VMware goes freewareWhen i tried VMware Workstation Trial many months ago, it wasn't free but when i tried it then, i was astonished to see that it was so reliable and feature packed.
The concept of VMware is to utilize the computing resources without affecting the existing OS's own usability. VMware is the virtual machine/operating system(OS) under any other parent operating system. For example, i've Windows XP installed and i want to try Windows Vista or any other OS distributions like open-source Linux. In that scenario,i could use VMware and install Vista without crippling my windows XP. VMware is a standalone software under any Operating system with the capability to store the other operating systems in it and virtually, we can swap to OS to OS in seconds. This is very helpful for programmers,beta-testers who want to check their softwares under very Operating systems. And, that is how the final product is released. Had it not been there, one has to have several machines installed with different Operating systems in it and try their raw-program individually which would have been a more troublesome and time consuming experience.
Therefore, thank to Virtualisation softwares like VMware. They do exist and now, it is free. You just go to their site, email them, you'll get your personal serial number and voila, you can try as many operating systems as you want without any trouble. If you surf some malicious sites or encounter any virus activities from within your VMware OS, no problem, the virus or malicious script won't come out of it and won't hamper your real OS's environment. So, the virtualisation layer would protect you.
According to VMware, VMware Player is another handy tool. Install VMware server or Workstation, create your Operating system under these, save it as a file and load it with VMware Player. Later you can uninstall the VMware server or Workstation and just use VMware player with the file created by those resource hungry VMware server or Workstation.
To learn more about them, click here
Download VMware Workstation here
Download VMware Server here
Download VMware Player here.
Note: I think VMware is the only solution allowing you to install all kinds of Operating systems available today. Other Virtualisation software wouldn't offer that kind of features.(you can search on Google though)