Virtualization is a term that is becoming very common nowadays. It means creating a virtual version of some hardware, operating systems or storage or network resources. Hence, virtualization software is getting very popular. They allow you to run two or more operating system on a single PC so that it feels like you are using two computers in one.
Virtualization software is also called hypervisor. They allow you to make most out of the available resources by allowing you to use much software that you wouldn’t be able to use otherwise. They also make the process of backing up your operating system as simple as backing up a small file. So if you are intrigued by this concept and wish to try it out, then read this list of free virtualization software that will surely help you out.
15 Best & Free virtualization Softwares:
VirtualBox is a best virtualization software by Oracle and is open source too. It is free of cost for personal use as well as for use by organizations. It backs all virtual machines using the Open Virtualization Format. It runs seamlessly on most platforms from Windows XP to the newer versions, Mac OS X and most of the Linux operating systems. It is the best virtualization software for running Linux on Windows systems. Download VirtualBox (All OS).
VirtualBox comes with an extension pack that can be installed for additional functionalities like USB device support, PXE booting capability for Intel NICs and remote desktop connection. It also has a Seamless Mode which allows you to run guest OS on your host OS very smoothly. The taskbar of the guest OS is displayed inside the host OS allowing you to fully interact with the virtual OS directly from your standard host OS. VirtualBox is easy to install and has a large number of features in addition to the ones mentioned here like the feature that allowing you to resize the guest operating system screen according to the VirtualBox Window.
2. VMWare Server
VMWare Server is a free virtualization software for the Windows operating system. It supports USB devices and also different network interfaces like NAT, host-only and bridged interfaces. It can run almost all operating systems as a guest or a host bu the problem is that it a 64-bit guest OS cannot be installed on a 32-bit host OS. Download VMWare Server.
VMWare software development and maintenance has been discontinued but still, it is totally free for downloading and usage. It is a cross-platform application designed as a demonstrator for the higher and more expensive ESX. It has an administrative tools package which can be easily installed from the file menu and helps in hassle-free communication between the guest and host operating systems. VMWare Server has 2 versions – 1.x.x which runs on the local console and 2.x.x which runs on the web console.
3. Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 is the old version of the Windows Virtual PC. It is designed to allow Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems to run other virtual operating systems seamlessly on their system. It is also a free virtualization software and is quite fast if you are installing a virtual Windows OS on a host Windows OS. Download Virtual PC 2007.
Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 can be run on any platforms running Windows XP or the latest version. This is a perfect virtualization software for those who wish to run Windows XP on Windows 7 but does not have the appropriate processor with hardware virtualization. Though it is quite up to standard, it has some limitations like the fact that it does not support external USB devices. It is not possible to save multiple snapshots of the virtual machine using this software.
4. Windows Virtual PC
Windows Virtual PC is the best virtualization software for old Windows operating system. It can be run on all versions of Windows 7. But the users will have to create their own virtual machines from an old Windows installation or from a Windows installation disk. The programs installed in the virtual OS will appear in the start menu of the host OS and it is possible to set them as a default software for some particular file. Download Windows Virtual PC.
For this virtualization software to run on your system, your system must support hardware virtualization. It also supports USB devices connected to the host system even though they are not recognized by the host system. Windows Virtual PC has got 3 versions – Virtual PC 2004, Virtual PC 2007 and Windows Virtual PC. It is designed for people who exclusively use Windows.
5. VMWare Player 3.0
VMWare Player 3.0 is a complete solution for virtualization and allows the user to run, manage and create virtual machines. It was initially launched in 2005 and is completely free as well. It also supports all virtual machines from VMWare products like Windows Virtual PC and Virtual Server. It also supports Symantec backup and recovery images. Download VMWare Player 3.0.
VMWare Player 3.0 supports most of the Linux platforms and Windows XP and newer versions. It also offers support for 64-bit guests and provides fully integrated support for Windows and Linux guests. Though the installation is relatively straightforward and quick, the usage is pretty complex but the compatibleness between guest and host operating systems are seamless and only has negligible speed issues. It also supports all USB devices, parallel and serial port devices connected to the system.
6. Microsoft Hyper-V
Microsoft Hyper-V comes after the Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsft Virtual Server and is another free virtualization software. It powers Microsoft’s own Azure Cloud and is designed for Windows operating systems. In desktops versions of Windows 8 and the newer versions, it is now possible to enable the ‘Client Hyper-V’ mode directly. Download Microsoft Hyper-V.
The Client Hyper-V mode allows the users to install and enable Hyper-V directly through the desktop versions of Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. There is no need for a server OS. In server versions of Windows, Hyper-V is installed as a server role. However, Hyper-V is not available for Home editions. You will need a Pro edition or Enterprise edition of Windows to make it work.
7. VMLite Workstation
VMLite Workstation is based on the open sourced VirtualBox free virtualization software. It supports most of the virtualization formats used in the industry like VMDK (VMWare), VHD (Microsoft), VDI (Sun), and HDD (Parallel). It comes with its own Windows XP mode for Windows 7. Download VMLite Workstation.
An extraordinary feature of this virtualization software is that it allows you to run a 64-bit guest OS on a 32-bit host operating system. It means that you can run 64-bit Windows XP on a 32-bit Windows 7 OS. Since it comes with its own Windows XP mode, it can provide the same functionality as the original Windows XP without any hardware virtualization. Please note that you need to register to download the setup file of the software.
KOPLAYER is a different virtualization software compared to the ones mentioned above. It helps you to run Android operating system on your Windows PC and brings all of its functionalities to your computer. It is an Android emulator and you can enjoy all of the apps and games that can be run on your Android device on your desktop too. Download KOPLAYER.
The feature that makes this virtualization software stand apart from the others is that it marshals the spectacular Kernel technology on x86 architecture. This makes the software more stable and provides better performance and it is very much compatible with the other systems. Since you can use the Android OS on a bigger screen, it is very useful for gamers and content creators as it makes their work easier.
MobaXtrem is an ultimate toolbox for free remote computing. It offers support to the SSH, RDP, VNC Telnet, FTP, SFTP, XDMCP, serial, and rlogin connections. The complete set of network tools are arranged neatly in a portable EXE file. It also has an advanced terminal that can run UNIX command using the shell script. Download MobaXtrem.
MobaXtrem software was designed for IT professionals and network administrators who work on remote systems. It helps them by providing them with all the required tools on a single platform. It has a built-in X11 server and a neatly arranged multi-tab interface which allows the user to perform more than one task on more than one remote device. This software is mainly for professional use.
10. BlueStacks App Player
BlueStacks App Player is a free virtualization software to emulate Android operating system on the Windows PC. It allows you to use Android app in your system and works like an Android emulator. It is used by a number of Android developers and many Android tools make use of this software to create apps and games. It is optimized to support mouse and keyboard navigation as well. Download BlueStack App Player.
It allows the users to add the icons of their favourite Android apps directly on to the desktop. It uses the Layercake technology which helps it to render even the most graphic intense games to work smoothly on your computer. You can easily change the screen size to suit your preference or your device. This software also comes pre-installed with a lot of Android games and apps.
XenServer is a free virtualization technology for UNIX like operating systems. It highlights on the command line and several utilities are also available. It is also possible to use VMM. The software must boot in its own instance of the kernel to work and can run in hardware-assisted or para-virtualized modes even though the latter has a lot of glitches to properly setup and run. Download Xen.
Xen is intended for advanced users or professionals. Xen also exists as live CD versions and bare-metal hypervisor. It has got a built-in kernel support and provides a very good performance. Numerous third-party tools are also available for Xen. Xen was supported by OpenSUSE for many years but recently it has been adopted into mainline kernel release.
Andy is virtualization software which offers a smooth synchronization between desktop and mobile devices. It is a mobile operating system and helps you run your favourite Android applications directly on your Windows PC. You can also add and remove widgets from your home screen and copy files directly from the desktop to the emulator. Download Andy.
Andy is highly customizable and you can change it to suit your need. It offers unlimited storage capacity and is very compatible with PC and Mac platforms. You can side-load APKs and run them through Andy OS or you can directly browse Play store for your apps. Application data syncing, camera and microphone integration, developer support and notifications are some other features of Andy.
13. VMWare ESXi
VMWare ESXi is a virtualization software intended for advanced or professional users. It is a bare-metal hypervisor with a reduced number of features than ESX. It has a locked down console which can be enabled manually and requires its own host to run. Para-virtualization mode is also supported and you can also install some VMWare tools to enhance the performance of virtual machines though in some cases, these tools are pre-installed. Download VMWare ESXi.
Migration or cloning is possible by hand only in VMWare ESXi. You cannot take screenshots or movies of your virtual machines in this software. It is very powerful and has extended virtual machine options. But it also requires a lot of resources and dedicated hardware and is not at all easy to set up and run.
Sandboxie is a free remote software that helps you run programs in a secure environment. It helps you maintain privacy by making sure that your browser cache, cookies and browsing history stay within the sandbox. The software is compatible with almost all Windows operating systems including Windows XP and Windows 7. Download Sandboxie.
Sandboxie is a sandbox based isolated environment which helps you to run or install new programs on to your system without it affecting or modifying data that already exists in the computer. You can use it to view and manage programs, start your browser or email reader or any of the other Windows apps. It basically prevents your system from malware attacks.
QEMU stands for ‘Quick Emulator’. It is a free and open source hosted hypervisor which performs hardware virtualization. It can run programs and operating systems designed for one machine on a different machine when used as a machine emulator. It gives a very good performance using dynamic transition. Download QEMU.
It can also be used as a virtualizer and in that case, it executes guest code directly on host CPU thus achieving a nearly native performance. When QEMU uses KVM, it can virtualize x86, server and embedded PowerPC, 64-bit POWER, S390, 32-bit and 64-bit ARM, and MIPS guests. It gives a very good performance on any f the operating system architecture.