Everyone likes to try new and shiny technology toys like the Windows 7 beta, but when the price is having to replace your existing operating system, that’s too much for most people. That’s when being able to use a virtualization program can come in darn handy.
To test out how well Windows 7 works on a virtualized system, I decided to use Sun’s VirtualBox software. While there are, of course, other virtualization programs out there, such as VMware’s Workstation and Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox has two significant advantages over the others. First, it’s free. Second, you can use it as a host for other operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris.
In my case, I decided to use VirtualBox to run Windows 7 on two Dell Inspiron 530S systems, one running Windows XP Pro SP3 and the other running MEPIS 7 Linux. Each PC came with a 2.2-GHz Intel Pentium E2200 dual-core processor with an 800-MHz front-side bus, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB SATA drive and an Integrated Intel 3100 Graphics Media Accelerator. While not powerful systems, these proved to have more than enough CPU power to run both their native operating system and Windows 7.