Virtual PC, Free

Need to run the occasional Windows 3.1 application, or yearn to play your favorite Windows 95 game every once in a while? You can do both, on your Windows XP machine, using Microsoft's free version of Virtual PC.

Virtualization is a concept that has been around for a long, long time. IBM was using it on its mainframe VM and MVS operating systems decades ago. But it’s only fairly recently that it’s taken off seriously in the PC world.

Conceptually, virtualization means to run an operating system on a PC or a server in such a way as to seem to the O/S or its users that it’s the ONLY thing running, whereas in fact it is sharing the machine with one or more other operating systems, all of them running on top of the operating system that the machine is actually booted up with. Each such “virtual” operating system has its own inviolable memory space and allocation of hard storage space, none of them can touch the resources belonging to another virtual operating system.

This is where Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 comes in. Microsoft is not the only or even the first manufacturer of virtualization software but it surely is the biggest and ought to be able to guarantee that its own OSes will run properly under virtualization! MSVPC2004 will run on both server and stand-alone PCs. It supports ALL Microsoft operating systems – from MS/DOS 6.2.2 through Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/NT 4.0; it will also run OS/2 Warp 4. Hardware requirements range from 50mb disk and 32mb memory for DOS to 2gb and 128mb for XP. MSVPC2004 is free – this having changed only recently.

Microsoft PC Virtualization 2004

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