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How do I Install a Virtual Machine?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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A virtual machine is basically a parallel computer operating system installed to run alongside a machine's primary operating system. It is relatively easy to install a virtual machine (VM). Most products use a standard installation wizard that walks the technician through a step-by-step installation guide. During this installation, it is important to determine how much memory and disc space will be allocated to each virtual installation. This will influence the performance of the virtual machine because the system will limit the available resources to this defined configuration.

Before a person begins to install a virtual machine, he should first determine the available disc space and memory of the computer system. This will be used as a guide for installing the software. The virtual machine should require a minimal memory and disc space configuration. If the computer system lacks the necessary resources, the installation will normally fail.

There are many types of operating systems that can support a virtual machine, including Linux®, UNIX®, and Windows®. Each operating system has minimum system requirements and configuration settings. It is important to follow the operating system's guide to install a virtual machine.

An engineer should first complete an entire system backup before installing a virtual machine. This will safeguard against data corruption that may occur during the installation process. If the installation fails, the system backup can be used to restore the computer system.

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After the installation process is complete, it may be necessary to delete the virtual machine. This can be accomplished by simply moving the assigned drive space into the trash folder of the file system. It is typically easier to remove a virtual machine than install one.

Many people prefer to install Linux® and Windows® virtual machines on the same computer system. This provides the system user with UNIX® processing power, while keeping the familiar features of the popular Windows® platform. With this configuration, it is best to install a virtual machine with Windows® as the underlying operating system. This makes it easier to delete the VM without impacting the underlying Windows® programs.

Windows® Virtual PC is virtual machine software created by Microsoft®. This software allows users of Windows® applications to install older versions of operating systems. Virtual PC allows user to run Windows XP® on the Windows 7® platform, which provides backward compatibility to older software programs.

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