How many times have you started feeling your machine is getting a bit crusty around the edges. Computer taking a bit too long opening a picture, a bit too long closing that tab, a few extra seconds to open the context menu. We’ve all been there, right?
I had the idea for this little experiment last Wednesday when I had to completely wipe my desktop PC. It was old, running on it’s previous OS for two years straight in the hands of my technophobic wife.
The PC had seen better days.
After an afternoon wiping it, installing the drivers, setting up the accounts and permissions, I felt it was mighty purty.
It had that minty fresh feeling of something new, even though the PC itself was very old. I opened up the Control Panel and saw the installed software. All it had was the things I installed as a necessity, and the extras courtesy of Ninite.
No way I was messing up this computer again. I installed my copy of VMWare.
Now, for those of you open source users, you should know, VMWare is closed source and costs money. But it’s worth every single penny. Not once has it failed me in rigorous tests, whereas VirtualBox or VirtualPC have occasionally put me in the dog house at crucial times. I highly recommend it, it’s just a fantastic product.
A couple of minutes later I had my own virtualization software up and running, and a few more and I had my Windows XP virtual machine, with 1Gb ram! Hey, I told you the machine was old.
One of the benefits of using a Virtual Machine is snapshots. You can easily revert to previous snapshots, and taking a snapshot is very cheap and not time consuming. You can even continue to use the machine as it’s saving the snapshot.
There’s also another perk to it, you no longer have to turn off your dev PC. You can just suspend the computer and quickly get it up again very quickly without losing work.
So how do I intend to use this machine?
Here’s what I’m going to install on it:
- Visual Studio 2010
- SQL Server 2008
- The odd dev tool here and there
The kicker? If I ever feel the installation didn’t go as planned or I messed something up, I can just revert it.
Use a VM for development, work smarter!