Best virtual machines for Windows 10 [2020 Guide]


Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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best virtual machines

In the past, we were limited to one operating system on our PCs. If we didn’t want to install another OS from scratch (risking losing all our valuable data), there was nothing that we could do about it.

Not all of us can afford multiple computers due to money constraints or physical space restriction. In this case, virtualization has become a hot topic nowadays.

Virtualization allows users – both at an experienced and beginner level – to test software and entire operating systems without changing the base system of their PCs.

Using virtual machines is also a safer option for network and system administrators because it isolates any process run on the virtual machine from the rest of your PC.

In this manner, users take no security risks whatsoever.


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Best free virtual machines for Windows 10

1

VMware Workstation 15 (Recommended)

VMware Workstation

WMware is one of the best virtual machines the market has to offer because of it’s versatility and speed. It’s easy to install and use for all levels of proficiency.

It comes in two main versions that cover all your needs.

1.VMware Workstation 15 Player

After 20 years of active development VMware Workstation 15 Player is a mature and stable local virtualization solution that can be used both as a personal educational tool and  a simplified tool for business.


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It was mainly created as an option for casual users who need to run virtual machines.

Key features include :

  • Simple user interface
  • Easy virtual machine creation
  • Hardware optimization
  • Drive-less guest OS printing
  • Isolation and sandbox capabilities (allows users to explore software and application development in a ”real world” environment wihout affecting the host desktop)
  • You can use it to isolate corporate desktops from BYO devices (disabling copy-paste, drag-and-drop, shared folders)
  • Access to USB devices
  • Ability to run restricted and encrypted VM’s (only autorized users can interact with corporate data)

-Get VMware Workstation 15 Player

2.VMware Workstation 15 PRO

This version is the industry standard for running multiple operating systems as virtual machines (VM’s) on a single Windows 10 PC.

It was built for IT professionals, developers and businesses in order to build, test or demo software on any device.


Did you know that Windows Virtual Desktop is right around the corner? Find out more here.


VMware Workstation 15 PRO offers all the features included in VM Workstation Player with a few very important additions:

  • Enterprise-level solutions
  • The ability to clone machines
  • Take multiple snapshots of the guest OS
  • The ability to replay changes made to the guest OS for testing software
  • Compatible with cloud or container technologies like Docker and Kubernets
  • Capacity to securely connect with vSphere, ESXi or other Workstation servers
  • Maximizes productivity
  • Enables easy transfer of VM’s to and from your local PC
  • Contains the most secure hypervisors in the industry
  • Powerful features for IT security professionals
  • High-performance 3D graphics (supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGl 3.3)
  • The ability to create complex Ipv4 or IPv6 virtual networks

   –  Get VMware Workstation 15 PRO

2

VirtualBox

Oracle VirtualBox - VM

VirtualBox is a user-friendly virtual machine software which offers a huge number of features that make maintaining and running this VM feel like a ‘walk in the park’.

It’s ”Guest Additions” features can be extremely useful when you need to grant extra privileges to the host machine for tasks like sharing files, sharing drives and peripherals, and more.


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All virtual machine parameters are kept in plain-text XML files. Thanks to this approach, you can easily share folders and also use it on the go.

Even though it’s a very powerful virtualization software, VirtualBox by itself only needs about 30 MB of hard disk space.

Depending on the virtual operating system you want to install on, the required space can increase to several gigabytes in size.


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VirtualBox supports Windows, many Linux versions, Mac OS X, Solaris and OpenSolaris.

You can find more details about it’s features and capabilities in the official manual here , and a list of supported operating systems here.

3

Hyper-V

Hyper-V VM Microsoft

Hyper-V was released in 2008, replacing Microsoft Visual PC as the ‘in-house’ option for your virtualization needs and works starting from Windows 8 onwards.

It’s a very robust virtualizaton application for Windows 10 with a very accessible interface and easy to use features.


Can’t install Hyper-V on Windows 10? Check out this useful guide and solve the problem quickly.


Besides allowing you to simply virtualize operating systems, Hyper-V has the capability to virtualize hard drives, switches, external media drives, etc. but it doesn’t allow virtualization of any sound hardware or GPU’s.

It only works with 64 bit Windows 10 and it is built-in in the Pro, Enterprise and Education version of Windows 10.

In order to activate Hyper-V, you need to click on the Start search button and type in ”features” . Then click on the ” Turn Windows Features on or off”.

If you’re running one of the versions of Windows 10 listed above, you will be able to find it in the list of features presented there. Then all you need to do is select the box and click OK.


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To check if the option is activated, you should find it as ”Hyper-V Quick Create” when using the search feature of the Windows 10  ‘Start’  button.

4

Citrix Hypervisor

Citrix Hypervisor best virtual machines windows 10Citrix Hypervisor is virtualization management platform optimized for application, desktop and server virtualization infrastructures.

It has comprehensive management tools, and you can automate and distribute live environments with ease.

Citrix Hypervisor also provides support for high-performance enhanced 3D graphics, with a great variety of GPU pass-through and virtualized GPU vendor options.


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It includes support for Intel’s Virtual Graphics Technology (GVT-g) and NVIDIA GRID vGPU.

With sophisticated server consolidation and containment, Citrix Hypervisor allows for increased performance and capacity gains in CPU cores.

It has integration with Microsoft Windows Update Services for automatic Windows VM driver updates, as well as host RAM, VM RAM and virtual disks per VM.

Citrix Hypervisor has a free 90 days trial, but the full version will cost you $763.

Conclusions

This article should serve as a good guide for virtualization options for all types of users of Windows 10.

These VM’s will cover your virtualization needs both from a high end corporate application perspective, but also catering to your own personal virtualization needs. 

 If we’ve missed anything or you have any suggestions about this topic, please let us know in the comments section below.

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