Recovering a lost Virtual PC Console

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For various reasons, from time to time, people report that they can no longer access the Virtual PC Console.  Inevitably, Virtual PC has decided to open the Virtual PC Console off the edge of the visible screen.  Virtual PC stores the information about where the console should be opened at in the Options.xml file. 

If this happens to you - there are three possible solutions:

  1. Exit Virtual PC and delete %appdata%\Microsoft\Virtual PC\Options.xml.  You will lose any global configuration settings - but you will get the console back on the next launch.
  2. Follow these directions to edit Options.xml, and change the values for the left_position and top_position fields to something smaller.
  3. Immediately after opening Virtual PC (and before clicking on anything) press ALT, Left Arrow, Down Arrow, m, Left Arrow – and then move your mouse.  The console should snap back onto the screen.


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  • Hallelujah!

    This was driving me crazy!

    My fix was to press enter when I couldnt find the console. It would start the VPC I needed but not great.

    Thanks HEAPS!

  • Actually, my biggest problem is that when Explorer crashes, VirtualPC does not re-enstate its tooltray icon.

    This is a HUGE pain in the butt, because it means you have to shut down all the open virtual machines and then force down VPC so you can restart it.

    It does happen less under Vista than XP, but it still happens (happened last night in fact...)

    It would be nice if you guys could fix that!

  • I've had this problem with many different applications over the years.  Sometimes the application is "maximized" off the screen as well.  I always just right-click on the app in the taskbar, (pick Restore if applicable first) and select Move, hit an arrow key and move the mouse & click.  It does work great, and can potentially be a problem with any program that saves the last position of the window, without checking to be sure it's on the screen.  I think resizing the taskbar and/or adjusting the resolution of your display can also recover those lost windows.

  • Hey!

    You could actually save a few steps - instead of Alt -> Left -> Down you can just press Alt + Space - > m. works great, and I find it a bit faster (I always use Alt + space -> n to minimize windows)

  • Re: Xepol's problem

    A newly started Explorer process which creates the taskbar broadcasts the "TaskbarCreated" registered message to all top-level windows. Virtual PC should check for this message and recreate its notification icons. This was new in Internet Explorer 4's shell update and is therefore present in Windows 98 and newer, and Windows 2000 and newer. See

    Note that Windows Vista's UI Privilege Isolation feature does mean that programs running elevated won't see the message, unless ChangeWindowMessageFilter has been called to allow it (see Being a registered message, the actual message number will change between system boots, but once registered will have the same number for the remainder of the session. See RegisterWindowMessage.

  • Mike: I ran into that Vista problem when I accidentally ran the taskbar elevated.  I figured it out when none of my notification icons were showing and a distinct lack of elevation dialogs everywhere.  Oops.

    Uriel: Bah, you beat me! :)  I was going to suggest that.  Using ALT+TAB to find the window first also works, then once it's focused you can start the move operation with ALT+SPACE, M.

  • Thanks!  I was about to start hacking at the registry.

  • Thank you!

    By the way, if the visible type boolean is set to "false", changing the left/top position value wont do anything. Set the visible type boolean to "true" first.

    <visible type="boolean">true</visible>

  • Thanks for that! I didn't even need steps 2 or 3, just step 1 worked fine for me.

  • Great, simple instructions. Thank you very much, Ben!

  • Hero! Took the number 3 and am happy to have my console back. Got used to not having it :)

  • Hey, Thanks Man, Had The Defect For A While And Then After Deleting The .xml, Got It Back, Thanks!

  • Number 3 was the least hassle and worked great - sweet!  Thanks!

  • Option three worked for me. Thanks.

  • Amazing, thanks a lot , life saver! @D

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Recovering a lost Virtual PC Console