Many people believe they have no choice but to use a single operating system on their computer, usually the OS pre-installed in their PC or an upgrade. However, virtualization is a handy piece of technology that permits multiple operating systems to run on a single computer. Simply put, if you are running Windows 7, you can run Windows 8 and Linux on the same PC as Windows applications by creating virtual machines. All you have to do is install a virtualization application. Virtual Box, VMware Workstation and Windows Virtual PC are among the most popular. Once the application is installed, you add the operating systems, set-up the programs you want access to and set your system preferences. Unfortunately, all of these virtual applications require you go through the entire set-up from scratch. In short, the process is time-consuming, often expensive and a little overwhelming, especially for those who are not technically inclined.
There is good news on the virtualization front. Microsoft’s Sysinternals team developed an intuitive utility that makes turning your computer into a virtual machine a breeze. Disk2vhd uses a process, known as migration, which allows you to migrate your PC into a virtual hard drive or VHD. In other words, you can use your current system with your favorite programs and create a virtual machine without all the hassle and cost formally associated with virtualization. In fact, Disk2vhd works beautifully with any virtualization program, including VMware Player, Windows Virtual PC, and Virtual Box. More importantly, you do not have to be technically inclined or have a degree in computer software to convert your computer into a virtual hard drive running multiple operating systems. Perhaps the best part of Disk2vhd is the utility is small, does not require installation and is free.
The Ease of Disk2vhd
Disk2vhd uses an interface to display all the drives and partitions on your PC the utility can migrate to a virtual machine. All you need to do is decide which drive you want to turn into a VHD and select “Create.” From there, Disk2vhd converts the selected drive into a virtual hard drive whether that particular drive is in use at the moment or not. Once you have created your virtual hard drive file, you can run it in Virtual Box, VMware Player, Windows Virtual PC or any virtual program you have installed. Windows 7 Ultimate users are even able to boot the virtual hard drive if you so chose. That quickly and easily you have created a virtual machine out of your Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or higher operating system. Disk2vhd even works with x64 systems.
Uses for a Virtual Machine
The question is why you would want to convert your PC into a virtual machine. The reality of technology is computers advance faster than most people can keep up with, the next upgrade always right around the corner. The problem with upgrading is the tedious process of transferring and reinstalling files from your old OS. However, if you convert your PC into a virtual machine you can simply run the old OS right alongside the upgrade, eliminating the need to transfer or reinstall anything. Better yet as your favorite programs are already set up, you do not have to take the time to set your preferences. An additional bonus is you can use virtualization to back up those important files, preventing data loss because of system failure. Disk2vhd is a convenient utility that makes virtualization a snap, putting an end to the complexities of turning your PC into a virtual machine.
Victor Daily is a tech blogger with years of experience in sharing useful tips and fresh news with his readers. He currently writes for Ninefold Linux VPS from Australia.