I heard that there are some programmes that allow to feel like you have 2 OS at once, that is to say, you can easily, without rebooting, switch between them. So I have the follwing question concerning to this.

  1. How it is healty for the operation system on which you install that kind of soft? I mean can that soft harm to the OS?

  2. What kind of softs you know that allow you to do that. Please list some of them which are most popular and reliable.

  3. Can I use that kind of software in order to test a stand alon soft created by me on different platforms? Is it equivalent to the one I do on really differnt platforms?



3 Answers 3


You should look into virtualization.

It's not un-"healthy" for the parent operating system on which a virtual machine is installed, though it may require a lot of CPU and memory usage, depending on what you're doing... but you can always just turn the virtual machine off while not in use--that's no problem. You can even "pause" them if you want to maintain their current state of execution.

  1. See VMWare or VirtualBox. Microsoft also has VirtualPC.
  2. Yes, you build a "Virtual Machine", think of it as a computer emulator. You install the operating system and all your software within that (mostly) isolated environment.
  • or kvm or xen on linux systems
    – txwikinger
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 21:20

You can use VMware Player (or other virtual products) and run whatever main-stream OS you want as a virtual machine within a host OS. With VMware and products like it, you can define RAM, processor utilization that's available to the VM, and disk space to each VM, so you have some control over how it will hit your host OS.

You can also boot of VHDs (virtual hard drives) in W7: http://edge.technet.com/Media/Windows-7-Boot-from-VHD/

For macs you can use Parallels or the built-in Boot Camp, or again, VMPlayer.

Here are some links:





For testing purposes like you are describing, without detail, I would run a couple VMs with a virtual network to test out your software.

If you are testing a web app, you might just want to download all the different browsers (safari, firefox, IE) on one box.


1) IF you are running virtual machine software such as VirtaulBox it will not harm the OS. 2) I have used VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation, and VMware ESXi. You may also want to look into WUBI for installing Linux under Windows. 3) Yes you can use the virtual PC as testing platform. If you need to test against different versions of Windows and Linux you can do that, each one is its own PC.

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