I am attempting to run multiple systems at once one ONE computer all at the same time. Is this at all possible? my knowledge of computers and technology is limited, but to give you a little more insight i will explain the situation. I am trying to run a single program multiple times on one computer, but the program restricts you to only being able to open it once at a time. I figured if i could split up, or partition my hard drive, than it could maybe run multiple systems at once, and maybe it would let me run one of these programs on each system. I am also trying to get each of these systems to each work from a different IP. I thought maybe setting up a VPN on each system might work after i have it all split up, but again my knowledge of this technology is very limited. If there is any other way to achieve this goal or anything close please mention it. My main goal is being able to open this program multiple times on one computer and have each running from a different IP. If this is not possible please explain why.

  • You could do this with multiple virtualized OS's, but it will be resource intensive. I think there are easier ways of running multiple instances of an application (even if it says it won't let you), I'm just not informed enough to help you in that regard. – Wutnaut Jun 16 '14 at 20:26
  • No this is not possible, but you can use a virtual machine, like mantan129 suggested. – mtak Jun 16 '14 at 20:27
  • Maybe if you let us know more about this software that won't run multiple times on your computer, or what it provides you, we can think of a work-around. – Wutnaut Jun 16 '14 at 20:29
  • As noted, virtualization is the only way. The problem is mainly that an operating system requires full use of the hardware. It can't simply share memory with another OS. Virtualization is the only way around this. VPNs and hard drive partitions have nothing to do with system resources and how a program is launched and utilized within an operating system. Out of curiosity, what program are you trying to use? If we had more details, we might be able to provide a more eloquent solution. – MaQleod Jun 16 '14 at 20:29
  • can you do a VM say 5 or 10 times? can you run a VPN to mask its IP? or is it just 1 extra VM? – Drew Dunn Jun 16 '14 at 20:29

You can use a Virtual Machine (VM, for short). A good software for this is Oracle VM Virtual Box, which is free and fairly easy to use. If you want commercial software, there's VMWare Workstation, which offers additional features.

When you create a VM you can control its properties and hardware allocation, such as number of CPU cores available for the VM, RAM (memory) allocation, storage on disk and so on. When you power on the Virtual Machine you can install any operating system, like Linux and Windows. You can connect the VM to the internet and share files between your physical machine and the VM, and so on. Both programs are available to all major operating systems.

Here's a screenshot from Oracle VM Virual Box running Windows XP on a Windows 7 environment: Oracle VM Virtual Box running Windows XP on a Windows 7

  • very helpful i will defenitly look into this – Drew Dunn Jun 16 '14 at 20:35
  • Although this is the answer to go, I miss the bit of explaination why an OS can only run once. – LPChip Jun 16 '14 at 20:38
  • apparently "The problem is mainly that an operating system requires full use of the hardware. It can't simply share memory with another OS. Virtualization is the only way around this..." – Drew Dunn Jun 16 '14 at 20:41
  • @LDChip, do you mean two operating systems running side by side? – matan129 Jun 16 '14 at 20:41
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    I'll divide my answer to two parts: 1. Technically, the physical machine and the VM run simultaneously. You can use your host OS while the VM is running. 2. You cannot run 2 operating systems side by side. The reason for that is that you have only one set of CPU, HDD, etc. If two independent programs will try to utilize the same hardware at the same time, with no coordination between the two, it will result with unexpected outcomes. This situation is only possible when one OS (the host) manages the other one (the VM). – matan129 Jun 16 '14 at 20:47

If you're just looking to run multiple instances of a program that only lets you have one, then a virtual machine may be overkill. Unless you've got gobs of RAM, you won't be able to run more than a couple VM instances before you run into memory problems.

I would recommend creating multiple user accounts. You could then do a runas under each account's credentials. Most programs running under the context of one user cannot detect another instance of themselves running under another user's account.

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