VirtualBox

VirtualBox 3.0

Free
Maintains a virtual instance of an operating system within the host OS
4.5  (459 votes)
5.9
5.1.22 (See all)

VirtualBox is an Open Source virtual-machine application that enables users of a specific operating system to run software not designed for that platform. It runs on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and some other platforms, maintaining a virtual instance of the host operating system within itself. It obtains access to certain hardware resources and features, being more like a guest using the host's resources, thus executing applications in a safe environment; or, by means of certain modules, even running programs made for other systems.

VirtualBox is actually the only free application of such kind users may find; and it performs really excellent because it has been developed by Sun MicroSystems. This is the perfect solution, even better than having two or more OS on a single machine: because there is no need for rebooting. Even greater is the fact that you can use this to run 64-bit applications in 32-bit systems.

As an improvement in this version, there is now full support in case a crash should occur: you can easily switch back to a previous restore point and avoid the need of frequent backups. A virtual SATA controller has also been integrated, for the whole virtual machine to operate faster.

VirtualBox supports Intel's hardware virtualization, VT-x, and AMD's AMD-V. It supports USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices; has its own SATA controller that works faster and consumes less CPU resources than a virtual IDE controller, allowing to connect more than three virtual hard disks to the machine. Other features include Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Microsoft VHD support, and virtual drive mounting.

Raul Iniguez
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • For Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris.
  • Runs 64 bit applications.
  • SATA support.
  • Microsoft VHD support.
  • Snapshots.
  • Free

Cons

  • None
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