Understanding boot order with Virtual PC 2007

Understanding boot order with Virtual PC 2007

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If you press the 'del' key while booting a virtual machine under Virtual PC 2007, you can enter the BIOS and change the boot order configuration.  The Virtual PC BIOS allows you to configure the order in which it will attempt to boot off devices.  If any boot device fails, it will just move on and try to boot off the next device in the list.

The following boot options are available:

  1. Floppy. This is fairly straight forward - each virtual machine has one, and only one, floppy drive.  This option will attempt to boot off the floppy drive.
  2. CD-ROM.  Just like the floppy - each virtual machine has one, and only one, CD-ROM drive.  This option will attempt to boot off it.
  3. Hard Drive.  This option is a bit more interesting.  Under Virtual PC a virtual machine can have up to three virtual hard disks.  Unlike many computers, Virtual PC can boot off of any of these hard disks.  It will attempt to boot off the first hard disk, but if that fails it will then try to boot off the second and third hard disks.
  4. PXE UNDI.  This is the option to boot off of the PXE support in the network adapter of the virtual machine.  One boot option entry is made for each network adapter, unfortunately, all the entries have the same descriptive text, and can't be told apart (bummer).  By default the BIOS will be configured to try and boot off the first network adapter, then the second, then the third and then the fourth.
    Given that few people would actually need to configure a virtual machine to PXE boot off of a second or third network adapter, this is not a problem for most people - but you should be aware of this issue.

 

The above list is in the default ordering that is used by Virtual PC. 

One odd bug that exists in Virtual PC is that if you configure a virtual machine with a second or third hard disk - but no first hard disk - you will see a warning message when you try to start the virtual machine, stating that as you do not have a first hard disk configured you may not be able to boot the virtual machine. 

This error message exists because a long time ago we used to have a BIOS that would not boot in this configuration.

We can now boot in this configuration, but the error message never got removed as it is such a goofy configuration for a virtual machine that no one has ever reported hitting (outside of our test team - that is).

Cheers,
Ben

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  • > we used to have a BIOS that would not boot in this configuration.

    Then that's reasonable.  Virtual PC emulated some real PCs  ^_^

    Now we need an option to put the CD drive on the slave side of the secondary (or slave side of the primary) IDE adapter, to emulate some other real PCs and see if we can get some bugs worked out.  But in VPC 2004 the only option I see is to give a machine zero CD drives instead of one, and the location is always an unspecified side of the secondary.

  • You can have the CD as primary slave in VPC 2004; I've just tried it (you untick "attach to secondary IDE controller" and it attaches to the primary IDE controller. Various of the "how to install Openstep in VPC" howtos say you should do this, but whichever configuration I used (and whichever IDE drivers) I still couldn't get Openstep 4.2 to install :-(

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2007 10:13 AM by John Elliott

    > you untick "attach to secondary IDE controller" and it attaches to

    > the primary IDE controller.

    Oh silly me.  I assumed the opposite of "attach" was "don't attach", and didn't think of experimenting to test that assumption.

  • I can only choose to boot into PXE when there is no OS installed.

    When a OS is installed, to me, I cannot boot into PXE again like pressing F12.

    Is there an option to boot into PXE when an OS is already installed?

    I know I can change the boot order but I like to choose to boot into PXE like any normal PC with pressing the F12 key while booting.

    Best regards,

    Arian van der Pijl

  • Would be nice to be able to play those old multi CD games without switching disks.  I've got one with 4 disks and it would be a dream to play in a virtual machine and just mount all the disks and play without any switching.  That is the only thing that is making me consider VMWare's products.  Get multi CD support (probably have to add SCSI support for over 3) and I'd never look back.  That was the major complaint with most of the old multi CD games and you could eliminate it with virtualization.

    (Begging on knees),

    TBlackbird

  • VPC 7 - I have a burned legit copy of Windows 2003 Standard Server, it will boot under Windows XP (when I close the CD slider).  

    VPC 7, on startup the CD will 'act' (i.e. make noise) when I start the session, BUT it just jumps past it into PXE.  HELP???

  • You lie, I pressed del till I was blue in the face and it never went in to the bios and the only boot device that displays is the network boot.

    I cant load the OS from either one of my cd-roms. Get your facts strait.

  • why wen need to set the ODD as the first boot device?

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