Wait.. A posting not about SharePoint? How can this be? Well, it's somewhat related to SharePoint, since so many people use Virtual PC to host a development SharePoint environment. Since SharePoint requires Windows Server 2003, that's the best choice for us laptop users. Anyway, this is just a quick comparison between some points of these two products.

Feature

VPC

Virtual Server

Shared Folders?

Yes

No

Copy-n-paste?

Yes

No

Drag-n-drop?

Yes

No

Map a virtual NIC to a wireless physical connection?

Yes

No

Compact disk image to a separate location?

Yes

No

Management tools for multiple guest OS?

No

Yes

Performance

Great*

Great*+1

Runs as Windows Service
(can auto-restart after host restart)

No

Yes

*Performance really can be very good, on two conditions: enough physical RAM on your host (2GB will do, but 4GB is much better), and putting the virtual hard drive on a physical drive other than the one holding the host OS.  On a laptop, a USB 2.0 external drive works very well.  Be sure to "safely remove..." the USB drive before unplugging it.

Bottom line: if your host is a laptop or desktop, use VPC. If your host is a server in the datacenter, use Virtual Server.

Sometimes people ask me about VMWare's products. Well, I don't run them so I can't say, but Andrew Connell has a good blog posting examining some of the differences, especially related to how we use them as SharePoint developers, consultants and trainers.

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