VirtualBox: A Free Virtualization Software Package
There would be times when a Mac OS X user would need to use a software that is only running on Windows-based systems. Although more and more software developers are releasing new versions that will run on Macs, there is still a short list that does not do that. Two examples are Internet Explorer and Quickbooks. There may be available alternatives that can do the same task, but there are users that would still prefer to use the Windows-based programs
That’s where the need for virtualization software comes in. One of these is called VirtualBox. There are also other paid programs but the good thing about VirtualBox is it’s free for personal use. The Open Source version may be downloaded and installed for free but there’s a price for its license if it will be used by a business for multiple systems.
VirtualBox runs at a good speed rate if it has been configured properly. It features a Seamless Mode, which works great even though the sidebar for Windows would display the Windows Vista background instead of the Mac OS X’s usual background. You do not need to set anything up with VirtualBox and is also capable of bridged networking and it compared to its competitors, it can bridge the Airport as well.
There are a few issues that I have noticed with VirtualBox. It would run a bit slow for shared folders and Safari runs slower than usual too when VirtualBox is running on a Mac system. Additionally CD/DVD interaction would also have a little problem when used on a system that is currently using VirtualBox as you have to unmap it first from the application and wait until the eject icon is displayed before you would be able to take out a disk. However, for a free program, a couple more steps to eject a disk do not hurt, right?
The speed of a Mac system that runs VirtualBox can improve with a little tweaking. If it is available, you can put a check mark on the box that says VT-x / AMD-V. Doing this step, would allow you to also check the Nested Paging box, which will result to better Vista performance on your Mac. You should also make sure that you provide the “guest” operating system with enough RAM allowance.
Given all of the relevant points above, I can say that VirtualBox is worth a try. If you really need to run Windows-based software on your Mac systems, this free to use application will give you what you need.