Virtual Machines are so far the best way to make experiments on our computer, such as installing new software, without any risk to compromise the main OS. One of the best virtualization software out there is VMware Player, which is free for personal use (for commercial use there is the “Plus” version which costs £ 75.95).
How can we use this software and in which way it can be useful? First of all, we need to download it (it is available both for Windows and Linux). Currently the latest version is 6.0.1. Once the download has been finished and the software has been installed, is possible to launch the program and create a New Virtual Machine.
The system will ask for a media source to proceed with the installation. We can provide a CD, a DVD or an ISO image. In few steps the process is completed and we have at our entire disposal a brand new virtual machine for tests or just to try out new OS (i.e. the latest Ubuntu release or a new Linux distro we never tried before).
During installation the process will ask how many space we want to reserve for the virtual machines. It depends what we need the virtual machine for. If it’s just to try it, do not go over 30Gb, otherwise we can reserve more space.
VMware Player behaves like a physical pc, then we can proceed with software installation, surfing the internet and so on. Please be aware that, as it’s a virtual OS, it can be a bit more limited than real OS, so probably more heavier operations won’t perform so good than they would do on a real PC.