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How to Test Software with Virtual Machines

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If you are anxious about the idea of trying out some new software because it may infect your PC with a virus or malware you may want to consider trialling the software out on another machine. The obvious problem here is when you don't have another machine available. The way round this problem is to install a virtual machine on your main system. This is basically a way to run another operating system on the main machine. This runs independently and therefore can be considered to be another computer albeit a simulated version.
What you'll need: 
Virtual Box Software
Download Virtual Box. Virtual Box is software which allows you to setup and install a complete operating system in its own environment.
Study the documentation provided by Virtual Box. This will will describe how to setup and configure the virtual machine so that an operating system can be installed on it.
Assign memory and disk space to the virtual machine via the instructions provided. As much or as little memory and disk space can be allocated up to the maximum limits available. The limits will be constrained to the maximum available space available from the disk space allocated and the memory available on the virtual machine.
Install an operating system on the virtual machine. The operating system installed must be compatible with the software you wish to test. Therefore if the software to test is Windows software you will probably need to install a Windows XP, Windows Vista or a Windows 7 operating system.
Install the software to be tested on the virtual operating system.
Test the software on the virtual machine. This will give you an insight into how well or how risky the software is likely to be if installed on a main computer.
Uninstall the software you have just tested when you have finished with it. The virtual machine can be left for future testing or used for other purposes if required.
Do not assign nearly all the memory and disk space from the main machine on the virtual machine. It will make your main machine grind to a halt!


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