"A powerful virtualization software."
VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization software that gives you the ability to run another operating system within your native operating system environment. This robust utility gives you the ability to load multiple operating systems within a single host OS, making it useful for running software that is incompatible with your existing PC environment, protecting your hard drive from viruses by isolating activity on a virtual drive, or testing new operating systems before choosing to install them on a partition.
Immediately after clicking the first next button you'll be brought to a custom install screen by default, which lets you select which components of the software will be installed. You can choose to install only the VirtualBox application, or you can add USB support, Python 2.x support, and support for various types of networking, including conventional, bridged, and host-only. Three mouse clicks later you'll be initiating the installation process, which typically takes between 1-5 minutes on any computer with 2 GB of RAM or more.
For a software that provides such useful features, VirtualBox's user interface is surprisingly simple, with only three main menus along the top taskbar – File, Machine, and Help. The File menu provides access to the virtual media manager, as well as the preferences module, and the ability to import/export appliances. The Machine menu lets you easily create and add new virtual machines (virtualized guest operating systems). You can also quickly add a new virtual machine by pressing CTRL+N, or by clicking the 'New' icon in the top left corner. After choosing to add a virtual machine you'll enter a convenient wizard-style module, that will first ask you to choose the type of operating system you'll be loading and assign a name to the virtual machine.
Each guest operating system can be launched, paused, and stopped inside of its own virtual machine
Helps you reduce hardware costs by eliminating the need to buy a new computer in order to test/use another operating system
Loading an additional operating system is even easier than installing it on a new computer; simply locate the image file for the OS within the VirtualBox system browser
Available in open-source binaries, making it useful for Enterprise-level development projects.
Lets you execute every feature within a simplified wizard-style interface, providing detailed guidance during each step.
Adequate help documentation that can be easily accessed by pressing F1
Advanced networking features may require a significant learning curve
Being the only open source enterprise-level virtualization software available for free download, VirtualBox has few formidable competitors. The most notable alternative for Windows would be VMware Workstation. Mac users can run Windows within the Mac OS X using Parallels Desktop or Boot Camp.
If you're looking for a convenient way to test a new operating system, run programs that aren't compatible with your native OS, or simply decrease hardware costs by running more operating systems on one machine, VirtualBox offers a great free solution.
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