The solution then is to create a virtual machine for each version, and potentially unique variants of that version. In this article, we'll discuss how to:
- Create our 1st virtual machine
- Create an "appliance" out of that machine
- Create additional cloned machines from the appliance
We'll also discuss some of the typical settings, installing Guest Additions, licensing and activation topics, and the benefits and limitations of using virtual machines.
Our 1st Virtual Machine
After you've downloaded and installed VirtualBox from http://virtualbox.org, Locate your Microsoft operating system installation CD or restoration CD.
*NOTE* The scope of this article is limited to Windows operating systems. VirtualBox runs on various platforms, and accommodates various operating systems. Also note that Windows Product Keys come in the flavors of OEM and Retail. A new variant known as ULCPC (Ultra Low Cost PC) has been introduced for netbooks, and we were unable to get that to activate after we swapped the spinning hard drive with a solid state drive. This netbook did not come with a Windows installation CD (since it had no optical drive). It came with a Support DVD which had a ghost image and script to restore the original shipped configuration via an external optical drive. When we attempted to restore that ghost image, the procedure did not work. We opted for retiring another copy of XP and using for this machine, but the implication here is that restore CDs/DVDs provided by an OEM may or may not be a reliable mechanism for installing a version of Windows, and you may just have to purchase a copy. If you do attempt to use the restore CD, you should only attempt to install it on the original, unmodified hardware that it shipped with, unless you want to spend hours of experimentation and troubleshooting.
So let's assume you have a platform running Windows. locate that Windows installation CD and insert it into the drive. Don't install it, and exit any dialogs that prompt you to run it. Now Launch VirtualBox. Click "New" to launch a New Virtual Machine Wizard. Give the Machine a name, and select it's OS and Version.