I’ve been trying to work with multiple Operating Systems and I found that dual or triple boot was not very easy to use,especially when you need concurrent access to multiple Operating Sytems.
I had Microsoft’s Virtual PC, which for the uninformed is a virtualization software, which aims at concurrent use of multiple Operating systems. I had an evaluation version of Windows Vista Enterprise, which I had downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center, installed on Virtual PC.
For installing Vista, it took around 10 GB of disk space, which was further converted into a Virual Hard Disk with the .vhd extension. If you have Windows XP SP2 as the Host OS, and you plan to install Vista as the Guest OS, Virtual PC takes around 768 MB of memory for the Guest Operating System.
I planned to install Ubuntu 8.04 on Virtual PC and met with little success. That is when I came across Sun Microsystems’ Virtualization software called VirtualBox. You can download the latest version of VirtualBox (Version 3.0.4) from here.
I installed Ubuntu 8.04 using VirtualBox on my PC. Earlier, I tried to install Ubuntu 8.04 on a separate partition on my PC, but tasted failure while trying to configure the Internet connection. One of my friends, Vinay downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 (the latest version) and did not face any problem connecting to the Internet. Because, Ubuntu 9.04 was configured to connect to the Internet with little user intervention.
Downloading Ubuntu 9.04 would be such a daunting task. So, I used VirtualBox and the Internet was automatically configured for Ubuntu 8.04.
The network connectivity for VirtualBox is a little different from other Virtualization softwares. While VMWare workstation and Microsoft’s Virtual PC used shared network connectivity and connect to the internet using the IP address of the Host Operating System, VirtualBox connects to the internet with a different IP address, at the same time using NAT interface for networking, like the other Virtualization softwares.
VirtualBox actually creates a special bridge connection for the Guest OS. Further more, VirtualBox is the first Open Source Virtualization software. Even though the shared folders option is available in VirtualBox, it still lacks the Drag & Drop functionality between the Guest OS and the Host OS, that is available on Virtual PC and VMWare workstation.
Here’s a screenshot of Windows Server 2008 running on VirtualBox installed in my PC .
I have 4 Operating Systems in my PC, excluding the Host OS(Windows XP SP2)
- Ubuntu 8.04
- Windows Vista Ultimate (32 – bit)
- Windows XP SP2 (For testing purposes)
- Windows Server 2008 Standard
I’ve also planned to install Solaris OS, but I’ll be using VMWare for that. Besides installing Solaris, I’ll also be installing Windows 7 RC.
And I’ve reached the end of my first full fledged post. Do post your comments and queries, if you have any.
Have fun 🙂