With Windows 10 just around the corner, Microsoft are releasing 'Technical Previews' of the operating system to give people a glimpse of how it will function. Installing it comes with risks attached – it is unfinished software, after all – so if you want to try out Windows 10 before its general release, you will need emulation software like VirtualBox.
What this neat little program does is enable you to run a second operating system alongside the one already installed on your computer (provided you have paid for both, of course). That makes VirtualBox perfect for trying out different operating systems – if you want to run a Mac-only program on your Windows PC, for example.
Unlike some rivals, VirtualBox is completely free, so you get access to the full feature set for an unlimited period of time, all without paying a cent. Available features include snapshots (which allow you to 'save' the virtual OS in its current state, to be returned to later), folders that can be shared between OSes, plus you can even remotely access your virtual OS from another computer.
Range of supported systems: VirtualBox is available on all the major operating systems. This allows you to take advantage of open-source virtualization whether your platform is Mac, Windows, Linux, or Solaris. You can then run most versions of Windows, DOS, Linux, or Solaris as a virtual system.
Lots of info: One of the typical advantages of open-source software is that the user community creates a wide range of help and technical documents to assist people in the software's operation. VirtualBox is no exception, and there is ample documentation available to anyone who needs help with their VirtualBox setup.
Operating system integration: The paid virtualization solutions have much better integration between the host system and the guest operating system. For instance, using VMWare or Parallels, you can drag and drop files from one system to the other. You cannot do that with VirtualBox.
Lack of active support: Virtualization software is complicated and can easily have things go wrong with it. When this happens with a product that you are paying for, you have access to a lot of hands-on technical support. That does not exist with open-source products. If you run into a conflict, you will be stuck trying to sort it out on your own.
Downloads page: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
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