How to Create Virtual Machine

A virtual machine is a fake computer that can run an operating system that is different or the same as the one installed on the real computer. This is a solution that is particularly useful and convenient especially for two reasons: first because it allows you to have another operating system available without having to intervene with a multi-boot and then everything that happens inside the virtual machine has no repercussions outside it.

To do this, I anticipate it, you must turn to some special software. They are not difficult to use, do not be afraid. Anyone, even the less experienced in computer science and new technologies, can exploit them without the slightest problem.

Preliminary information

Before getting to the heart of the guide, going to explain how to create a virtual machine, there is some preliminary information about it that you need to know. To begin with, keep in mind that, as I said at the beginning, to create a virtual machine (VM) you need to turn to virtualization software, specially designed for this purpose.

The components of the virtual machine (CPU, RAM, disk, etc.), are files, created and destroyed according to the needs of the program that manages the VM itself, so all changes made to the virtual machine do not affect the real machine. Once the virtual machine has been created, the operating system must then be installed in it (the one installed on the “real” computer is called host, while the one installed on the VM is called guest).

As for the license, especially that of Windows, you must get it just like when you decide to install the operating system to run it “natively” on a PC. But I’ll reveal a “trick”: turning to sites other than  the official Microsoft, you can save considerably and buy the Windows license for a few tens of euros.

For example, the site Mr Key Shop, managed by a company with offices in Italy and England, allows you to buy100% genuine licenses for Windows at prices significantly lower than the list prices. This is possible because Mr Key Shop buys and resells the original unused licenses of companies that have switched to the cloud or subscription services (in full compliance with the European Regulations on the subject).

The licenses in question are delivered directly by email in a few minutes and the purchase can be made with secure payment methods, such as PayPal, card or Amazon Pay.

But how does the process of buying a license work? Very simple: connect to the Mr Key Shop page dedicated  to Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7, choose the edition of the operating system you prefer the most and add it to your cart. Next, choose whether  to continue with the purchases (I point out that Office packages and some excellent antivirus are also available  at affordable prices) or whether to go directly to the checkout. Once the purchases are complete, choose whether to make the transaction as a guest or by registering an account and you are done.

To install an operating system on the virtual machine you obviously must find it, just as if you had to install it on a “real” PC. You can then use the installation diskette, but if you do not have it, you can use the ISO image or you can create an installation media yourself using it.

As for macOS, unfortunately there are no official downloads made available by Apple to install this operating system on machines other than those offered for sale by the manufacturer (installing macOS on computers other than Apple violates the conditions of use of the operating system).

If, on the other hand, you are interested in Linux, you can retrieve the Ubuntu ISO by visiting  this website.

How to create virtual machine on Windows 10

If you want to find out how to create virtual machine on Windows 10, Windows 11  or other versions of the Microsoft operating system, you will find below the programs to use to do so and the instructions you must follow.

How to create virtual machine with VirtualBox

To begin with, let us find out how to create virtual machine with VirtualBox. It is a freely distributed program and open source in nature. It is quite simple to use and allows you to virtualize both Windows and other operating systems.

To use VirtualBox, go to its website and download the program to your computer by clicking on the Windows hosts link.

When the download is complete, launch the VirtualBox-[version]-Win.exe file obtained and, in the window that opens on the desktop, click first on the Next button (for three consecutive times) and then on those Yes, Install and Yes. Next, click on the Install button to install all the drivers necessary for the operation of the program and on the Finish button to complete the setup.

Now, wait for the program window to appear on the desktop (if it does not happen, start VirtualBox by selecting the shortcut in the Start menu), then start creating the virtual machine by clicking on the new button in the top bar.

In the further window that will open, indicate a name of your choice for the new virtual machine you are about to create and select the operating system and its version from the drop-down menus that you find in the fields below.

Then click the Next button and configure the following screens with the hardware parameters to be assigned to the virtual machine. Then indicate the amount of RAM memory to be allocated, avoiding falling beyond the recommended threshold and click the Next button to continue.

On the Hard Disk screen, you must instead create a virtual partition that hosts the operating system. So, select Create a new virtual hard disk now, click the Create button and keep the VDI box active, to use the disk image only with VirtualBox. If in the future you think that you could use other programs, you can create a disk partition in the other two formats you see, which are compatible with other virtualization software. Then click the Next button to continue.

On the next screen, decide how much space the virtual partition should occupy: you can choose between Dynamically Allocated or Specified Size. I suggest you select the first option and then click on the Next button.

Now decide the name of the virtual hard disk and the maximum amount of virtual space it can contain and confirm all these operations by clicking the Create button.

To proceed with the installation of the operating system on the virtual machine, then insert the physical media with the files of the operating system you want to install or select the relative ISO file, then press  the Start button and follow the  procedure for the setup that is proposed to you, which is identical to the one you must follow when installing the operating system on a “real” computer.

Once the setup is complete, you will find yourself in front of the OS desktop. When you want, you can stop using the virtual machine simply by closing the window, while to start it again just double-click on it in the list on the VirtualBox screen.

Also keep in mind that to use all the integration functions between real system and virtual machine and to avoid problems displaying the desktop you must install the Guest Additions of VirtualBox. To do this, call up the appropriate item from the Devices menu of the program and choose to autorun the virtual disk that will be mounted in the virtual machine.

How to create virtual machine with VMware

You can also choose to create virtual machines with VMware. It is another renowned software for creating and managing virtual machines. It is a bit more complex than the solution already proposed, but it is still exceptionally good. It allows you to virtualize Windows and various other operating systems. It is free (for personal use), but it is also in a paid version that costs $199 and offers more features.

To download VMWare Workstation Player  (which is the free version of the software) on your PC, go  to the program’s website and click on the Free Download button, then select  the Go to downloads link next  to  VMware Workstation [version] Player and click on  the Download now button  on the next page.

When the download is complete, open  the VMware-player-[version].exe file and, in the  window that appears  on the desktop, click on the Next button, select the item I accept the terms in the License Agreement and click again on the Next button  (four times in a row). Finally, press the Install and Finish buttons.

At this point, start the program by double-clicking on the appropriate shortcut that has been added to the Start menu and, once the VMware Workstation Player window appears on the desktop, select the option Use VMware Workstation Player for free for non-commercial use and press on the Continue and Finish buttons.

In the further window that opens, select the Create a New Virtual Machine link located on the right to start creating a new virtual machine. Then decide whether to download the operating system you want to install on the virtual machine from the installation diskette by selecting the Installer disc item or using ISO file by clicking on the words Installer disc image file and press the Next button, then provide the relative support.

If prompted, then provide the product key of the operating system, type the name of the user account to be created and its password and press the Next button.

Then indicate the name you want to assign to the virtual machine in the Virtual machine name field, the location where to save the relative file through the Location section and click again on the Next button.

After completing the steps above, specify the space that the virtual machine disk will occupy and its type and press the Finish and Yes buttons. Then follow the operating system configuration procedure that is proposed to you, advancing in a similar way to how you would on a “physical” computer.

Later, you will find yourself in front of the OS desktop and you can start using it without problems. When no longer needed, you can stop using the virtual machine by closing the window, while to start it later, double-click the name in the list attached to the main screen of the software.

How to create virtual machine on Mac

Let us move on, now, to the macOS world and let us find out how to create virtual machine on Mac. You will find indicated which software are for the purpose and how to exploit them right below.

But be careful: at the present time, on Macs equipped with Apple Silicon chips (e.g. M1) there may be problems virtualizing Windows systems. In fact, it is necessary to obtain versions of the aforementioned operating system capable of “running” on the ARM platform.

How to create virtual machine with VirtualBox

Since VirtualBox is a cross-platform solution, you can use it to create a virtual machine even on macOS. The operation of the software on Apple computers is like that on Windows PCs, the only thing that differs is the installation procedure.

So, to be able to use VirtualBox on your Mac, first connect to  the program’s website, then select the OS X hosts link.

When the download is complete, open the VirtualBox-[version]-OSX.dmg package obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, double-click on the icon of the VirtualBox.pkg file, to start the installation procedure.

Next, click the Allow button (if prompted), then the Continue and Install buttons, after which type your Mac admin password, click the Install Software button, and wait for the process to complete.

Now, to make VirtualBox work properly, you need to authorize system extensions added to macOS. Then, click on the Open Security Preferences button in the window opens to access the Security and Privacy section of macOS System Preferences, click on the lock symbol located at the bottom left, type the Mac password, and press the Enter key on the keyboard.

Then, press the Allow button next to the developer’s system software unlock notice “Oracle America, Inc.” and restart your computer by pressing the button that is shown to you.

How to create virtual machine with Parallels

On Apple-branded computers, you can also create a virtual machine with Parallels. It is a commercial virtualization software specific to macOS that integrates perfectly with the operating system in question and has full support for Windows on Apple Silicon chips. It costs 99.99 euros, but eventually you can opt for an annual subscription at a cost of 79.99 euros that allows you to always have the most up-to-date version of the software. Note that it can also be tried free for 14 days.

To download the trial version of Parallels on your Mac, visit  the program’s website, click the  Download Free Trial button,  and then  click the Download Now button.

When the download is complete, open the Install Parallels Desktop package.dmg obtained and, in the window shown on your desktop, double-click the Parallels Desktop icon to start the setup procedure.

In the additional screen that appears to you, click the Accept button, enter the password of the user account, press the OK button, and wait for Parallels to be installed on your computer. If you want to avoid sending anonymous statistics regarding the use of the software, before starting the installation remove the check from the appropriate box.

When starting Parallels, to create a virtual machine  click on the Skip button  and, in the new window that appears, click  on the Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file option, then click on  the Next button at the  bottom right, drag the reference image file into the program window or select it manually by pressing first on the Select a file link or, again, press the Find automatically button  to start autodiscover.

Next, click on the Next button, type any operating system license key in the appropriate field and press the Next button again. Then specify if you intend to use the virtual machine for production or to play, click again on the Next button, indicate the name you want to assign to the virtual machine and the path, choose whether to create a shortcut on the desktop and press the Create button.

Proceeding as I have just indicated; the default parameters will be used to adjust the virtual machine settings. If you think it is appropriate to customize them, before creating the virtual machine select the appropriate option and use the items and menus that you find in the window that is shown to you to make the necessary changes.

Once all the above steps have been completed, the operating system installation procedure will start, which is the same as when installing the OS on a physical PC.

When the process is complete, you will be shown the desktop and you can use the operating system. When necessary, you can stop using the virtual machine by closing the virtual machine window above, and to start it again, click on its preview in the Parallels Control Center.