An article on how to surf the internet safely using a virtual PC
This article provides instructions on how to create a virtual PC on your real PC in order to use it to surf the internet safely without fear of infecting your PC or leaving a browser history behind.
It's a sad fact that today's internet can be a dangerous place. There is malicious software and computer viruses out there just waiting to infect your PC. There are also people that want to track the web sites that you visit in order to sell that information on to third parties. So wouldn't it be great if there was a way that you could surf the internet without putting your home PC or laptop at risk, and without needing to run numerous anti-virus and anti-spyware scans afterwards? Well this article aims to tell you one way of doing just that.
What we are going to do is create a PC within a PC, known as a virtual PC, and then use that virtual PC to surf the internet safely. It might sound complicated but it's actually very easy to do, and what's more you can do it for free!
First we need to create a virtual PC. To do this we will download and install the virtualisation software (VMware), then we will create a virtual machine and choose an operating system to use with the virtual machine to complete the process.
For the purposes of this article I am assuming that you do not want to purchase any software so we will use a version of the free open source operating system: Linux. In the example below I have chosen Knoppix as this is one of my favourite versions of Linux, popular with computer security professionals, but you can choose any version that offers a bootable iso.
Your virtual PC should now boot. You can change the screen resolution to suit. To do this in Knoppix select the Monitor Settings on the Knoppix taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select your resolution.
To surf the internet just select the start button, then Internet followed by Iceweasel web browser, which is a version of Firefox with NoScript included.
When you are finished surfing just shut down the virtual Operating System and then close VMware Player.
If you wish to download anything from the internet using your virtual PC then you can do so using a USB memory stick. Insert the USB memory stick into your real PC and in VMware Player select Virtual Machine from the top of the window to activate the drop-down menu. Then select Removable devices and find your USB memory stick and select "Connect (disconnect from host)". You should now be able to read and write to and from your USB memory stick. Just remember to scan it before you use it again in your real PC!
So there you have it, you now know how to create a virtual PC within your real PC so that you can use it to surf the internet safely.
Article last updated: 16th October 2010