual boot windows and osx. Running Virtual box I just create a folder for it to use and install windows 7 to it.

    I don't have clean install disk and license for windows xp as my dell came with a restore disk... maybe it could work but I don't know where it is. Windows 7 is free for a year so I thought I'd download it and give it a try.

    So the reason for me to run windows 7 at home is to experiment with ms sql server for a database class I'm taking. By running vm ware I can crap all over the various database / server configuration stuff and can quickly start from the beginning. Also it's a nerdy thing to do.

  3. I use VMWare heavily for work purposes but I use EMC's VMWare product. It works really well for the most part. You have to be able to set up a proper environment within the VM environment but that holds true whether you are within VM or outside of VM.