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Welcome! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Virtual Computer

The computer that we usually use is also called a physical computer or real computer, because besides using it, we can touch and feel it, and it had its own hardware. Then, have you heard of a virtual computer? A virtual computer, also called a virtual machine, it a 'computer' running inside a physical computer. It is actually a program that has the similar functions as a real computer. A virtual computer is usually referred to as a 'guest', while a physical computer is referred to as a 'host'. Virtual computer and physical computer share the same hardware, where the virtual computer uses the hardware of the physical computer. However, virtual computer and physical computer use different software.

Then, why is virtual computer used? There are 3 main reasons. First, virtual computer can be used to install other operating systems. Examples of operating systems are Windows 7, Windows Vista and Linux Ubuntu. Every computer usually has 1 operating system only. If you install another operating system, usually the current one is either upgraded to the new one, or the current one as well as all files in the hard disk are deleted and replaced by the new one. It is also possible to have 2 operating systems installed, but this requires dual-boot to be set-up. The process of setting-up dual boot is complicated, and may destroy all data if done incorrectly. Virtual computers can solve this problem. Second, virtual computer can be used to test new programs. If you are installing a new program in your computer, you may not be sure whether it is safe or not. In this case, you can install the program in a virtual computer first. If it is safe, you can install it in your real computer. If it is unsafe, only the virtual computer is affected, not the real computer. Third, virtual computer is used to run older programs that are not compatible with newer operating system. For example, some old programs are compatible with Windows XP but not Windows 7. However, if you are using Windows 7, you run them in a virtual computer with Windows XP installed.

In order to run a virtual computer, there are a few requirements. First, you must have a virtual machine software. VMWare Player is a free virtual machine software that can be downloaded at http://www.vmware.com/products/player/ . You also need an operating system for the virtual computer. You must have either an installation CD or an ISO file for the operating system. VMWare Player can run many operating systems like Windows XP and Linux Ubuntu. However, VMWare Player does not run Mac OS X since it can be installed on Mac computers only. VMWare Player can run Google Chromium OS but not Google Chrome OS because it is for Chromebooks only. Besides, your computer hardware such as RAM and hard disk should have high capacity because they are used by both the real computer and virtual computer at the same time. If your computer meet all the requirements, you can go ahead and install a virtual computer. You can have more than 1 virtual computers but you are advised use only 1 virtual computer at a time to prevent your computer's performance from being affected.

Of all the operating systems, the operating systems that are most suitable for virtual computers are Windows XP and Linux Ubuntu. Windows XP does not need high hardware requirements, and it is the version of Windows that is compatible with most softwares. Many older and newer programs are compatible with Windows XP, so Windows XP can be used to test new softwares and run older softwares. Linux Ubuntu should be your choice because it is the most widely used version of Linux. It is also the easiest to use and has the most features. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not suitable to be installed in virtual computers because they need very high requirements and this may cause memory-swapping. In this article, I will tell you how to install Windows XP and Linux Ubuntu in VMWare Player.

To Use Windows XP in Virtual Computer:
(In order to do so, you must have a Windows XP installation CD.)

1. Download VMWare Player from http://www.vmware.com/products/player/ then install it.
2. Open VMWare Player.
3. Click 'Create a New Virtual Machine'.
4. Insert the Windows XP installation CD into the CD drive of your computer.
5. Click 'Installer disc' and select your CD drive.
6. When VMWare Player says that it will install Windows XP using Easy Install, click 'Next'.
7. Key in the Windows XP product key and your name. Then click 'Next'.
8. Click 'Next'.
9. Ensure that the 'Maximum disk size' is 40GB and 'store virtual disk as a single file' is selected. Then click 'Next'.
10. Click 'Finish'.
11. VMWare will automatically install Windows XP. Follow the on-screen instructions on continue. About 30 minutes is needed to install Windows XP.
12. After Windows XP has finished installing, it will automatically turn on.
13. On the bottom, there should be a bar about VMWare Tools. Connect to the internet and click 'Download Tools' or 'Update Tools'.
14. Wait for the download of VMWare Tools to complete.
15. In the virtual computer, open 'My Computer' and double-click the CD drive with the name of 'VMWare Tools'.
16. Install VMWare Tools in the virtual computer.
17. You have successfully installed Windows XP in VMWare Player.

To use Linux Ubuntu in VMWare Player:
(You do not need a Linux Ubuntu installation CD. Just follow the instructions below.)

1. Download VMWare Player from http://www.vmware.com/products/player/ then install it.
2. Download an ISO image of Linux Ubuntu from http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download and save it to the desktop.
3. Open VMWare Player.
4. Click 'Create a New Virtual Machine'.
5. Click 'Installer disc image file'. Click 'Browse', select 'Desktop' and select the Linux Ubuntu ISO Image file (that you just downloaded).
6. When VMWare Player says that it will install Linux Ubuntu using Easy Install, click 'Next'.
7. Key in your username and password for Linux Ubuntu, then click 'Next'.
8. Click 'Next' again.
9. Ensure that the 'Maximum disk size' is 20GB and 'store virtual disk as a single file' is selected. Then click 'Next'.
10. Click 'Finish'.
11. VMWare will automatically install Linux Ubuntu. Follow the on-screen instructions on continue. About 30 minutes is needed to install Linux Ubuntu.
12. After Linux Ubuntu has finished installing, it will automatically turn on.
13. You have successfully installed Linux Ubuntu in VMWare Player.
(If you see a bar on the bottom about VMWare Tools, just click 'Never Remind Me'. You do not need to install VMWare Tools for Linux Ubuntu. Also, the installation procedure is very complicating.)


To use the virtual computer, open VMWare Player, select 'Windows XP' or 'Linux Ubuntu' in the left panel then click 'Play Virtual Machine'. Some hardware can be used by both the virtual computer and physical computer at the same time. Other hardwares, like USB devices, can only be used on either one of the virtual computer or physical computer at a time. To connect it to the virtual computer, in the virtual machine window, click 'Virtual Machine' then 'Removable Devices', select the device and click 'Connect'. To connect it to the physical computer, in the virtual machine window, click 'Virtual Machine' then 'Removable Devices', select the device and click 'Disconnect'. Some hardware are automatically connected to the virtual computer when it is switched on. To connect the virtual computer to the internet, just connect the physical computer to the internet and the virtual computer will be automatically connected. To transfer files between the virtual computer and physical computer, use a pendrive.

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