Having a virtual machine on-hand can be useful for a variety of purposes, such as testing software or tweaks in a sandboxed environment that is separate from your primary operating system. A virtual machine can also help you to run older software that doesn't work with your new operating system, or simply exploring a new operating system altogether.
While we've long moved away from the early days of the mainframe and thin clients, there are some areas of computing where we're seeing a push back to similar architectures. We'll take a look at some of the more common advantages and disadvantages of virtual desktops, offer our general impressions on using them, and make some educated guesses as to whether virtual desktops truly are the future of computing or if they will likely remain a niche technology.
With the launch of Windows 8's Consumer Preview, you're probably itching to spend some quality time with Microsoft's latest operating system. Although you may have already downloaded the ISO, we bet some of you haven't decided how you're going to install it.
Running Windows 8 in a virtual machine won't remove your current OS, you can access it anytime you want without rebooting and it doesn't require any extra hardware. What's more, the test OS can be deleted in only a few mouse clicks.
Chrome OS notebooks from Acer and Samsung are expected to launch next month at $349 and $429, respectively. The fact that you can get a more powerful netbook with Windows 7 pre-installed for roughly the same price, or even less, is already putting some people off.
But that doesn't mean you should disregard Google's operating system without so much as giving it a try, especially since it's available as a free download for you to test on your own hardware. We'll show you how to create a bootable USB flash drive with Chrome OS or run the it using a free virtual machine.