Alternatives to Virtual Machines
If you’re just trying to run Windows programs on Linux, a virtual machine might be overkill. Sure, a virtual machine can run most Windows desktop software with no problems, but virtual machines can be rather slow. Why not try to run your Windows programs directly on Linux with Wine, a compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux. Wine is incomplete, so some programs may not run properly. Still, Wine can be a much faster way to run Windows programs without the overhead and licensing cost of a Windows virtual machine.
CrossOver Linux, a commercial product built on Wine, provides support for popular applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. While you have to pay for it, CrossOver optimizes and tests popular Windows applications and provides support for CrossOver Linux.
Gamers looking to run Windows games on Linux will be disappointed with the performance of a virtual machine, but Wine, Cedega or CrossOver Games can run many games on Linux with good performance.
An Introduction to Wine, Which Runs Windows Software on Linux
Installing Windows Programs With Wine on Ubuntu
A Review of CrossOver Linux - Is it Better Than Wine?
Playing Windows Games with Wine, Cedega or CrossOver Games