Creating virtual machines with Windows Virtual PC

Creating virtual machines with Windows Virtual PC

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If you have read about Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP mode, you may mistakenly think that Windows Virtual PC can only be used for running applications in Windows XP mode.  While this is one of the major features, Windows Virtual PC allows you to create multiple virtual machines and use them for multiple operating systems.

The process of creating virtual machines has been improved a bit since Virtual PC 2007, so I thought I would go over the process:

  1. From the start menu, open the Windows Virtual PC folder and select Virtual Machines.
  2. From the Virtual Machines folder, click on Create virtual machine.
  3. On the first page of the Create a virtual machine wizard you can specify the Name and Location for the virtual machine.
  4. Next you can configure the amount of Memory for the virtual machine, and whether Networking will be enabled or not.
  5. Finally you can choose to create a new virtual hard disk or to use an existing one.

createVM1 createVM2 createVM3 createVM4 createVM5

After completing this 5 step the virtual machine will be created, and you can install the operating system you want to run.  On the virtual hard disk configuration page of the create a virtual machine wizard you also have the option of selecting to create a virtual hard disk using advanced options.  If you select this option you will then see a number of extra pages that allow you to create a dynamically expanding, fixed-size or differencing virtual hard disk of any size that you want.


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  • I already wrote about this on my blog at :-)

  • This might not be the right forum for this question, but I was wondering as to the thought process for not supporting x64 guest OSes in Virtual PC.

    As an IT Pro that has to work with a wide array of technologies that are moving to exclusive x64 support (like Exchange, or Server 2008 SR2), I'm running out the capability to have a desktop virtualization option, without running Server 2008 as my desktop.

  • I have the same problem/question as Steven, will Virtual PC support x64 guest operating systems?

  • Could you do a review of the performance changes from VPC 2007 to Windows VPC? I'm curious as the XP mode's virtual machine (the whole thing, not just a single program running in Win7) seems a lot slower than a regular install of XP in VPC 2007.

  • As a SharePoint developer (used to work on a Windows Server 2008 guest on Virtual PC 2007 on Windows Vista) I am wondering if Windows Server 2008 will be supported in the final version of Windows Virtual PC and also if 64-bit guests will be supported in the near future...

  • One thing that I have not been able to work out: I have Virtual PC 2007, version running on Windows XP.

    Can I run the latest beta of VPC?  Or will that only run on Windows 7?

  • When I run a virtual machine that has LLTD Responder enabled, the Network Map scanning always results in an error with no part of a map shown. This is true no matter where the mapper is run. If I shutdown the VM, a refresh of the Network Map scan succeeds and the map shows all running machines.

    Is the virtual networking switch in Virtual PC broken? I.E. not certified "Works with Vista." Is there a fix or workaround? Thanks.

    [The error message is "An error happened during the mapping process" and the VM is configured for "External Network".]

  • I too would like to echo the comments relating to SharePoint development.

    Virtual x64 guests would be extremely beneficial especially with the impending (x64 only) release of SharePoint 2010.  Couple that with the need to test SharePoint developed code against multiple platforms (2007, 2010) and you can start to see the headache that brings.

    A shame... but if x64 guests was going to be possible in this release we'd be seeing it now. Ho-hum.

  • Honestly, the Virtual XP is the right idea, but the TOTALLY wrong implementation.

    From an end user point of view, the software looks right - almost as if it was running directly on the host.  However, it definitely does not act right.  Moving an app into a VM should be as easy as clicking the XP compatibility mode checkbox on the EXE.

    Now, I will grant you this is a fairly technical problem, but it really is the end goal the VM team should strive for in future versions.   More of a redirected XP subsystem for API calls than a totally different computer kludged visually into looking like its running on that machine.

    And on a final note, please tell me that Windows Virtual PC is not the future of Microsoft Virtual PC, because it is definitely not an improvement from a more technical point of view.  MS VPC's use of the host key, drag and drop between the VM and the host are all much more intuitve than Windows VPC currently allows for.

  • Steven Murawski / Ilija Brajkovic / Simon -

    The focus for this release is on delivering an application compatibility solution for Windows 7.  For people who need 64-bit virtual machines in the Windows 7, Hyper-V is the only solution that we have.

    ravewulf -

    I will add this to my list.  Performance should be better overall, are you running on a laptop or desktop system?

    Paul Pascha -

    No announcement has been made around support for server guest operating systems, and as such I cannot comment on this.

    Robin -

    The latest version of Windows Virtual PC only runs on Windows 7.

    Tom.B. -

    This is the first I have heard of this.  I will see what I can find out.

    Xepol -

    I do not agree with your assertion that this is totally the wrong implimentation.  But I will agree that it is far from perfect.  In many ways this is just the first step towards the ultimate application compatibility solution.

    And yes, Windows Virtual PC is the future of Virtual PC.  As you note there are some features that have been lost in this release, and I hope that they will come back in the future.  Unfortunately we had to decide between losing these features in this release, or duplicating a lot of work that had been done by the terminal services team.



  • Ben -> I suspected that terminal services was at the root of the new look and feel.  That said, in remote desktop (which I understadnd also uses terminal service), you can issue a ctrl-alt-end to simulate a ctrl-alt-del remotely.

    That would be the obvious entry point for the host key control.

    As for the larger drag and drop issue -> That would probably take a lot more work, but work you could share with the terminal services, because frankly moving files via remote desktop is a HUGE pain. Remote desktop is one of the few products that doesn't support some file of moving files between machines SOMEHOW, and working around the limitation can be a real pain.  If terminal services could support drag and drop between host and client, it could dramatically improve ALL terminal services related software.

    As for whether Windows VPC is the right way to offer application compatiblity, we'll have to disagree for now.  I suspect time will bear me out.  In its current incarnation, it is a HUGE pain to use and adoption will be highly limited.  Eventually the whole 'xp mode' using VPC will be dropped entirely because no one wants to touch it.

    Which is a shame, because if it worked correctly, it could free MS from the burdens of reverse compatiblity in future OS builds.  All reverse compatiblity could be done via virtualized environments.  It would allow the new OS builds to grow freely without worrying about breaking older apps, as the virtual environment they require would still work exactly the same as it always did.

  • @Xepol - forgive if you already know this but after being surprised that I could not drag & drop a file between my guest and host, I tried cut & paste... and it worked! OK, I think you need to have the VM fully set up with Integration Services etc but it's a solution (albeit not an obvious one).

  • The new Virtual PC is only for 64-bit processors that support Hardware virtualization. So is Virtual PC 2007 going to get a Service Pack 2 or is it now dead??

  • Loki -

    Windows Virtual PC will run on 32-bit or 64-bit processors.  But it does required hardware virtualization support.



  • Ben, So all I have to do, is to mount my VPC drive in WinVPC, and I will be off and running? WOW!!! On top of that, I get to maintain my driver-less (Vista and Win7) USB hardware via WinVPC's WinXP, and have a leg up on 64 bit computing.

    Guess asking for WinVS is too much?


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