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1. Virtual Machine

You may have found that programs work differently on different computers. For example, a program written to work on a gaming console like a Playstation will not run at all on your desktop computer.

To solve this problem, you could:

  • Buy a new computer that will run the software you have,
  • Buy a version of the software that will run on your computer

Both of these are expensive and inconvenient solutions.

Another solution is to get your computer to create a software copy of the computer you need, and then run your program inside that.

This software copy of a computer is called a virtual machine (VM). It is a 'computer inside a computer'.

virtual machine

The process of creating a VM is called 'virtualisation'. There can be many VMs running on a single host.

Another type of virtual machine is designed to run 'intermediate code' rather than imitate a complete operating system. This will be explained in later pages.