VirtualBox from Sun is ‘virtualization software’. It allows you to run different operating systems within the application without the need to mess around with the main system itself
Installation and Setup
Setup is generally on autopilot although it’ll need prompting a few times to confirm installation of drivers. Installing network drivers also drops you from the net momentarily, although the program does warn you about this. Name and email address are required to register but you can opt out of any contact from the company. The main program takes up around 75MB of space. How much space and system resources the program will use depends on what you intend to do within its environment.
Ease of Use
VirtualBox is one of the very few programs to offer complete virtualization for free.
If you’re not quite sure about how or why you would use such software, think about the advantages: If you want to test a new OS but don’t want to invest the time and energy in fully installing it on your machine, VirtualBox lets you trial it for as long as you like. You can mess around with settings and programs that could potentially damage the operating system without fear of breaking your software or destroying your data. You can even use it for extra privacy.
There are some limitations. It’s very difficult to run some operating systems and there’s no support if you want to try to run something like OSX. You’ve got to own the original copy of the operating system you want to install first and sometimes you have to mess with settings in order to get the virtual system working as required.
That being said, VirtualBox is very fast and can run several operating systems with no discernable lag. On our test machine it was very difficult to tell between VirtualBox Ubuntu Live and the real thing.
VirtualBox is one of the easiest programs to use in its class and there are plenty of guides out there to help you install common operating systems like XP and Linux without much fuss. The program is so simple we installed and ran Ubuntu Live in about three minutes with no need for guides or help files.