I want to emulate some old desktop PC in order to run my application there (the emulated machine) as a stress test.

Is this possible? I looked around and some people mentioned Qemu, which is Open Source (cool).

Anybody ever tried to do this and succeeded? The idea is to create a virtual machine from existing hardware, OS included if possible.

I'm open to other suggestions besides Qemu

Update: I need 3D acceleration support. because my app uses DirectX. Microsoft Virtual PC, for example, does not support this. I looked around and it seems that VMWare Player does, so I'll give that a shot. About my app: It does heavy image processing, including multiframe images, so performance is very important

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    VirtualBox.org (free and open source) is great for emulation. I'm not sure how you'd go about emulating specific hardware aside from what these emulators can provide though. Jul 21, 2011 at 17:50
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    I'm slightly confused. You want to stress-test a VM? This doesn't completely make sense, because it would be very complicated to physically simulate hardware for stress testing, and it wouldn't really work out well anyway, best case is that you'd just end up stress-testing the host machine. Jul 21, 2011 at 17:51
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    @jcrawfordor He didn't really mean stress testing the virtual machine, he meant testing how his application would perform under legacy hardware (which supposedly may give it a run-for-it's-money). Jul 21, 2011 at 17:56
  • @Breakthrough That's right Jul 21, 2011 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


There exist P2V tools to create VM images from existing (physical) systems but so far as I know, these do not take any account of existing hardware. You usually have to manually tweak the produced VM image to use the drivers for whatever hardware the virtualization software provides.

The few virtualization tools I have used offer only a limited palette of hardware options. Given the incredibly vast numbers of distinct hardware products that have appeared in "old desktop PCs" since 1981 it is unsurprising that only a very few of the more common and recent products are emulated.

Unless your application is not a typical desktop application, it won't care if the host CPU is AMD or Intel, it won't care if the disk is SCSI-UW2 or SATA, it won't care if the graphics adapter is an nVidia 8800 or a Radeon 5700, it won't care if the Mouse is a Logitech G9X USB or a MS Intellimouse 1.1 PS/2.

I may be wrong but I imagine it might be more useful to think (and ask questions) in terms of emulation of general characteristics such as overall system speed and graphics resolution. Perhaps if you explain a bit more, people will be better able to provide helpful answers.

  • I updated my answer with a bit more information about my app Aug 1, 2011 at 15:21

You likely can just create a new VM with a smaller virtual hard drive and a low amount of RAM to get a similar effect.

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