Shared components of Virtual PC and Virtual Server

Shared components of Virtual PC and Virtual Server

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Microsoft supports having both Virtual PC and Virtual Server installed on the same computer at the same time.  When a user does this there are two major 'shared components' between the two products.  The virtual machine monitor (VMM.SYS) which is responsible for the basic creation and management of virtual machines, and the virtual machine network services driver (VMNetSrv) which is responsible for providing network connectivity for virtual machines.

One of the interesting side effects of having these shared components is that from time to time one of the components will be updated in one product but not the other.  When this happens it is sometimes possible (though not always so) to reap the benefits in both products by having them installed on the same system.

A current example of this is that the Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 beta contains a number of performance improvements - and many of these performance improvements can also be had under Virtual PC 2004 simply by install Virtual Server Service Pack 1 beta on the same system.


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  • Are you counting the minutes before someone posts a "Why the heck isn't the improvements available for Virtual PC as well?" comment? :P
  • Which brings up a possibly interesting question....

    Does that make the VPC install a beta unsupported installation? Or vice versa in the opposite case?

    Logically the answer is yes because the prod bits are being replaced by beta bits, but would someone know that when installing the beta? Generally a beta app doesn't make other apps become beta apps.

  • Maraudez,

    Yeah - well that's life :-). Features have to be released in one product first - and they do eventually find their way across to the other products.


    Yes - it would turn VPC into the equivilant of a beta from a support perspective. This is not uncommon for shared components - it would be just like running a program under a beta release of .Net or Windows.

  • Hi Ben:

    Two questions:

    Can the Virtual Server SP1 beta install on top of VPC 2004 or is it limited exclusively to VS 2005?

    Also, the Betaplace link to obtain SP1 beta has been dead for several days. Is there any other way to obtain the SP1 Beta (like thru MSDN)?


    Drew Finnie
  • Drew,

    VPC and Virtual Server are two different products. You can install Virtual Server along side of VPC or instead of VPC.

    The service pack for Virtual Server is just that for Virtual Server. You can't use service packs for XP on W2K, Office 2K3 on Office XP and so on.
  • Ben,

    Are there any bad things that will happen if you do this when you have VMs in VPC in Saved States? If you replace the VMM.SYS, etc, will it have a negative effect on existing VMs?
  • Hi SteveJ,

    I beleive that switching the VMM can cause incompatiblity with Saved States from previous VMMs.

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