Downloading Virtual Machines from Microsoft
Microsoft have made a number of Virtual Machines available to download with different versions of Internet Explorer. These Virtual Machines are designed for testing and will expire after 90 days:
VMware Workstation Player
Advantages of Virtual Machines
Schematically the advantages of virtualisation can be shown. VMware Player is a program which emulates hardware with a system BIOS suitable for the OS being installed in question. You can use such a utility to install Windows or Linux without interrupting your host Operating System or partitions on your hard drives etc. This virtual system BIOS will be a generic VMware BIOS and will be unrelated to the actual system BIOS of your system. The Virtual Machine will essentially result in an entire OS being a single Window within your Host OS. See below:
On modern hardware its pretty much impossible to install Windows XP as all the hardware on the market today is significantly newer than the drivers available for Windows XP and because Windows XP was made obsolete such a long time ago no new drivers will ever be made. VMWare player on the other hand emulates hardware with a system BIOS which is friendly for a Windows XP install.
Virtualisation therefore allows one to install legacy Windows OS and within these legacy Windows OS one may install the legacy programs and continue to use them on their modern computer. With VMware tools the screen size will automatically readjust to the size of the Window and drag and drop is supported between the VM and the host.
VMware is my preferred program for virtualisation because of its ability to connect to legacy hardware via USB devices and Serial Ports. This makes it the best VM solution if you need a legacy OS to control legacy but specialised hardware such as a very old scientific instrument.
Most computers that are 2012 or later should have plenty enough power to handle virtualisation on top of the host Windows 10 OS the exception being low end tablets. Higher end models from 2010-2011 should also be sufficient.
If one wants to test out the Windows 10 Insider Preview or also to install Linux without compromising their base Windows installation then Virtualisation is also the best way to go. If any problems are encountered the VM can simply be deleted and a new VM made without affecting any of your files, programs or settings on your Host PC.
Converting CD/DVDs into ISO Images and Floppy Disks into FLP Images
- Creating a ISO Image from a CD/DVD and Creating a .flp Image from a Floppy Disk. Connecting to Hardware and Changing BIOS Settings
- Creating a ISO Image from a DVD using ImgBurn
Use WinImage for CDs and Floppy Drives. I think the free version has an upper size limit so use ImgBurn for DVDs.
For notes on installing Windows 7 Pro on a VM using Downgrade Rights see here:
- Downgrade Rights to Windows 7 Pro in a Virtual Machine
- Converting a Physical Windows 7 Pro Machine Into a Windows 7 Pro Virtual machine using Windows 10 Pro Downgrade Rights
- Downgrade Rights to XP Pro from Windows 10 Pro Using a Virtual Machine
- Convert a Windows XP Pro OEM Physical Machine into a Windows XP Pro Virtual Machine (Host PC Windows 10 Pro OEM Downgrade Rights)
These guides are mainly for those who want to try Linux to see what its like. In general I recommend playing/testing Linux in a VM opposed to playing with partitions on your hard drive and accidentally losing your Windows Install:
- Ubuntu (Free) – Old Version of Ubuntu
- Mint (Free) – Guide not written yet
- Fedora (Free) – Guide not written yet