I have a laptop Toshiba Satellite A505 with following features:

  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • 8kB L1 cache, 64 kb L2 cache, 256kB L3 cache
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 500 GB HDD

I have used many operating systems on it. Ex: Win7/8, Ubuntu10.10/11.10/12.10, Linux 5.1 Open-SUSE and etc. I am working in such an environment where I must use many different operating systems. Ex: I need work on my Ubuntu machine for robotics applications and at the same time need to Win8 for some other research projects. Of course I use virtual machines and sometime even dual boot OS.

Right now I am trying to build a hierarchy for my system such will be static for me. My purpose is to install one operating system to entire HDD as a host and others as guest operating systems. So I'd like to choose the best operating system that can manage my laptop's hardware resources optimally. Then I`ll install other guest operating system.

Reason why I'm doing so is right now I use Win8 and Ubuntu 12.10 as dual boot, so if I need to do something in another system I have to reboot it. So I decided to install one host and others as guest operating system. Thank you :)


There can not possibly be any universal recipe for deciding which operating system should be the host when running multiple virtual machines.

This really depends on your individual needs. Let me give you some (incomplete) rules of thumb to help making this decision

  • In case security in terms of immunity to virus infections matters do not have Windows as host.

  • Choose the operating system where you either spend most of the time with, or where the most processor demanding processes run as host.

  • The host operating system should be where applications run that need best graphic performance.

  • Choose an operating system as guest if you know that it may crash or when system settings change frequently. A virtual machine can provide snapshots for easy restore.

  • Do not have an unstable operating system host your virtual machines.

  • Thank you for good explanation. It helped me a lot on my decision. Mostly I use Ubuntu. But I don't know which version to choose as host machine. I mean I don't know which version of Ubuntu or any of Linux distributions is stable. Can you help me for decision about it? – NadirHajiyev May 19 '13 at 9:15
  • 1
    @NadirHajiyev: stability also depend on the running applications or drivers, where a vanilla Ubuntu should be rather stable irrespect of release version. My personal preference is to stay with an LTS Ubuntu release (12.04) when long term support, and stability matters (but of course this holds true for an updated Windows 7 too). – Takkat May 19 '13 at 14:41

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