In the Mac or in the Linux world a Virtual Machine has an obvious reason to exists: we can run Windows and Windows applications on them. But why a normal Windows user would need one? Here it is a short list of reasons:
- Test new software: Your PC is installed and running smoothly and you have found this new cool utility that helps you to do this function you've always wished. If you install the trial version of the app and later on you decide not to buy it, the deinstallation process will always leave some garbage. You install and deinstall a few trial software apps, and you'll see the performance of your machine going down and down. If you make this process in a Virtual Machine, you do not affect the performance of the real one, and you can do it as many times as you want.
- Surf the Internet: Internet is not always a secure place and you even love to click on those emails offering you replicas of famous watches, cheap medicine, etc. If one of these sites infects your machine with a virus, you will have to install everything again. If the virtual machine gets infected, you just delete it and start again.
- Your child's PC: So whenever your son touches your computer, nothing works as it should. He keeps moving things around, installing stupid games, etc. So, get him a Virtual Machine. He can do whatever he wants without touching your stuff.
- Your PC for downloads: There are plenty of very useful software applications in the Internet. But sometimes you don't know if the sources are trustable. So, take your Virtual PC, go to the site, download the software and run it. There is nothing to be afraid of. If it is bad, you main PC is still safe.
- Learn Computing: While you learn, you make mistakes, and in Windows, sometimes they are difficult to revert. With a Virtual Machine you can create snapshots and then go back to a specific point in time. You can brake it and undo your mistakes easily without affecting your main PC.
An important note: you must have an extra Windows license to run in a Virtual Machine. As the name indicates, it is another machine.
There are several suppliers of virtualization software. Here you have some of them:
I've been using vmware for several years now and I am very happy with it. Which one do you use? Do you know any other use for a Virtual Machine? Your comments are welcome!