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VMWare Player and Virtual PC – An OS in an OS

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Published on February 9th, 2007
Category: Cool Stuff, Utilities

After a decade of plain-jane, boring, error-prone Windows machines, alternatives began to rise in popularity. This is the time when many of today’s die-hard Apple and Linux users were born. I knew an Apple-only friend who would debate with me the pros and cons of owning an Apple or a PC. One of my main arguments was compatibility. Most programs are originally for Intel-architecture Windows PCs. His comeback, OS X can run Virtual PC, which can run windows, which can run any program you want. At the time Virtual PC cost several hundred dollars. Plus, another Windows operating system purchase would be necessary for legal purposes … and that’s not much fun is it?

Virtualization is an amazing technology that allows an operating system environment to run a virtual computer as a program. You can run OS X in Windows, Windows in Linux, Linux in OS X, and everything in between and vice versa. This is great for creating a testing environment for programs, boot strappers, websites, and the like. Its also great for running a program in an operating system that would not natively support it. For example, virtualization allows Linux to run Microsoft Office without the use of WINE!


Three Main Flavors
The chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry of machine virtualization have been Virtual PC, VMWare, and Parallels. All three of them produce pretty decent results. They have great compatibility and they have reached near native speeds with few slowdowns (once optimized).

In this past year, the makers of VMWare and Virtual PC have released basic versions of their main products for free in an attempt to lure customers into purchasing the full-fledged versions. However, Parallels has yet to follow suit with the two big names.

My Choice
When I do virtualization, I like to use VMWare. It’s just that I just don’t trust Virtual PC anymore. Connectix, the original creator, made Virtual PC the name in the virtualization industry. But when the company sold out to Microsoft, the software has been put on the back burner with no updates. Plus, any software from the big M kinda freaks me out. I get worried about crippled features and incompatibilities with other operating systems. 🙂

But, the choice is yours VMWare or Virtual PC? Which one is better? Try each one and find out!

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