Microsoft has released Virtual PC 2007. It will run on Vista as a Host OS and will run Vista as a guest OS. The product is a free download and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/virtualpc. However you do need a licensed copy of every OS you run as a guest.
What is Virtual PC? It is an application that runs on one OS and allows other OS’s to run as Guest OS’ in a virtual machine, sharing the hardware with the host. It is a great tool for support or backward compatibilty for some applications. For example, although not officially supported, you could install a Linux system as a guest OS. This way you can run Linux and some of it’s applications on a Vista machine. This is a great tool for support people as well as you can have several virtual machines of different OS and start them up as you need them. You do need a fair bit of memory as each guest OS uses memory from the host to run. Here is a great use of VPC. LEt’s say you have an application that you absolutley must have but it does not run on XP or Vista but only Windows 98. You create a Windows 98 Virtual Machine, install the application on there and wehn you need it you just run the VM as Windows 98. This would eliminate the need to have a Windows 98 machie running but you could still use the software you need.
How to start
After you have installed Virtual machine, you create a virtual hard drive for the guest OS you wnat and set up the support you need, for example, DVDROM access or Netwrok access. Save the virtual HD and then start it up. It will look like a brand new PC starting. Next install your operating system, the same way you do on a PC and once it is done you can run the OS at the same time.
Sound confusing.. well really it is not and newer hardware is being built that supports Virtualization right into it (new Intel Processors). My suggestion is to try Virtual PC for yourself and see if it could help you. I have used it for demos in the past and have virtualized servers and workstations to demonstrate how a proposed netwrok will operate for a client. The biggest restriction is the hardware support and ensuring that you have enough Ram to run the guests.
Contact Sysguy if you require any information or want some help in setting up Virtual PC on your systems