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. This virtual system BIOS will be a generic VMWare BIOS and will be unrelated to the actual system BIOS of your system.
Legacy Windows OS
On modern hardware its pretty much impossible to install Windows 98SE as all the hardware on the market today is significantly newer than the drivers available for Windows 98SE and because Windows 98SE was made obsolete a long time ago so 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 98SE install. XP is going the same way.
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 ontop of the host Windows 10 OS. 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 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.
Download Links, Creating Installation Media and Introduction
With the VM comes the Virtual BIOS and although physical drives such as a floppy drive and an optical drive can be used to begin the installation or launch a program within the legacy OS newer computers are shipping without these drives. It is therefore useful to convert CD/DVDs to read only .iso and Floppy Disks to read only .flp formats on a computer which has the drives. VMWare can then utilise these virtual formats. VMWare can also connect to hardware via USB, Serial Port and Parallel Ports. VMWare tools allows for the installation of most of the VMs system drivers and also allows drag and drop between the VM and host:
- Creating a .iso Image from a CD/DVD and Creating a .flp Image from a Floppy Disk. Connecting to Hardware and Changing BIOS Settings
- Windows 10 TH2 Pro (Free 10130 Unofficial Upgrade Path)
- Windows 7 (Retail/Enterprise)
- Windows XP (Retail/Enterprise)
- Windows 98SE (Retail)
- Ubuntu (Free)
- Mint (Free) – Guide not written yet
- Fedora (Free) – Guide not written yet