With the modern interchangeability of the OS, users can get quickly familiar with the three main operating systems out there: Windows, Mac and Linux. It is very common today to see people using Macs at work and Windows at home or Linux at work and Windows at home. But what happens if a user is forced to use Windows as day to day computer at work and they do not like it?

If your employer or IT admin are flexible and prefer to work in a young and fresh environment by allowing users to manage their way through multiple systems, you can download a virtualization software like Virtualbox, which is free and runs quite nicely under Windows.

Bear in mind that, although VM technology had recently progressed quite a bit, the performance is not quite the same as a real machine, especially when it comes to video acceleration and memory usage. For general office work, however, Virtualbox offers a responsive and dependable environment and can be installed in the three main flavored OSes.

Moreover, because VB allows you to set up a virtual NAT network, installing one or more Linux virtual machines won’t necessarily show up on the corporate network. If instead you need to share files between multiple virtual machines, you can configure the network adapter in bridge mode but the downside of this feature is that every virtual machine will get an IP from the router/firewall and will show up in the corporate network.

If your computer runs multiple virtual machines, its memory needs to be increased, since virtualization takes a lot out of the available computer memory.

The beauty of installing a Linux OS, whether it is Ubuntu, Fedora or other distros, is that they already come with Microsoft Office compatible programs such as Libre Office. However, if you need to tun Windows-only applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Linux provides the emulator Wine that creates a Windows-like environment where most of Windows-only programs work.

By googling the name of the software that runs exclusively on Windows with the appended keyword “alternative” users will realize how far they can go in their quest for programs that can skip the only-Windows feature. Gimp, for example, is a good example of how open source products are taking over when users demand flexibility when it is time to manipulate images.