Virtual Machines – Lots of browsers, lots of operating systems

April 13, 2009

When you’re trying to test your website with many different web browsers, you often run into problems. In particular, Windows really isn’t designed to have multiple versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) installed at the same time. You could setup multiple platforms and maybe use a KVM to save space, but most of us don’t have the room for all that equipment just sitting around all the time.

As we mentioned in a previous post, a good solution to the issue is to setup multiple “virtual machines” (VMs) on your computer. Each VM has it’s own operating system and storage so you can install a version of Internet Explorer in each virtual machine. We also have previously discussed how you use VMs to learn how to use Linux and try out the various distributions (distros). Many of the distros already have pre-rolled VMs available (via VMware’s site or various image sites like this one for Virtual Box), but sometimes there’s that one distro you want to try without a VM. What do you do? Easy – roll your own.

Rather than going into the details of setting up your own VM, however, Lifehacker has a great article on how to setup, configure and install operating systems into a virtual machine using Virtual Box. Give it a read – it’s a very well done article!

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