In a business environment, companies must manage technological resources in a way that allows them to stay competitive by cutting costs and allocating resources wisely. As a result, client-side virtualization has become a popular method of providing staff with critical resources, such as applications, file-sharing services, and other productivity tools. Virtualization also has advantages for SOHO users, because it can provide access to programs that are not available on a specific OS.

PC virtualization occurs when a host machine uses its system resources to host a virtual machine. A virtual machine is sometimes called a guest. A host machine must be a physical machine that is powered on and controlled by a user. A virtual machine uses the system resources on the host machine to boot and run an OS. The OS of the virtual machine is independent of the OS installed on the host machine.

Hosting a virtual machine allows users to access the functionality and resources provided by an OS that is completely isolated from the OS of the host computer. For example, a host machine running Windows 7 can host a virtual machine that has Windows XP installed. This virtual machine can run software specific to Windows XP. The Windows XP installation does not interfere with the Windows 7 installation on the host machine. If needed, users can further increase the functionality of their system resources by running multiple virtual machines.