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I have a Compaq notebook with Windows 2007 Home Basic and Core2Duo T6600 processor 32-bit system. I want Windows XP and Windows Vista as guest operating systems on my machine. I am unable to install Windows Virtual PC 2007, because I don't have Hardware virtualization technology.

Which Virtual Machine software can I install to virtualize Windows XP and Vista?

On googling I found VMWare, Virtual box, VMPlayer, etc. on many forums and articles, but I can't decide which would be the best.

UPDATE:

I want free software, it won't be on a server since I have a standalone notebook. I don't want any live migrations. I need to download virtual machine software and create a virtual machine for Windows XP and Windows Vista on my 32-bit Windows 7 OS.

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6 Answers 6

I've used VM Player and VirtualBox and found VirtualBox much more user friendly and easier to use.

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Here's an article that compares Desktop Virtualization Software and a table comparing features.

However, the problem with software recommendations is that you have to be specific in what you want.

  • Does it have to be free or can it be paid?
  • Should it support live migrations?
  • Do you want to create virtual machine out of fysical machines?
  • Will it only be used on one computer or run on a server?
  • Do you need to download your virtual machines or can you install them yourself?

Without any of this information, I would say pick Virtual Box. But for simply creating and running a virtual machine, any of these three would suffice.

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+1 for the comparison link. –  DCookie Feb 10 '10 at 17:11

I have used VirtualBox and VMWare Player, both free solutions. Both have a similar setup interface that is intuitive and easy.

I started with VirtualBox, but had issues with audio in an Windows XP guest. So, I gave VMWare Player a try, and it worked fine. I'm running on a Windows 7 host.

I took a brief look at Virtual PC/Server, but was turned off by the lack of support for Linux guests.

My recommendation would be to give both VirtualBox and VMWare a try - neither takes long to come up to speed with, and if you have both, and run into issues with one of them you can quickly try the other to see if it addresses the problem.

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+1 for VirtualBox. Alsa problems are gone for me with newer versions. Did not try VMWare recently though. –  Alain Pannetier Mar 1 '11 at 21:19

All of those you listed should suit your OS - the difference is that some offer different features than others. Maybe you should look into that and then decide what you'll use depending on the features you need.

Personally, I use VirtualBox and it has proven as very good. I've used it on Windows as well as on Linux and never had any problems whatsoever with it.

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We have exactly the same issue and chose to use VMWare. The process was so much easier than I imagined it was going to be. We have since used it to migrate a server from an old physical box onto a virtual instance. The process was again painless, migrating the server across in minutes and having it up and running within the hour. The software is free too so even if you decide its not for you the only thing you've lost is your time.

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I have a Compaq notebook with Windows 2007 Home Basic

There is no such thing as Windows 2007, so I guess you are speaking about Windows 7. As far as I know, the Home versions are 32 bit only, which kinda ties your arms. Hence, you have 2 options:

1) According to ark.intel.com, your CPU does not have the virtualization technology. So, in your current setup, you can only have 32-bit OS as guests (virtualized systems). Hence you will need to pick the 32-bit versions of XP and Vista.

2) Again, according to ark.intel.com, your CPU has a 64-bit instruction set. You can install a more reasonable OS version, like Linux or if you are afraid of it, then Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. Then you will be able to have 64-bit systems virtualized as well. The lack of virtualization technology will in this case only impact the performance of the virtual machine.

As to software, you can use both VMware Player or VirtualBox - the choice is yours, give them a try and decide for yourself which one you mostly like! At the end, I would recommend you to not check other virtualization platforms, than those 2, as the rest is not really professional and lacks either comfort or features, or even both

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