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On my desktop (Windows 7), I'd like to set up a few instances of Windows Server 2008 to run various platforms that I'm dealing with at work such as SharePoint, BizTalk, CRM, and so forth.

I've tried the built in offering, Windows Virtual PC, and that does OK but it seems like it takes a very long time to start up. Considering these are development VMs that I'll be starting and stopping regularly, that is kind of important. I'd also like the flexibility to create a base Windows Server 2008 VM that I can copy to quickly stand up new development VMs.

Considering those two features, does anyone have any suggestions from free offerings I should look into?

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4 Answers 4

Have you tried VirtualBox? I use it daily (Mac OSX host, running Windows 7 guest VM), and find it to be quite good.

Regarding your long startup times, I'd doubt that any specific virtualization software will provide any significant startup time decreases for you, as that's largely dependent on disk IO. One thing you could do to help startup times would be to keep your VMs on an good-quality SSD.

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Also , you can try VMware Player. –  Ganesh R. Nov 13 '10 at 21:22

I tried several, and sticked with VMWare Player. Simply the best, most complete, without bugs, problems, etc...

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Software without bugs. Now that's funny. –  EEAA Nov 13 '10 at 22:31
OK, you've got me there :). What I wanted to say was that in comparison to others, it has fewer bugs. –  Marco Clérigo - GRIFIN.pt Nov 13 '10 at 22:35

Both VMWare Player and VirtualBox are good candidates, see what you like most and what works best and use that.

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VirtualBox has some stability issues and VMWare player is great for playing pre-configured virtual machines, but you can't create VMs with it. Another possibility is the free VMWare Server product, as long as you have a server to act as the host operating system (it can run on Linux or Windows servers as hosts). http://www.vmware.com/products/server/

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AFAIK, you can create Virtual MAchines with the latest VMware player. –  Ganesh R. Nov 14 '10 at 23:44
Ganesh, you are correct. The current version of VMWare player does allow you to create VMs. Thanks for the correction. –  Don R. Crawley Dec 27 '10 at 15:12

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