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I have Windows 7 installed on my laptop a Toshiba A505 with 4GB RAM and Core2Duo T6500 processor.

I'm thinking of installing a Linux distro and then using VirtualBox, create a Windows 7 virtual machine so I can use Visual Studio 2010.

How well would this run? VS2010 uses WPF, would this be slow on a virtual machine?

Also, what distro would you recommend?

Also, how dificult is my life going to be if I install a 64bit distro?

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You should be fine to run Visual Studio in a VM - VirtualBox will shortcut most of the calls directly to the CPU so that most things run at near-native speed. Obviously there is some overhead, especially with regard to devices, and the host will consume system resources such as memory. But if you're running on a modern machine, it should run tolerably well. In any case VBox is very quick and easy to setup so it shouldn't take too long to test (installing Windows will be the biggest time consumer).

In terms of distro, Ubuntu is a good place to start, especially if you're not run Linux before. I've also heard good things about SUSE linux, and Debian is another solid distro that suits people who wish to tinker a little more than the average Ubuntu user.

64 bit Linux support has come a long way, to the point where you probably won't notice any problems at all with it. You are more likely to encounter obscure bugs here and there but unless you're planning to develop on that platform you should be fine. And you can still watch Flash (yay! Youtube!) if you install a 32-bit browser or use nspluginwrapper to wrap the Flash plugin.

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Rather than running Visual Studio in a VM, I'd recommend you install both, and switch to Linux / Windows as your need arises. Virtualization is pretty demanding on the processor, and running an IDE under a virtualized machine is recipe for frustration and hairloss.

Also, how dificult is my life going to be if I install a 64bit distro?

If you don't use Flash, you should be fine .

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As long as your processor support hardware virtualization, you shouldn't have a problem with 64-bit VMs. However, since you only have a dual-core system, I can't imagine 7 and VS2010 will be fast. Dual-booting is a much, much better idea. –  ssube Aug 23 '10 at 4:31
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