How to run multiple OS simultaneously in a computer

dell-1420Recently I bought a new Dell 1420 (Intel Core Duo T6400) and packed it with 4 GB RAM + 320 GB HD.

This notebook  is quite a good deal Рabout $720 USD.

My old Dell 6000 was really old and slow, so I thought it’s about time I get a new one.

With 4GB of RAM and 320 GB of HDD, I’ve got lots of computing power and one way to fully utilize the available resources is by running multiple operating systems simultaneously. Photo by Leo s mavely

Now you must be wondering why in the world would I want to do that. Well, there are actually many advantages to this. In simple terms, it’s like you have access to two different computers at the same time. And in complicated terms, this technique is called Virtualization.

Now let me explain how I use virtualization on a daily basis. On my main operating system, which is Vista, is where I have all my frequently used software such as Microsoft Word and Outlook installed. Now, since I’m a software developer, I usually need to design and write codes in LAMP environment as well as .NET environment. My recent assignment requires me to work on Windows Sharepoint Services whereby the requirement to run it is Windows 2003 OS + .NET 3.0 + SQL Server. This would mean that there’s no way for me to install Windows Sharepoint Services on my existing Vista OS.

So to overcome this, I installed Microsoft’s Virtual PC and set up a Virtual Machine with everything in it to run Windows Sharepoint Services. Once done, I could access both OS at the same time. When I need to access Windows Sharepoint Services, all I need to do is to fire up the Virtual Machine directly without having to shut down and boot into another OS.

The sample screenshot below shows Ubuntu running in a Virtual Machine. while the host environment is in Vista. Photo by Photo Mojo

virtualpc-ubuntu

Besides Microsoft’s Virtual PC, some other virtualization software are:

Some other benefits of using virtualization software:

  • Saves cost on hardware
  • Have rollback capability just in case some mistakes were made in the virtual machine, you can choose not to commit the changes
  • Easily transfer virtual machines among friends and colleagues. Usually 2GB in size and above.
  • Easily backup everything in the virtual machine simply by copying the virtual machine file to an external hard disk.

So obviously there are many advantages and benefits of using virtualization. But there are 2 things which I must point out.

  1. To run virtualization smoothly, your machine better have lots of RAM and hard disk space available. Otherwise, it will either not run at all or even if it’s launch, it will be very slow.
  2. For each software that is installed in the Virtual Machine, you will need a license for it. Meaning that, just because you have an Adobe Photoshop license for your host machine, it does mean you can install and use it legally in the virtual machine as well. To be safe, just remember to treat each virtual machine as if it’s a separate machine altogether which requires it’s very own software licenses to run legally.

I guess the next Virtual Machine that I will build is one with Windows 7 beta in it. It’s about time I start playing around with it.

Till then, happy virtualizing!



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19 Comments on "How to run multiple OS simultaneously in a computer"

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Robert
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Robert
7 years 2 months ago

I’m surprised of your article, because T6400 does not even support Hardware Virtualization or T6400 does not support Virtualization Technology.

I’d like to know how the performance is with your Virtualization setup on the Dell config you mentioned.

Even though, you can install VMWAre or Virtialbox or Parallels and setup a VM on T6400 based laptop/desktop, the performance will be significantly degraded or your OSes both host and VM will run substantially less than the full speed, from what I understood.

Can you gimme your experience on this?

TIA

Wareprise.com
Guest
7 years 2 months ago
Robert, Thanks for visiting and dropping a note. You’re right about T6400 not supporting hardware virtualization. Since I got the notebook – Dell 1420, I have been running a Windows Server 2003 installed on a Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 while the host machine is on Vista. In the virtual machine is where I do some of the following work: 1. Programming on lamp environment 2. Run FTP programs like cuteftp 3. For torrents 4. For testing out any trial software The reason why I’m doing the some of the above work in a virtual pc environment is to protect and… Read more »
Jerry K
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Jerry K
7 years 1 month ago
Your article is exactly what I was looking for. I just bought a Dell Laptop with the same processor you have and I am now kicking myself for overlooking the VT feature. I need a laptop to study some basic network administration and I was hoping to be able to run one server (Windows 2003) and one client (Windows Vista) virtual machine on top my current host OS, which is Vista. Have you tried running two virtual machines on this processor rather than just the single Vista machine? If so, how does it handle the load. Also, do you recommend… Read more »
Jerry K
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Jerry K
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks. I really hope it can run two. I just called Dell and they told me that it is took late to upgrade to the higher processor with VT since my order is already in there automated production process. Now all I can do is wait.

pallavi
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pallavi
6 years 8 months ago

i have a dell 1525 with 2GB ram and 250 hard disk.
do u think i could use windows xp with some other os at a time ?
will the performance slow down?

Lenin
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Lenin
6 years 8 months ago

Hi,
I have a 64bit vista as host OS, but when i try to run a 64 bit VM image on Vwmare workstation 7, it gives the message, VL is not enabled on my host machine. In BIOS of my DELL INSPIRON 1440 laptop, i am unable to locate the setting. Any idea, how i can move forward? Thanks
Lenin

jj
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jj
6 years 8 months ago

Hi,

I have a toshiba L305D-S5892. The specs are as follow:
1. AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor TL60
2. 3 GB 800MHz SDRam
3. 160 GB Hard Drive

Will virtual machine work properly on this or will it slow it down?

Please follow up quickly

Robert
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Robert
6 years 7 months ago

One question about the virtualisation.

I’m looking for multiple os virtualisation. But i do not want to run within a OS.
Could ESXi as the under layer multiple OS’s at the same time? I’m currently upgrading my server with HP SAS drives and a second dual core Xeon and more RAM. That way i can allocate same ressources to each OS within 1 physical machine.

Rahul
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Rahul
6 years 3 months ago

Hi……… Willl u plz tell me how to set up Virtual Machine settings. for ubuntu :) i want to use ubuntu in virtual machine & Win XP as main system . plz tell me the steps :)

Rags
Guest
Rags
6 years 15 days ago

Hi All,
I have already installed windows and RHEL in my system, I want to boot both Win and RHEL simultaneously. I dont want to go for the virtualization method. I heard of a software which will enable me to run both the installed OS simultaneously. Does anybody know about it????

Osama Shah
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Osama Shah
5 years 10 months ago

Did you install windows server 2008 64bit on your T6400? I have the same processor and I read on few articles that I cannot virtualize windows server 2008. I have been virtualizing windows server 2008 and sharepoint development but now for sharepoint 2010 i need to install 2008 server.

Osama
Guest
Osama
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks for your prompt response.

Well the problem is that T6400 does not have the virtualization support, I mean for 32bit it is by default and you dont have to activate that option as you know, but if its about 64 bit and you try to search for the virtualization option you wont find it for T6400, it just thought that you might have a way around :) thanks anyway

Hendra
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Hendra
5 years 5 months ago
Hi there, I’m looking for a solution to allow 3 independent simultaneous users in 1 computer. Is it possible to have 1 desktop PC (host with Windows 7) and install 3 vmware images (each guest having Window 7) and have them run simultaneously and independently (3 monitors, 3 keyboards, 3 mice but 1 PC). So from the outside it’s as if there are 3 separate “non-related” computers (or 4 if you consider the host too), but in reality those 3 are running separate vmware images. Let me know if it’s possible. And if it is, how to set it up… Read more »
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