Virtual machines are a form of sandboxing wherein a computer and it’s operating system are simulated, via software, within the operating system of another computer. This concept is distinct from multi-boot systems wherein the user can boot the machine entirely into different operating systems using a boot manager.
For example, a user could run virtual machine software on their computer running Windows 7 that simulates Mac hardware and allows them to run, within the virtual machine, a copy of OS X.
Virtual machines are useful for isolating applications, running legacy applications on older operating systems, and otherwise enjoying the benefits of multiple computers without leaving your primary machine.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 07/21/13