Virtual Machine?

Tony Baechler tony at
Sat Mar 29 14:03:24 UTC 2008

Rob Harris wrote:
> How effective and how accessible is running Windows(I prefer 2k so far) in a
> VM.  I haven't got a modern version of linux so would like recommendations
> on that too.    I hear and believe this thing with VMs is a growing trend -
> Mac, Linux and even Vista have one...   for the moment.


If you're on Windows XP Pro or better, try Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.  
Other options are VMWare, Qemu, Bochs and VirtualBox.  On the Mac, you 
can buy VMWare Fusion to run Windows but I found the VM completely 
inaccessible.  Setting up the software wasn't bad but VoiceOver was of 
no use at all within Windows as one might expect.  I didn't get a chance 
to install a Windows screen reader.  If you have the resources, VMs have 
great potential.  I would say that a minimum setup to run a VM 
effectively would be 2 GB of RAM, 250 GB of disk space and a very fast 
processor.  The reason for the large amount of disk is that you're 
creating a virtual image with a virtual hard drive.  If you want a 100 
GB virtual drive, that comes from your main hard drive plus overhead 
space for the host OS and VM software.

Another option if you're on Windows XP or better is VMWare Server which 
is free.  I was able to set up and install a Win98 VM with sighted 
help.  It was slow but it worked.  Beware that some versions of Vista 
don't allow installing to a VM in the license agreement.  For Linux, 
Qemu or Virtualbox have been recommended but I haven't tried them yet.  
I would say from my reading that VMWare is the best overall but it is 
not free software, even though VMWare Server is free of charge.

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