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Some Way To Virtualize One PC into Five Independent PCs ?

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Is there some way to use some sort of VM technology to turn one Windows XP PC into five or so indepdent Windows XP PCs - each with seperate applications, monitors, keyboards, and pointing devices ? This would be for a conference where at least 20 independent workstations have to be setup for conference attendees, but the organization only has about five or six laptops for the event. So it would be nice if there was some way to have each laptop run five or so indepedent workstations.   Obviously each latpop can run VM with one or more seperate operating systems, but it is the hookup of the extra monitors, keyboards, etc... that appears to be the problem.   If there were some way to make this work however, like a third party multi-port docking station or VM KVM or something, that would be ideal ...  TIA ...

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Question by:LGroup1
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Mike earned 45 total points
ID: 34952158
Let me see if I understand...

You want one Laptop to act as 5 separate machines using some sort of Virtual Machine module?

This sounds like a lot more trouble than its worth.

My advice would be to install logmein free on 20 remote computers and from your laptops, open up multiple windows with different machines in each one....
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by:Amick
Amick earned 45 total points
ID: 34952283
Yes, try Oracle Virtual Box.  
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by:Mike
ID: 34952326
I was thinking that as well, but wouldn't multiple instances of the program slow the machine down to a crawl?  This is why I suggested LogMeIn....you can have tabs in Firefox or Internet Explorer with different machines open on each tab which would not slow down the machine
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 35 total points
ID: 34952369
turn one Windows XP PC into five or so indepdent Windows XP PCs - each with seperate applications [?] - ignoring the licensing nightmares - yes
,[turn one Windows XP PC into five or so indepdent Windows XP PCs - each with seperate]  monitors, keyboards, and pointing devices ? - no - you're going to need separate clients to act as "dumb terminals" for this.  KVMs etc are designed as splitters taking one side and reproducing it on the other.  You need independent monitor output and mouse/keyboard input and for that you are going to need separate machines.
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by:Amick
ID: 34952436
Oracle Virtual Box is a solid, free, virtual server that I use to run multiple virtual computers within one. It has been quite useful in development as it allows the creation of networks scenarios, and allows moving back and forth among various operating systems. I am using this with Windows 7 and it is well integrated with that host OS, although versions exist for other operating systems.  An overview of Virtual Box is available here.
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by:LGroup1
ID: 34952520
But will the Oracle Virtual Box and LogMeIn options support multiple monitors, keyboards, pointing devices, etc...  and users from one laptop ?  We have the extra WinXP licenses - and the resources required (i.e. processor speed, RAM, etc...)  should just be minimum.  Basically they want to allow five or six uers to browse their Internet site independently, at the same time, from a single laptop,

Thanks,

Eric
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Expert Comment

by:Mike
ID: 34952622
LogMeIn should do everything you want it to do
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by:Amick
ID: 34952638
As explained in this section. Oracle Virtual Box supports RDP and is open enough that you can write your own front-end.  The thing is, there are laptops and netbooks available now that aren't much more expensive than a keyboard and monitor, and given the cost of development and maintenance of an alternative solution, you may be better off to simply buy appropriate hardware and be done.
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by:Amick
ID: 35183316
LGroup1,

One more alternative that doesn't give the opportunity for each virtual machine to be as completely independent as virtual machines, nor does it fulfill the requirement of running on Windows XP,  but may fulfill the requirement "to allow five or six uers to browse their Internet site independently, at the same time." Is described  in this article.

Rather than use PCI as detailed in the article, you would likely use the USB Bus for keyboard, mouse and video. There is a collection of such equipment at USBGear.
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