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My work setup relies on old Windows XP. Now, when Windows XP isn't supported by new hardware, it's getting harder and harder to buy a notebook on which Windows XP can run natively with all essential hardware (wireless cards, graphics, sound etc).

Since I don't expect my personal setup to turn away from Windows XP any time soon, I'm investigating the following trick: why not buy any decent hardware which Linux can fully utilize, and use it as a virtual host for a guest session with e.g. Windows XP. I like using hibernation, so I prefer this Linux to be as thin as possible, only enough to support VirtualBox, KVM or any other virtualization software.

Question: Are there any "standard" ways to do this, like Linux distributions aimed specifically on being light virtualization host?

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More than anything you will be looking for a light linux distro. I would aim for xubuntu or a distro that utilizes xfce. after that it is as thin as you make it. I have gotten a system down to 100MB as a whole before. I also heard of people making them much smaller. This will not be the case with your OS.

You are aiming at a light distro with an x interface installed, and a virtualization software.

Give xubuntu with virtualbox a shot and it should be fairly forgiving to setup.

To answer you directly, No, I do not know of a distro specifically designed for virtualization. (hint... computer hardware is sometimes specialized towards virtualization. I know the Intel I series processors were said to be very high performing when it comes to virtualization)

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