Running Windows Vista Beta 1 under Virtual PC / Virtual Server

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Running Windows Vista Beta 1 under Virtual PC 2004 SP1 / Virtual Server 2005 SP1 is quite straight forward - but there are a few issues to be aware of:

  1. Windows Vista Beta 1 does not correctly identify the virtual hard disk when it is not partitioned.  To handle this you should start the installation, get to the hard disk partitioning page, partition and format your virtual hard disk, and then reboot the virtual machine.  The second time through Windows Vista Beta 1 will correctly identify the hard disk (now that it is partitioned).
  2. Windows Vista Beta 1 does not have drivers for our emulated video card, SCSI adapter and sound card.  The video and SCSI drivers are installed as part of the Virtual Machine Additions - however there is no way to get our sound card to work.  The reason for this is because we emulate an ISA Sound Blaster 16 compatible card - and Windows Vista no longer has support for the ISA bus - let alone this card.
  3. While the currently shipping Virtual Machine Additions will install on Windows Vista Beta 1, they do no contain performance enhancements for Windows Vista Beta 1, nor have they been tested on Windows Vista Beta 1.  We are currently investigating releasing updated beta Additions for Windows Vista Beta 1 (no promises though :-).
  4. Virtual PC does not support the use of ISO images over 2.2GB in size (Virtual Server 2005 SP1 beta does), so if you are using Virtual PC you will either need to burn a physical DVD to install Windows Vista Beta 1, or use a virtual CD program on your host computer.


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  • "We are currently investigating releasing updated beta Additions for Windows Vista Beta 1"

    Would this new release (if you get to it) enable the DWM / Aero effects on the Vista Beta 1? I guess the current issue seems that Virtual PC/Server emulates a very low end graphics card and Vista does not support that ... now if you can emulate a GeForce 6800 card - that would be cool! ;-)

    - Keeron
  • Yes, having both the graphics card and sound card being emulated bumped up a few notches would be a welcome change.
  • When mounting the ISO via Daemon Tools, I had a number of weird install issues and problems and could never get Vista to run successfully... Where as when I burned it to DVD and installed it, I had no problems.

    I've read a couple posts from others having similar problems, with both Daemon and the XP Virtual CD.

    You're mileage may vary, yada, yada, yada...
  • Hi Keeron,

    No - it will not enable uDWM. That will take a lot more work :-)

  • Ben,

    Thanks for clearing that up :) I hope you guys can improve the performance of Vista (later builds maybe?) on Virtual PC/Server. Even without the fancy effects, running it on virtual pc has great benifits (specially for developers with the release of WinFX and Longhorn SDKs).

    - Keeron
  • I tried installing Vista on a clean VPC machine and can't get anywhere with it. Just says to please insert the boot media. DLed the iso from MSDN Downloads and have tried a physical burn as well as the ISO... neither works. Any thoughts?
  • You need Daemon tools - it allows you to mount a dvd or cd virtually (more than 10 i think). here's some brief steps I did:

    1. Mount the LH Beta 1 ISO to any free drive
    2. Start the LH VPC
    3. As soon as things are initialized, it'll detect the bootable dvd and boot from it - starting the setup.exe
    4. When you click the install option, you'll need to press shift+F10 and format the raw disk (using diskpart).
    5. After that reboot, enter setup again - and install longhorn - er Vista :)

    - Keeron
  • yeah, hopefully MS realises the benefits of virtual machines, and could have drivers/detection of a virtual environment. It could then choose the optimal configurations etc.
  • I have tried to install the Longhorn Beta 1 on a clean harddisk in VPC several times. I solved the partition problem, but never the less, every time the installation process stopped at one point or another. Usually the process stopped when the system dialog telling me that Internet Explorer 7 was being configured. After a restart the same dialog was shown and, when given enough time, it worked.
    Now the problem is that VM additions don't work. I've tried many, many times. It seems to work fine until the last tiny bit of the progress bar. Then it stops there for hours. Usually I force it to stop, but last night I left the machine on during the night and in the morning it sayd that it could not access C:\Config.Msi. Any suggestions? Please help me!
  • Keeron, could you please post details for your steps 4 and 5? I'm not familiar with the DISKPART utility... thanks so much!
  • Kaarew -

    I do not know what could be causing that problem. What sort of system are you running on?

    Travis -

    You should not need to use DiskPart - you just need to reboot after partitioning and formatting the virtual hard disk.

  • I'm running Windows XP Pro and I just found out that it was running in PAE mode (Physical Address Extension), again. I thought that I got rid of that some time ago. In the past it has caused me a lot of trouble with both VPC and the Pocket PC emulators in VS.
    I have now changed the flags in boot.ini to "/noexecute=AlwaysOff /NOPAE" and it seems to do the trick. PAE mode is gone.
    Now I have started a new installation and it looks ok so far. We'll see. Thanks for quick reply!
  • Yes! The installation (both Longhorn and VM additions) works fine now. I wish Windows XP could ask me before using this PAE mode. It has caused me days and weeks of trouble. A number of mysterious problems have occured and the reason have been very difficult to track down. Apparently my new CPU have a mechanism to prevent unauthorised code to run (NX bit). But it won't work unless the system is running in PAE mode... OK, I hope this info will be usefull to others.
  • Well, here's an obvious question (and/or I'm an idiot) do you load the virtual machine additions? That option is greyed out from the action menu, and the 'install supplemental drivers' shortcut on the desktop tells me it doesn't have drivers for me.

    Is there another way of doing it or am I SOL?
  • I'm attempting to install Beta 1 on a raw disk under Virtual Server 2005.

    - press SHIFT-F10 and click "Install Now" which opens a command window.
    - diskpart
    - select disk 0
    - convert gpt
    - create partition efi
    - select partition=1
    - assign letter=c
    - select volume 1 (volume 0 has the disk image)
    - format fs=ntfs

    "DiskPart encountered an unexpected error. Check the system event log for moreinformation on the failure."

    Could someone please direct me to more detailed instructions on how to install Vista Beta 1 on a raw disk under Virtual Server 2005?

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Running Windows Vista Beta 1 under Virtual PC / Virtual Server