Visit complete Cyber Security roadmap

← Back to Topics List


A Guest OS (Operating System) is an essential component in virtualization. It is an operating system that runs within a virtual machine (VM) created by a host operating system or a hypervisor. In this scenario, multiple guest operating systems can operate on a single physical host machine, sharing resources provided by the host.

Key Features of Guest OS

  • Resource Sharing: The guest OS shares the host’s resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, while having a virtualized environment of its own.
  • Isolation: Each guest OS operates independently of others on the same host machine, ensuring that the performance or security of one system does not affect the others.
  • Customization: You can install and manage different types of guest operating systems on the same host, catering to specific requirements or user preferences.
  • Portability: The guest OS and its associated data can be easily moved to another host machine, simplifying the management of multiple systems for businesses and individuals.

Use Cases for Guest OS

  • Testing and Development: By providing a separate environment to experiment with different applications, guest operating systems are appropriate for testing and development.
  • Security: Sandbox environments can be created within the guest OS for analyzing malware or executing potentially unsafe applications, without affecting the host machine’s performance or security.
  • Legacy Applications: Some older applications may not be compatible with modern operating systems. Having a guest OS with an older OS version helps to run these legacy applications.
  • Resource Optimization: Virtualization enables businesses to make the most of their hardware investments, as multiple guest OS can share the resources of a single physical machine.

Guest OS Management

To manage guest operating systems effectively, you must use virtualization software or a hypervisor. Some popular options include:

  • VMware: VMware provides tools like VMware Workstation and Fusion to create, manage, and run guest OS within virtual machines.
  • Oracle VirtualBox: Oracle’s VirtualBox is an open-source hypervisor that supports the creation and management of guests operating systems across multiple host OS platforms.
  • Microsoft Hyper-V: Microsoft’s free hypervisor solution, Hyper-V, is capable of creating and managing guest operating systems on Windows-based host machines.

In conclusion, a guest operating system plays a vital role in virtualization, allowing users to operate multiple OS within virtual machines on a single host, optimizing resources, and providing the flexibility to work with a variety of applications and environments.

Community is the 6th most starred project on GitHub and is visited by hundreds of thousands of developers every month.

Roadmaps Best Practices Guides Videos Store YouTube by Kamran Ahmed

Community created roadmaps, articles, resources and journeys to help you choose your path and grow in your career.

© · FAQs · Terms · Privacy


The leading DevOps resource for Kubernetes, cloud-native computing, and the latest in at-scale development, deployment, and management.