From Higher Computing Science
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- A virtual machine is a software program which simulates a hardware platform. This means that it can allow a computer to run an Operating System within another operating system. The hosted OS acts as if it is running on a physical computer, but every hardware call is routed through the virtual machine.
- Virtual machines contain the actions of the hosted Operating System because the software can control access to devices and networks.
- Virtual machines use the processor of the computer directly (i.e. with the same machine code) but the programs run within the virtual machine can only interact with the hosted OS.
- Examples of virtual machines include PC-based solutions such as VirtualBox or VMWare, server based “Virtual Private Servers” such as Xen, or sandboxed Virtual Machines for programming languages such as Java.
A virtual machine