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Boot Windows in a “window” in Linux using VirtualBox

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http://feedproxy.google.com – Many of us grew up using DOS and eventually became the slaves of Windows and all its’ variants. Converting to use the opensource operating systems such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, Moblin or Fedora means giving up some of the usual ways of computing we’d gotten so used to. Though there are similar applications in Linux performing the identical functions as the Windows counterparts, there are still some applications which are native to Windows and will not run on Linux. Though Wine is a good alternative to running native windows applications on the Linux operating system, it lacks the completeness and core of the Windows operating system. Not to mention the heavy configuration required for making each and every application useable in Wine. Virtualization is the way to go. And SGLNX recommends VirtualBox for virtualizing a “Windows” operating system within Linux itself. Booting and running “Microsoft Windows” in a Linux window. VirtualBox allows operating systems to be run like a local linux application, without the complexity of multibooting and partitioning harddisks. And no dabbling of Wine is needed at all. Virtual harddisks can be created as a file within the “host” linux system. These virtual harddisk files when running virtual operating systems, appears like a physical harddisk within the “guest” operating systems. Though the virtualized operating system is fully contained, it is able to take control over USB devices and optical drives of the host system. This functionality allows the guest operating system to have hardware expansions such as USB modems and it will be independent from the host operating system. This will mean that the guest and the host OS can behave like 2 computers each with its own individual connection to the internet but in fact it is running off the same computer terminal. Besides that, VirtualBox also allows shared folders whereby the guest OS can access a folder of the host OS, making file transfer a breeze between the host and guest OS. A much desired feature of VirtualBox would be to emulate 3D hardware on the guest OS. Though there are some experimental work done on VirtualBox itself for Direct3D emulation using the host’s hardware 3D capability, it has not entirely stable and VirtualBox also have specific instructions on installing the “Guest Additions” on the guest OS “Windows” system. This experimental Direct3D implementation, however, did not work for most games that SGLNX had tried. Urban Terror and Quake 3 did work though. See below screen capture. A nifty display feature on VirtualBox is that it can allow the guest OS to run full screen, making it look like the guest OS is running natively on the computer, fooling the average user. A quick “Left-Control and F” key combo alternates the guest OS display between windowed mode and full screen. VirtualBox also allows snapshot capture of the guest OS at a specific moment in time. This allow system changes to be implemented after the snapshot making the process reversible. Making it easy revert to the snapshot image of the harddisk if anything should go wrong with the system update on the guest OS. Ubuntuforums has a good guide on understanding and managing here. A little history about VirtualBox… VirtualBox was released by its makers, Innotek GmbH, the first free edition of VirtualBox in January 2007. Within a year’s time, Innotek was acquired by Sun Microsystems in February 2008. And VirtualBox stayed free even with Sun’s acquisition of Innotek. Sun continued to develop VirtualBox with frequent updates. The most recent version release, at time of writing, in late November 2009 was VirtualBox 3.1.0 and it seems with the regularity of the updates, Sun is committed to making it better yet. VirtualBox is available for various hosts platforms, namely, Windows, Linux, OSX and (Open)Solaris and is able to install various guest platform OS on it such as Ubuntu, Windows XP, Windows Vista, OS/2, Solaris, BSD, etc. A full list of possible guest OS here. Related Posts: Make Ubuntu complete with these additional installations! Dubious Google Chrome OS available for public beta testing? Wine 1.1.25 development version ready for the download Future of Linux in Automotive Industry SGLNX takes Moblin 2.1 for a spin! Part Two (General)