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I run Ubuntu Jaunty on a laptop with this spec:

CPU (Intel Centrino Dual Core): Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2300 @ 1.66GHz

Memory: 1GB

Is it possible to run XP as a virtual machine and get decent performance ? It's to gain quick access to the latest .NET development environment. (Yes, I have Mono on linux)

Also, among different virtualization options (VirtualBox, VMWare), is any one significantly better in terms of managing hardware ?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could run virtualization with your hardware. Your processor supports the virtualization extensions, but I would, recommend getting more RAM, you will likely have a much better experience with at least 2GB.

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Even 2 GB is going to be low if you are trying to run a .NET development environment. 1 GB isn't going to cut it, not realistically. – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 3 '09 at 14:59

I have used VMWare on a system with far less resources than yours, and I could still run XP in a virtual machine on it. It wasn't very fast, though, mostly because the amount of RAM will be it's biggest limitation. XP runs okay with 512 MB RAM, which you can provide. However, if you want to use that VM for software development, you'd better add more memory to that system, if possible. Or be patient when you're going to compile stuff.

To be honest, your requirements don't depend on Windows XP, since XP can easily run on a system with only 128 to 256 MB RAM and a harddisk of 4 GB. XP won't eat most of your resources. It's the other tools that you're probably want to run on that VM system that will kill it. Visual Studio won't be happy on it. Neither are many other applications. (And it doesn't matter if they're commercial products or freeware, most modern versions are developed for more powerful systems.)

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I'd say yes it's certainly possible.

Whether it will run quickly is another question. Particularly if you are trying to run Visual studio 2010 (The latest .net development environment). The only real way to find out is to test it.

Experiment with how much RAM you allocate the the VM. Too much and you'll suffer because the host OS is lacking in memory. Too little and the guest OS will lack in memory.

I've used VMWare and virtual box and haven't noticed anything particularly different about the basic versions of either. Both have very similar options.

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