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VMWare Fusion and Parallels are the most utilized applications for virtualization. However, they can be costly.
Enter Oracle’s VirtualBox. This free tool gives you the same flexibility and features of VMWare Fusion and Parallels, but without the price tag. In this how-to, we’ll show you how to set up and install a guest operating system inside of VirtualBox.
What is a virtual machine? If you are new to the virtualization computing space, a virtual machine is basically software that runs on top of another operating system (in this case, Mac OS X) that imitates actual, physical hardware that the guest operating system runs on. When you install a guest operating system in a virtual machine, that OS is not actually installed on your physical computer; rather, the OS lives in its own virtual environment. Virtual machines are the newest, easiest, and safest way to run multiple operating systems on your one computer. There’s no need to partition your hard drive, use BootCamp, or risk messing up your current Mac OS X configuration.
To begin, you’ll need to download and install the latest version of VirtualBox from Oracle’s VirtualBox website. Once you do that, follow our step-by-step gallery below to get on your way to multiple-operating system happiness.