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Useing multiple Operating systems at once? Answered

is it possible, with some sort of software, to use one computer as if it were two, with two different operating systems running on two separate screens, yet all the power coming from one cpu? Essentially I want ubuntu on one screen and XP on another. I was thinking of using userful and then parallels. but not sure. also, would a dual core processor suffice?


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Best Answer 11 years ago

Yes, using any of several "virtual machine" systems now available. Of course the operating system running in the virtual machine will execute a bit more slowly than it would if running unconstrained, but it does work.

How fast/how large a system is needed depends, as always, on how much you need to have executing at once. You will probably want to max out your RAM, given the overhead of cramming two systems into one box. If a multicore processor is available the virtual machines may execute their tasks across multiple cores (just like any native tasks), or may run all of them on a single core -- you'd have to check the specs for that particular VM.

I haven't used any of the specific VM packages yet, and I don't feel entirely comfortable recommending one purely on hearsay, so I'll leave that for someone else, and/or suggest you search the web for reviews.

But I do know folks who are successfully running WinXP under a VM under Linux on a dual-core laptop. as a way of bringing some of their Windows apps along until they can find replacements.  "If it happens, it must be possible."

Have fun...

(Another use of virtual machines is when debugging stuff that's likely to crash the machine. In a properly written VM system, the worst most applications can do is crash that one VM..)


11 years ago

You can only use one os on a cpu at a time.  Otherwise how would the cpu know how to allocate memory etc.

You might be able to run an os and then run virtual machines that run other os'es.  I don't know if you can run more than one virtual machine.  I'd have to do some research on that before I could answer.

But even that would just be running one controlling os controlling daughter os'es.