Came accross this piece of Open Source, Free software after reading an article about it in a PC Magazine and its the business!
Virtualbox, once downloaded (23MB from www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads) and installed allows you to install multiple operating systems on one pc inside a Virtual ‘box’ or environment with no need to mess with your main computers boot record or partitions and potentially screw things up!
Running the software presents a simple interface with obvious buttons for creating, starting and managing virtual ‘Machines’ as they are called. Clicking ‘New’ pops up a wizard that talks you through creating and naming your operating system as well as specifing percentages of the main pc’s RAM and Disk space to allocate to the new system. This setup kinda requires that you have a lot of RAM and Hard drive space to spare though, especially if you want to install a lot of systems.
Once the new system/machine is setup, its listed on the left and you simply highlight the system you want to run and click the ‘Start’ button to fire it up. On first start you are asked to choose either a drive or disc image to use to install the operating system (in my case the free Linux distro ‘Ubuntu’ on DVD) and the operating system basically installs itself inside a small window of the virtualbox program in exactly the same manner as if you were installing it on the main PC.
When the installation is finished, you can simply start the particular machine whenever you want and you have a fully working, virtual operating system. It can use all of your existing computer resources such as USB, DVD/CD, Internet and Shared Folders.
Extremely handy for computer tech support workers, you can fire up whatever operating system your troubled client has and work out a solution for them in no time!