Must Have Application - VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation is a powerful tool that let you work within virtual machine sessions. It's so good it's been selected as a Must Have Application. Read all about it.
Published: Jul 31, 2006
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows
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VMware Workstation 5.5
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VMware Workstation

by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder �

VMware Workstation is a perfect tool for software developers andIT professionals. In my opinion, it's also the perfect tool for manyhome users. Let me give a few examples.

VMware Mistake-Proofs Your "Computer"

In the course of using a computer we all make mistakes. Yes, that'sright even I make silly mistakes. We erase files we don't mean to erase,we install programs that goof things up, we accidentally dosomething that messes up our computer. Trust me, I'm an expert onthis topic. There have been a number of times when I've messed things upso bad that I either had to reinstall Windows or reformat the hard diskand then reinstall Windows.

In testing over 200 software products each and every week I've had timeswhen some program I installed totally messed up my computer and I'dspend hours trying to fix it. At least I have an advantage over manynewer users because I have an idea of how to fix the problem. WithVMware Workstation you don't need to be an expert you just needto be able to click your mouse a few times.

A Look At VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation is a powerful desktop tool that lets youcreate "virtual machines". These "machines" have memory, harddrives, CD/DVD drives, and much more. You can install your software onthem, save your files on them, and even back them up. You can create"snapshots" at any point and then revert back to those spots. IfI had a virtual machine running on my desktop in full-screen mode, youwould not be able to tell.

The screen shot is small, but look at it closely. On the left you see alisting of some of my virtual machines. Several use Windows XP, one usesthe beta version of Windows Vista, and there are a couple of versions ofLinux. If you look to the right, you see part of a desktop. That is afull blown computer, complete with two hard drives, two DVD drives, anda full range of software. Email, FTP, news readers, download managers,text editors, and lots more. It's also part of my network.

If I make a mistake on this virtual machine all I have to do isgo back to the last "snapshot" and the problem is fixed. If Ierased one file or formatted the virtual hard drive, it doesn't matter.This makes it perfect for me when I test software. If I installsomething that goofs up my "computer" I just click a couple times andit's good as new. Have children? How many times have your kids goofed upthe computer by downloading things? With VMware Workstation youcan create multiple "virtual computers" and you can install programs oneach one you create. Have one "computer" for your 7 year old and anotherfor your 15 year old. You can take "snapshots" of the virtual computerat any stage and then go back to a particular stage anytime you want.Your kids can download things and if they download something bad you canfix it in a few mouse clicks.

With VMware Workstation you can run multiple operating systems onone computer and at the same time! No rebooting, no formatting.The performance is excellent and so good that I often forget I'm workingin a "virtual machine." Each time you get a new computer you have toinstall all of your stuff on it. Email, newsreader, music, texteditor, documents, and so on. Ah, but if you create a basic virtualmachine with all these things in it, you could easily setup multiplemachines in 30 minutes. I have friends, for example, who workexclusively in "virtual machines." They develop software products andhandle their business using VMware Workstation. When they buy a newlaptop, they simple copy the VMware files to the new machine and theyare back at work without missing a beat.

You can synchronize the data in a virtual machine with thedata on your real computer. So, for example, I can keep my emailprogram in a virtual machiotally in sync with the email on myphysical computer. Get a new computer and all you have to do is put theFREE VMware Player on it, copy over the files for your basic machine andviola! You're ready to roll.

VMware Workstation Benefits

Many people think VMware Workstation is a product forbusinesses, and it is, but I believe this technology can be a realbenefit to home users. Software developers can use VMwareWorkstation to:

  • Develop software under different operating systems
  • Test software under those same operating systems
  • Create specific test environments for product testing
  • Reduce their hardware costs
  • And more!

So, VMware Workstation can be a huge benefit to softwaredevelopers. They can test their latest product under every version ofWindows and do it all on one physical computer. A huge savings inequipment cost and time.

In the area of IT, VMware Workstation also brings huge benefitssuch as the ability to configure and test virtual machines easily.Virtual machines can also be used to test multi-tier applications tomake sure there are no problems before they are deployed.

In areas like education VMware Workstation can make iteasy to deploy specific software for students. Create a virtual machineonce and the "clone" it for other computers. VMware can also reduce thenumber of computers needed and it can be configured to undo any changeswhen the virtual machine is shut down. For those who have to set-up theschool computers it means less time to get every machine up and running.

Summing It Up!

VMware Workstation, by VMware Corporation, is a powerful toolthat has applications in software development, IT, education, and athome. The release of the free VMware Player means nearly everyonecan run a virtual machine that they download from the VMware site. Thisis simply amazing technology and it offers so much potential forbusinesses, homes, students, teachers, doctors offices, and more.Virtual machines can be used to test things, rapidly deploy newcomputers, and much more. For all these reasons and more, I've foundVMware Workstation to be a "Must HaveApplication" and I've awarded it the "Editors Choice"award for excellence. Give it a try for yourself. It has my highestrecommendation.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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