The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.Would you like to SIMULTANEOUSLY run Windows XP and Windows 7 and Windows 98 and MS-DOS and Linux and Macintosh and perhaps other operating systems, all on one computer? You can do it with virtual computing.
Did you upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7, only to find that genealogy program you purchased years ago for Windows 98 won't work? No problem, you can install and use Windows 98 while still simultaneously running Vista or Windows 7.
Virtual computing also allows you to experiment with other operating systems without disrupting what you already use. Perhaps you have heard good things about Linux and would like to try it, but you don't want to abandon your investment in other programs and operating systems. Perhaps you want to use a Macintosh but don't want to abandon RootsMagic or Legacy or The Master Genealogist or AncestralQuest or your word processor or checkbook program? Virtual computing will allow you to do just that.
For years, we have had the capability to dual-boot. That is, to load two or even more operating systems onto one computer and to run them, one at a time. At boot time, a menu typically appears, and the user selects which operating system he or she wants to use. That operating system is booted up and is useable for as long as the user wishes. However, when the user wants to switch to a different operating system, he or she has to stop all programs that are in use, boot down, and then switch to the other operating system. Virtual computing changes all that. We can now use multiple operating systems and applications at the same time. I was surprised at how easy the process is to install multiple operating systems that can run simultaneously.
I now have virtual computing software installed on three different computers: a Gateway PC that originally shipped with Windows 7 installed, a Macintosh laptop, and a Macintosh desktop system. I will describe the installation of virtual computing software on the PC separately from that of the Macintosh systems as there are some significant differences.
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