What Is A Virtual Drive?
A Virtual Drive (VD), sometimes called a Virtual Machine (VM), serves the same purpose as a hard drive on your computer. It is used for storing everything from files to complete operating systems.
VDs behave like your physical drive but are created by using a virtualization manager like Oracle’s VM VirtualBox or by Windows’ Hyper-V Manager.
Both managers can create a VD on your “Host” system where you can install and run a “virtual” system. The virtual system can be another version of Windows, Linux, Apple, Android, and many others using VirtualBox.
Reasons For Using A VM
- If you have favorite software that is incompatible or has become outdated with the release of a newer version of Windows, you can install it on an older version in a VD
- Use it like a Sandbox. If you like to experiment with downloading questionable software or visiting potentially dangerous websites that could hurt your existing OS, the VD cannot infect the host system
- Try different OSs. If you want to try completely different operating systems or run the version of Windows you feel comfortable with, you can do so in a VD
- If you like using volatile beta systems like Windows Insider, you don’t have to worry about it hurting your regular system
Unfortunately, it is not all rainbows and roses. There are some drawbacks that can prevent you from running a host exactly like your primary system.
- The PC HD space. The physical space for a VM is not large but every virtual system installed will take up additional space. You will need space for configuration files, logs, and a Swap File for each virtual system
- VMs allocate VM memory and if you are already using the bare minimum to operate your system a VM might not work correctly
- Software keys and activation. Generally, if the OS you are installing requires an activation key, it will be required in the virtual system. This generally applies to Windows. Most Linux systems do not require activation
- One exception is the Windows Insider Preview. It can be loaded in Hyper V Manager with a built-in activation for 90 days
Virtual Box has a long and successful history. It is the only VM that will work with the “Home” version of Windows. It is a third-party software solution and operates on what is called a Type 2 Hypervisor.
Hyper-V Manager is a Type 1 Hypervisor that runs directly on the host machine’s hardware. This makes it faster because it does not need to load additional software, but you will require a Pro, Enterprise, or Education version.
This is the 1st of a 5-part series.
- Understanding a Virtual Drive ⬅ You are here
- Installing Oracle’s VirtualBox
- Installing Hyper-V Manager
- Installing a Linux Distro
- Using Quick Create In Hyper-V Manager