I’ve been playing with the free open source Sun VirtualBox software for the past few weeks and it’s awesome. If you have ever wanted to run a ‘proper’ full blown Linux installation on your Windows machine without the hassle of dual booting, then this is the perfect method. Set up is a breeze, and my installation of Ubuntu into a Windows box went without a hitch.
The only weird thing was the fact that at first Ubuntu is only loaded live, so you have to tell it to install to the hard disk before it’s working properly. But apart from that and the minor hassle of having to install some GuestAdditions to get the mouse switchover working properly, it’s a great way of running a full blown Linux installation on your machine without ditching Windows completely.
The main difference between doing it this way and using something like Presto or Wubi, which we’ve covered before, is the fact that VirtualBox supports a proper full Linux install, so you can run everything that a full blown Linux machine can run. Presto and Wubi are great if you just want to get away from Windows for a while, but not for serious Linux work really. Performance in the virtual box is slower of course, but it’s not a real problem, and the devs are improving things all the time. Very cool indeed.
Oh and did I mention it runs on Mac too, so you could run Windows 7 on top of OSX if you want? Yeah I know…
VirtualBox is a powerful x86 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use…Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.