I've not played around with virual machines before. Is it possible to create a virtual machine of a different model PC to my office PC, and then run it on my office PC? If so how would I go about doing this?
Yes...use something like VMPlayer Free, this is what we use for generating and testing software packages
I was thinking of using it in conjunction with imaging with Fog. If I created a VM for use on a dell GX520, would I be able to load the drivers for a GX520 and see that they worked ok inside the VM before uploading and deploying to a real phyiscal dell GX520?
In my experience, you wouldn't be able to do this.
Virtual machines use 2 types of devices. Emulated and Synthetic.
Emulated - Drivers/Devices that require a lot of physical box overhead to process for the virtual machine. Basically there is a lot of translation that the hypervisor (virtual pc, hyper-v, etc) must perform for the virtual device to utilize the physical device. These are the types of devices/drivers you will see used in Virtual PC and Virtual Server 2005 and some others.
Synthetic - Virtual Devices/Drivers that are highly optimized to perform very seamlessly with the underlying physical device. Hypervisor intervention/translation is kept minimal and therefore performance is greatly improved. Virtual machines using synthetic drivers are often said to be "enlightened". These are generally seen in bare metal hypervisors like Hyper-V and ESXi.
The important thing to take away from this post is that the actual physical devices in your computer are NOT what the virtual machine sees.
The network traffic from your virtual machine is passing through the physical network card, but the virtual machine will "see" a totally different device than what is actually in the computer. This goes for any device.
Ah, yes - what the others have said...drivers in a VM is a bad idea. If you want to use it for builds...look at driver injection in WDS/MDT/SCCM....
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