The benefits of Virtual machines.

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by davehc, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. davehc

    davehc Microsoft MVP
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    Virtual Machines can be useful for certain functions, and to solve problems without risking your main OS.
    But there is fundamentally, no saving of HD space. If, however, it is only the intention to run a bare OS for problem solving then, of course, without any third party add-ons, it is a little smaller than the original. Remember a virtual machine also uses memory (RAM) when they are running. But, as well as the straightforward help factor, they can be used for several useful functions.

    1. Software inside a virtual machine, will not affect anything on the host machine – including viruses. This can allow you to install doubtful software and test it for virus, or other, problems.

    2. Ditto for Hardware. You can plunge in and check the workability of new drivers, etc., in your VM, before ruining your Host machine.

    3. In the same token, software which is known to conflict, can be tested out on a VM and, possibly, have conflictions resolved.

    4. One use, which I have used, is in the building, or altering, of websites. You can play with these, ad infinitum, until you are completely satisfied with the result.

    5. It is possible to setup several VMs, and increase your skills in using a network, by connecting between them. There is quite a Ram penalty through this usage, however.

    Keep in mind that anything you run inside a VM, and including the VM itself, incurs a greater penalty on the use of your Computer resources, including Hard disk space..
    I have had occasion to use VMs, but my preferred suicidal method is to have a real, second OS installed, and play with that. With a solid backup image, any fatal mistakes are quickly resolved. The drawback, of course, is that, on those occasions when you are experimenting with something potentially hazardous, you do need to reboot into your second OS.
     
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    Dave
    Very good post. One other use for VMs is running an older OS to run software that doesn't run on new systems like Windows 7 and 8. For many reasons there are programs that run fine on XP 32 bit but won't run or install on 64 bit Vista and later. I saw an interesting link last year where the person had setup All Windows OS from the very begining to Windows 7 on VMs. They posted some interesting screen shots.
    Joe
     
  3. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    Me personally, don't like the idea of a VM, simply because of those same points you've mention in your blog. It's like giving you PC cancer, when it takes a heavy toll on your PC systems resources. If I was to set up a VM, then why not literally build a test machine...of course this involves costs but most of the quality software for setting up and using VM's and Servers VM you have to Pay for...so what's the difference.

    It the same for me with partitions....I don't see the point of partitioning a drive to spread data around...if the drive fails it fails and thus goes all your data...partitioned on not. Yes there is software and some facilities that do data recovery in which you can possibly retrieve your lost data. It's the fun I suppose of trying it...which I haven't...maybe, but only time will tell.
     
  4. davehc

    davehc Microsoft MVP
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    Partitioning is a matter of preferences, Bass.
    I have a couple of OSs, sometimes three, for various reasons, on my HD. It is totally necessary to have partitions for such an operation.
    Also, I keep copies of all my private stuff on other partitions. if you have a total OS breakdown (S***t happens!), it is all still there for recovery.
    You point about the drive failing is very valid. Hasn't happened to me, though, since Windows 98 (OMG - I should have not said that!)
     
  5. bassfisher6522

    bassfisher6522 Essential Member

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    The only time I've ever partitioned a drive, was to test out an OS. This is probably what the VM would be for, but the system resource hit it to much for me. I'm just not a believer yet...you're slowly chipping away at it....lol.

    With my system specs, it's a significant hit on system resources. Now, next year I'm planning on a new build with some maxed out system specs...eg 32 or 64 gig of ram, dual nic's, and so on. Then I wouldn't mind at all setting up a VM. Also I hear it's a good idea to use a separate nic if using a network with a VM...something to do with stability with internet/network conflicts.
     

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