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The obvious candidates are Virtualbox and Virtual PC.

But I have not been paying attention to VM's the last year, have I missed a good alternative?

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What lacking for you from the VM stuff built into Win 7? –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 6 '10 at 19:55

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

VMWare player is also free to use, and can create virtual machines as well.

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Wow, I did not even realize VMWare Player could create VM's now. Kinda makes Workstation 7 a hard sell, eh? –  hyperslug Feb 6 '10 at 1:53
Yes, I tried it out when I had audio issues with VBox, and it works slick. Every bit as easy as VBox. –  DCookie Feb 6 '10 at 13:52
Just note, VMWare player is licensed for non-commercial use only. –  PaulWaldman Mar 9 '10 at 18:24

What's wrong with VirtualBox? That's still the best free one I've ever used.

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I've had audio problems with VBox running an XP guest. –  DCookie Feb 6 '10 at 13:50

I agree. I find VirtualBox has the best feature set of any of the VM solutions out there and its free.

I have yet to see another VM app support the seamless mode feature of VirtualBox which IMO is the one of the coolest VM features out there.

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Do you mean the only free VM solution that supports seamless mode? Both Parallels and VMWare support this (but are not free). Also, Parallels, at least, does a better job of it than VirtualBox. –  donut Feb 6 '10 at 13:23
VMWare Player is free and does support seamless mode. –  DCookie Feb 6 '10 at 13:51
@DCookie: Doesn't seamless mode require installing VMware Tools? And doesn't installing VMware Tools require something other than VMware Player? –  bk1e Feb 6 '10 at 17:15
This link: vmware.com/support/player30/doc/releasenotes_player3.html seems to indicate that it does have this feature. I'm pretty sure that VMWare asked me if I wanted Tools installed when I built the VM XP guest. –  DCookie Feb 6 '10 at 18:37
That said, the reviews I've seen comparing the two seem to favor VBox. I just can't make it work with the audio on my W7 host. –  DCookie Feb 6 '10 at 18:38

I install custom laptops for our users, many who need access to dual OS'. Since we started using a minimum of 4GB on laptops I've recommended virtualbox whether the host is windows or linux, the guest OS always being the opposite.

I use this myself, and all users I've set this up for have been very happy with the results, which are much better than dual-booting, although with lower performance, which is very seldom necessary anyways.

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