Ok, so I’m a bit slow and stupid (it ain’t my genes; I seemed to spend most my childhood out cold Evel Knievel style doing what is in hindsight silly stunts). But late discovery or not, virtualization has come as a boon to me. It lets me begin testing software and services for this column without causing my computer to suffer a bad case of the terminal slows.
On Windows XP (or Vista), use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1. This really neat PC emulator can run just about every released consumer flavor of 16-, 32- and 64-bit Windows beginning with Windows95 (do you really have an installer for that one?). If you want to run vitrual servers you’ll need the Virtual Server 2005 SP1 edition.
Download Virtual PC then install it (because having a copy sitting around uninstalled doesn’t do you any good). Next follow the application wizards to setup each virtual machine. Make sure to set the Machines in a different drive from your computers Windows boot drive. This helps keep the two processes separate.
For each new virtual machine added you’ll need to install a separate copy of Windows. or you can a pre-defined Virtual Machine. Before you download check the download notes to make sure the copy hasn’t timed out.
Why dont you begin you Virtual PC experience by Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 Beta for a test drive?