I’m certain that if you are a true computer geek, then ‘virtual machine’ is not a new term to you. Of course, you must have come across it in some online tutorials or in your personal research. A virtual machine can be defined as an emulator designed to enable you to run an operating system without installing it on your computer drive.
To put it in a lay man’s language: it is an operating system running within another operating system. Since the virtual machine is an application, it uses your computer hardware to trigger a real machine for your target operating system.
A virtual machine has numerous benefits to the user including being able to test an operating system without the need to format your hard drive. For example, if you want to shift from Windows to iOS, the first challenge will be the number of distributions involved. To solve the problem of formatting your hard drive, you simply run them in your virtual machine. This will save you the time of searching for a compatible operating system. In addition, your security is guaranteed when you are using a virtual machine as it is developed with computer-like conditions which enable security experts to oversee all types of malware, spyware, and viruses without risking the safety of your computer.
Currently, there are multiple virtual machine applications available on the market. The most popular being the VirtualBox and Parallels 13. We recommend you stick to VirtualBox, especially if you are a new user as it is simple, easy to master and absolutely free!
How to Install a Virtual Machine
1. First, you need to download a VirtualBox application from the provided link.
2. Run the installer once the download is complete.
3. Click on ‘Next’ in the introduction box.
4. The next step will require you to choose the installation location. Click on ‘Browse’ and select where you want to install the application and click ‘Next’.
5. Choose the options for the shortcut and registration of file associations. Click on ‘Next’ after you are done.
6. You will receive a warning about the interruption of your internet connection during the installation.
7. This is the last step before you will be asked to ‘Install’. Click on it.
8. Close the window after the installation is complete and start your virtual machine.
How to Set Up Your Virtual Machine
1. After you have installed the software you need to download your preferred operating system. But you must download the ISO file first.
2. Run the VirtualBox once your download is complete.
3. Click on ‘New’ in the top left corner.
4. A small window will open requesting you to choose a descriptive name for your new virtual machine. Also, you must select the operating system you will install on.
5. The next step will require you to select the amount of RAM in megabytes you would like to allocate to your virtual machine.
6. Once you are done with setting up the RAM you will need to customize the disk. We suggest that you don’t change anything on the presented box. Just ensure that your disk has the required minimum amount of free space.
7. The same rule is applicable to the hard disk. Leave the settings on the VDI in default mode and click on ‘Next’.
8. It is important to select your storage based on your requirements and work. Having a dynamical size will enable your operating system to automatically get more space from your hard drive when you start loading it but will not shrink when it is freed.
9. Lastly, if you had chosen a fixed size in the previous step, you will be required to select the size of the disk for your installed virtual machine. Using the provided slider, select the amount you want and click on ‘Create’.
As you can see, the process of creating a virtual machine on your computer is simple and it only takes a couple of minutes. You will be returned to the main section of virtual where you will see the virtual machine you have created on the left. Simply click on ‘Start’ whenever you want to run it. Always remember to load the ISO file whenever you load the ISO file for the first time.