A few years ago running virtualisation tools was a bit of a disaster, particularly when the virtual operating system had to emulate the CPU, graphics card and shared memory with your system. On a single-core machine, this resulted in severe slow-down. Using Windows on a PowerPC Mac was just not feasible apart from testing software.
These days running a virtual version an operating system is practical. There’s no reason why you couldn’t run and test Windows 8 on your XP machine or vice-versa, using an old copy of Windows XP on your Windows 8 machine, to test software before you install on your primary operating system.
VMware Workstation is one of the best virtual managers and will enable you to install and user more than one operating system. You can run Windows 8 and XP side-by-side or a Linux install on top of Windows and so on. Best of all, as VMware Workstation supports multi-core processors, this means that you can assign two CPU cores to your host and the remaining two to your virtual PC and you’ll find it runs very smoothly.
Using a virtual operating system is ideal for testing new software. Any install on the virtual PC remains secure and locked within that environment. You can even take a snapshot of the virtual OS so you can quickly go back to a previous state if the installed software fails to perform as expected.
VMware Workstation 10 ships with support for Windows 8.1, improved performance, more control over your virtual machine, multi-monitor support and much more.