Ask the Readers: Do You Have Virtual Operating Systems Set Up on Your Computer?

By Akemi Iwaya on January 19th, 2011


Virtualization software is a terrific way to try out new operating systems or test questionable software without harming your main operating system. This week we would like to know if you have set up any virtual operating systems on your computers.


Photo by tuxmentat.

The ability to install and run virtual operating systems on a computer can be very beneficial to you whether it is work-related or for personal use. To start off suppose you are very comfortable with Windows, but really want to try a Linux system out. You could use a separate computer, partition your hard-drive, totally wipe out your Windows installation, or go to the trouble of adding an additional hard-drive to your computer. Depending on your particular situation all of those options are likely to be a bit of hassle…you want the experience to be positive, not stressful. That is the beauty of virtualization software.

Once that shiny new operating system is set up in a virtual environment, you can start having fun with it. If you are just learning a new system and make a mistake, it is not hard to roll it back to a previously saved image/restoration point or to set it up all over again. Maybe you want to try some new software, but you are not certain how well it will really work (or it may be from a questionable source). If everything goes well then congratulations are in order for a successful test, but if something went wrong it is not so bad after all. Virtualization software makes it a lot easier to keep the potential damage to a minimum (along with your stress levels!).

Perhaps your work requires the use of multiple operating systems…one for general purpose use and communication with another set up as a programming environment or for legacy software. Once again it is extremely convenient since you can actively switch back and forth between systems on the same computer without a multi-boot setup. Chances are if you have had an opportunity to use virtualization software, then you really appreciate having it at your disposal.

This week we would like to know if you have virtual operating systems set up on your computer. Do you only have one or multiple systems set up? Are those virtual systems for work or personal use? If you do have virtual operating systems set up, do you use them often or only occasionally? Is there a particular virtualization software that you would highly recommend to other people? Perhaps there is one that you warn people to stay away from… Let us know in the comments!

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 01/19/11
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