Macrium viBoot is a useful virtualization application using which we can create, run and manage virtual machines on a Windows PC. It comes as a part of Macrium Reflect which is a popular software for making backups of partitions and entire drives.
In fact, viBoot uses the disk images created by Macrium Reflect and if you already have created backup of your Windows installation then you have already completed half of the work. Once you have created a backup of your Windows installation (which includes backup of all the partitions needed to boot into Windows), you can follow these steps to create and run virtual machines using viBoot:
- First of all we have to install Hyper-V in Windows. This is needed by viBoot to run virtual machines. It can be installed by giving the following command in an elevated PowerShell window:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All
- Launch Macrium Reflect, switch to the Restore section and find the backup for which Boot Image option is available – if this is not available, then that backup cannot be used for virtual machines. Chose the backup image that you want to use and click on Boot Image.
- In the virtual machine creation window, choose machine name, RAM, processors, and network parameters. You should accept the default parameters for most of these options, except for the RAM which you can experiment with freely.
- After creation of the virtual machine, you can run it. It takes only few seconds before you see the machine running. It asks for the screen resolution which we can select to be the same as our main screen resolution.
- In the viBoot virtual machine window, we have all the controls for pausing, suspending, stopping and saving the virtual machine.
Even in the full-screen mode, there is a small blue bar that sticks to the top edge of the screen. Using this bar we can toggle the network access, minimize and return back to the windowed mode.
viBoot can also be launched from its Start menu shortcut and also from the menubar of Macrium Reflect. In the viBoot window, we can see a list of all the virtual machines, all the mounted images, and a log of all the events. We can create new virtual machines, delete the old ones, and change their settings.
Personally, I found viBoot to be really much faster and more responsive when compared to the virtualization software like VMWare Player and VirtualBox. The virtual machine takes only a few seconds to boot and runs very smoothly in the full-screen too.