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Which virtual-machine software (i.e. VirtualBox, VMware Server, etc.) has the least overhead, with support for installation on a Windows host?

The reason overhead is an issue is due to battery life (using a laptop).

I need to run Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows 7 virtual machines.

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Is this question obscure? –  wizlog Oct 24 '11 at 16:52

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Running two operating systems on the same laptop when battery life is crucial, is not a good idea. The very nature of virtualization software is cpu intensive (and you probally won't find much of a difference between VMware and VirtualBox.) You should also consider that screen brightness is most-often what drains the battery the most.

I would use an old version of VirtualBox, VMware... because the minimum specs would be lower. I don't know what exactly you are trying to do, on the virtual machine...

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I think I would rather use the most current version which recieved more optimization. Disable stuff like 3D graphics support and such. –  Jens Erat Oct 24 '11 at 16:55
    
Then the minimum specs wouldn't be so high. –  wizlog Oct 24 '11 at 17:05
    
Sure, but that's primarily bound to the fact that these offer some cool graphics stuff which one doesn't need to use. Better algorithms in newer software using better hardware support will still lead to less burden on the cpu. –  Jens Erat Oct 24 '11 at 17:07
    
I think that the original answer contains the most pertinent point: if you're concerned about battery life, trying to choose between two different versions of the same virtualisation software (or even between two different packages) is like trying to choose whether load your Mini with a cubic metre of pea gravel or a cubic metre of loose shingle. Either one is going to grind the tail pipe into a sparking mess. –  Geoff Oct 24 '11 at 18:48

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