A virtual machine is an emulation of a computer system. Many large servers may run various virtual machines with many different operating systems. As a consumer, you may want to be able to run other operating systems on top of your current host OS. An example would be running Windows on your Mac, or Linux on Windows. The combinations are endless, and can be very useful to run applications that don’t exist on the current platform you are on. There are various programs that let you virtualize OSes, and some of the most popular are VirtualBox, VMware Fusion, and Parallels. All of them have advantages and disadvantages, so you need to decide what’s best.
For example on one host machine, in this case a Mac, you can have various different operating systems.
By doing this, you are no longer restricted to the capabilities of your host OS.
If you’ve ever wanted to try the Mac operating system without paying so much money, you can easily install it in a Virtual Machine and use it.
Setting up a virtual machine is very easy and only takes a few steps. First, you need to download the operating system you want to use. This is often in a disk image format such as a .iso file.
After you download the file, often between 1 to 8 gigabytes, you need to install VirtualBox from virtualbox.org or some other virtualization software. For this tutorial, we are going to use VirtualBox.
Once you open the application, click new and choose the setup options for the version of the operating system you downloaded.
After this, you need to allocate the amount of RAM for the machine and create a virtual hard drive. These settings vary from computer to computer, and you can lookup what’s best for you.
After you do this, you will need to navigate to the OS .iso and also set amount of Video Memory.
Finally, you can click OK and start the machine and proceed to set it up. Some have a Live CD option, which allows you to boot the OS temporarily instead of installing to the the VDI hard drive. Once inside the operating system, you may consider installing the Guest Additions packages to improve the usability and speed of the machine.