Free virtualization tool
VirtualBox is a free utility software developed by Oracle Corporation that lets users run different operating systems in their computer devices. It is one of the only professional virtualization tools that are available as open-source. It is already feature-rich upon release, but it is regularly updated by its community users. With this app, you can create a representation of an OS and try it out before installing it fully.
What is the app’s purpose?
By downloading VirtualBox in your computer, you can easily run other OS—Mac and Linux—in your native Windows device. Not only that, but you can also run old Windows OS in newer versions. You can even use the full performance of your desktop by packing multiple virtual machines onto a few hosts.
Additionally, you can use this app to run programs that you would otherwise not have access to. This software also comes with a snapshot feature, which allows you to easily switch to an old snapshot and avoid frequent backups whenever something goes wrong. The app offers unlimited snapshots, unlike its rival, Vmware—which only offers the feature in its premium version.
Installation, interface, and customization
VirtualBox is easy to install if you are tech-savvy. If you are inexperienced, however, you may have to go through the installation manual provided by the developers. Installing the app takes only about five minutes—if you have a computer with 2GB RAM. You can choose to either install the app or add support for USB and different types of networking. Once installed, you can start running different operating systems or customize the app to your preference.
The app has a simple and easy-to-use interface with three primary menus—Machine, File, and Help. You can use the Machine menu to create your first guest OS. You can add a virtual machine by pressing CTRL and N together. A module will then pop up, asking you to choose the OS type that you want to load, as well as its unique name. The app allows you to scale the display, so you can reduce the window size and still make out everything.
The File menu, meanwhile, gives users access to the media manager, preference module, and import and export features. This menu also allows you to reduce or limit the CPU and IO time of any virtual machine you run so that they won’t drain your system resources. There are also tools to fix bugs and increase performance on this menu. Finally, the Help tab contains documents that can help you operate the app with ease.
As noted, this software supports numerous operating systems. It also provides users with the option to create a multi-platform or collated server that is useful for testing and development. You can even use different customization options to personalize the UI of the guest OS. However, one of the biggest challenges in using the free version of this app is in creating a guest OS. Users do not have the option to automate certain features—they have to go at it manually. Moreover, the process requires patience as adding the final touches takes time.
Solid virtualization solution
If you are looking to test other operating systems or wanting to run apps that aren’t compatible with your system, then VirtualBox is a tool that you need. It is a free and open-source virtualization solution that comes with an easy-to-use interface. The primary integration takes time, but the app runs well after the process is complete.