Interesting use for Virtual PC and networking

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I regularly get questions from people asking about setting up VPN software inside of a virtual machine - however lately I have had reason to do the opposite.  Microsoft provides VPN support so that employees can connect to the corporate network from home - and this is something that I do quite regularly.  Unfortunately - doing so disrupts any long downloads / uploads that I might be doing (and given that I have family in Australia I regularly am sending / receiving large files over a very slow connection).

Now - I could setup the VPN client in a virtual machine (and have done this before) - but the reality is that I want the majority of the programs I am running to be connected to the corporate network - so this would not be efficient.  So what I have started doing is to have a virtual machine that I do the file transfers from while I use VPN on the host to do my work.

Virtual PC works at a low enough layer in the network that it is not affected by the VPN connects / disconnects - and I can easily use shared folders / drag and drop to get files in and out of the virtual machine.

All in all I have been quite happy with this solution.


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  • Unfortunately we are using forticlient as VPN software :( and that cannot be installed on a host system that has Virtual PC installed (it Bluescreens on me when I do it, it is a known issue at fortinet....)

  • Hello!

    Does this tip work also for Virtual Server?
    For example, I use VMware Server and shared
    folders feature is not available (only in
    I would also like know if this "hack" is
    possible with Virtual PC/Server:

    Thanks, Roman
  • Hi, if your VPN connection can be setup with WinXP's built-in VPN support (i.e no installation of 3rd-party VPN software is needed) then note that downloads occurring in the background shouldn't need to be disrupted when you're connecting up the VPN.

    It's governed by that tick box in the properties of the VPN connection, which you'll find if your bring up the 4th tab of the properties dialog (titled "Networking"), and click on the TCP/IP properties button, and then click on the Advanced button. If you clear the tickbox "Use default gateway on remote network" your downloads should proceed unhindered.

    Rgrds Henry
  • Yes -- do what Henry says. It made a huge difference for me -- especially when my work is over a high latency connection and other things (like downloads) are over a fast local connection.
  • I have almost the opposite scenario, requiring the "Use default gateway on remote network" setting. This is when using a VPN service provider at public Wi-Fi hotspots. If my VPN connection drops, XP reverts to TX/RX cleartext over the air, with no warning. Most disconcerting...
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Interesting use for Virtual PC and networking