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Platinum Edition Using® Microsoft® Windows® XP by Brian Knittel, Robert Cowart

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The Virtual Machine Approach

If you need access to multiple operating systems primarily for testing purposes, rather than for long periods of work, there's a way to enjoy the use of multiple operating systems like any of the hassle of multi-boot setups. In fact, you can even use multiple operating systems simultaneously on the same computer. It's done with a setup called a virtual machine. It's an old concept (IBM used it on its mainframes back in the 1970s) that's making a big comeback thanks to today's fast processors and huge hard disks.

A virtual machine program emulates (simulates) in software all of the hardware functions of a PC. It lets an entire operating system (called a guest operating system) run as an ordinary application program ...

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