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TL;DR: I'm looking for a Windows version of Parallels Headless Mode, to run Windows.

I'm looking for virtual machine software that can run different programs that aren't confined by the limits of the virtual desktop, the way that you can use parallels on Mac, each program has it's own free moving window, and it's own icon in the taskbar.

I'm running Windows 10 x64, and am wanting to run Windows on the VM. While free is prefered, it is not necessary.

  • The so called "XP mode" does exactly that. And in effect, it's just a prepackaged VirtualPC image with an installed and configured Windows XP inside. So at least, VirtualPC is able to do this too. – Alejandro Dec 19 '18 at 13:08
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So it turns out both Virtual Box and VMware have solutions like Parallels, they just aren't as good or well known.

Virtual Box has "Seamless Mode"

VirtualBox will hide the guest operating system’s desktop background, making it seem as if the guest operating system’s programs are running on the host operating system’s desktop. However, the running applications won’t appear on your operating system’s standard taskbar.

VMware has "Unity Mode"

Unlike with VirtualBox, programs running in the virtual machine will appear on your taskbar as if they were running in your host operating system. You will have access to a Start or Applications menu that allows you to launch applications in the virtual machine.

Quotes taken from https://www.howtogeek.com/171145/use-virtualboxs-seamless-mode-or-vmwares-unity-mode-to-seamlessly-run-programs-from-a-virtual-machine/

  • Thanks very much for posting an answer. This will help others in future. – Mawg Dec 19 '18 at 11:14

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