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VMware Player enables the creation and implementation of virtual machines on Windows and Linux.
Virtual machine is a program that is able to simulate a computer within a computer. For example, if our computer has 4 cores processor and 8 Gigabytes of RAM, we can create a “virtual computer” that make use of 1-core processor and 2 Gigabytes of RAM. In this “virtual computer” we will be able to install an operating system such as Windows, Linux or Mac. This allow us to use several operating systems on the same PC.
VMware Player enables us to create virtual machines quickly and easily.
In the virtual machine creation process, we can choose the Operating System that we're going to install on the machine. We can choose between Windows (Windows XP, Windows Server, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, etc), Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, SUSE, CentOS, Fedora, and more), Novell NetWare, Solaris and Others (MS-DOS, FreeBSD, and more).
Created virtual machine is stored in directories and files on the hard disk, so we need to indicate the location where we want to store such files. Also we must select the space required by the virtual machine.
Depends on the Operating System that we intend to install, the space required may vary from 2 Gigabytes to 60 Gigabytes. We can choose to reserve space on the hard disk to store virtual machine files, or choose the option in which the virtual machine will increase the used space. If for example we are going to install Windows 8, the recommended space is 60 Gigabytes.
If we choose the option to reserve disk space (single file), the program will create a 60Gb file, which will be used to store the virtual machine.
If we select the option to create multiple files, the program reserves the minimum space required to run the virtual machine, and when the virtual machine disk starts to fill up, the program will create more files until it reach the 60 Gb limit. This option optimize better the hard disk space, but it makes the virtual machine to be slightly slower.
When creating the virtual machine, we need to allocate hardware resources that will be used in that machine. To do this, we can choose: memory amount, number of processors, CD/DVD drive(s), network adapter, sound card, USB driver, printer, monitors, etc. It is convenient to choose the number of processors and amount of memory, in such a way that it does not interfere with the use of the host computer. The program indicates the amount of recommended memory for the virtual machine to work properly and do not overload host computer.
We can make Operating System installation in the virtual machine by using CD/DVD, or a .iso file that is stored on the hard disk. Operating System installation will start automatically when booting for the first time the virtual machine.
In addition to creating new virtual machines, we can load other virtual machines that we have downloaded from the Internet. For example, there are downloads that include Linux operating systems (Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, etc) virtual machine ready-to-use. This is very useful if we want to avoid the installation of the operating system, because we just need to unzip the package, and open the files in VMware Player, and we will have the operating system ready to be used.
When we are making use of the virtual machine, we will be able to copy files easily between the virtual machine and the host computer, by dragging them from one machine to the other. We can also make use of shared clipboard, so that the text that we copy (Control+C) on a machine, we will be able to paste it in the other, and vice versa.
The program is updated frequently, so it is advisable to check the option “check for updates”.
The use of the program is free for non-commercial use. If we want to make commercial use, we have to purchase “Plus” version of the software.