Being a simple computer user or a web developer, you need to play with your computer several times. But making experiments with your computer may cause a poor performance. In that case, having another instance would be better for experiment purpose only to keep your original OS fresh and clean. It is possible to keep different operating systems into one computer but switching between them is a tedious job. But with virtualization, you can clone your existing operating system into a virtual machines.
Virtualization is a simple and interesting technology that allows you run multiple Operating Systems on the same computer (you might also like to read how to Change Default Operating System in Windows Boot Menu). Let’s say that you are running Windows XP on your computer. But you can run multiple Operating systems like Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mandriva Linux into the virtual machine just like other Windows applications.
There are several applications like Windows Virtual PC, Virtual Box, VMware Workstation which creates a virtual machine within your current operating system. Every application has their own method to create the virtual environment and to install several operating systems into that. But what I’ll discuss in this article is that you can create an exact copy of your existing operating system and use it into your favorite virtualization software.
Installing Virtual Machine into Windows
What need to do at first is to create a virtual environment at your running operating system (Windows). You can download and install from anyone of these: Windows Virtual PC, Virtual Box, VMware Workstation. Once you’re done follow the next step to prepare the virtual copy of your current operating system
Clone Your Current Operating System for Virtual Machines
By cloning your existing operating system you can reuse it into your virtual machines as same as you do at your current one. You don’t need to re-install your favorite applications.
Here is how to create a copy of your current operating system to use it into the virtual machine.
Turn your Existing Computer into Virtual Machine
Once, the process of converting an existing hard drive into a virtual hard drive was an expensive task. But now, there is a free and simple utility released by Microsoft to clone an existing operating system for Virtual Machine.
A tiny utility Disk2vhd, developed by the Microsoft engineers, allows your convert an existing drive to the virtual hard drive (VHD). You can download it from here. This software does not even need any installation. Just extract the zipped file and double click on the executive file to get started with it.
Cloning Hard Drive Using Disk2VHD
After double-clicking on the exe file, it immediately shows all the drives from your computer which can be converted into VHD. Select the drive you wish and then click on “Create”. It will start converting your drive in a VHD file, even if it is being used by any other applications.
Once completed, you can run it into any free desktop applications like Windows Virtual Machine,Virtual Box or VMware Workstation. If you are running with Windows 7 then you can also mount the converted file as a hard drive (read how to mount any folder as virtual drive).
The proper utilization of Disk2vhd has filled the expectation and reduced the complexity and time of virtualization. You can enjoy the benefits of virtualization with this tool.
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