Windows Virtual PC Executables

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Unlike Virtual PC 2007, Windows Virtual PC is comprised of multiple executables.  As such you may have a some trouble trying to figure out what is actually running when you look at task manager.  Here is a list of the Windows Virtual PC Executables, with descriptions of what they do and how they can be used:

  • vpc.exe

    This is the main executable that is used for running virtual machines.  Each virtual machine runs as a thread of this process – so you should only ever see one of these.  This executable is only running when you have virtual machines running.

  • vmwindow.exe

    This is the executable that is used for the standard “work with the virtual machine desktop” experience.  If you just start this executable by itself it will open the “Virtual Machines” folder.  You can get it to open a specific virtual machine by passing in the name and path for the virtual machines .VMC file by using the following command:

    vmwindow –file “VMC file”

  • vmsal.exe

    This executable manages seamless applications.  You will have one instance of this executable running for each virtual machine that has seamless applications running.

  • vpcsettings.exe

    You probably guessed this one – it is the settings window for the virtual machine.  You can launch it manually by passing it the virtual machines .VMC file that you want to configure:

    vpcsettings.exe “VMC file”

  • vpcwizard.exe

    This executable is used for all of the virtual machine wizards.  There are actually three wizards, and you can specify which wizard you want by using the –type parameter.  You can open it as the new virtual machine wizard, new virtual hard disk wizard, or as the edit virtual hard disk wizard.  For the last option you also need to specify the VHD that you want to edit:

    vpcwizard.exe –type VM
    vpcwizard.exe –type VHD
    vpcwizard.exe –type EVHD –filepath “VHD file”

All of these executables are located in the System32 directory (under the Windows directory on the system drive).  And all of the file parameters need to have a full path provided.


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  • Please add 8 and 6 and type the answer here:
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  • There is one problem, what do you do if your pc does not support hardware virtualisation? I would appreciate if someone could have a definitive answer as I cannot find out from elsewhere.



  • Windows Virtual PC does not support 64 bit guests, even on 64 bit hosts.

    Will this change ever?

    If not, I must strongly recommend VirtualBox (free for personal use, and capable of using VHD images). Same applies for cases where intel VT is not present.

  • Read abd Parallels will offer an alternative to XP Mode without the processor virtualization requirement. Competition is great, isn't it? Just 2 versions after Microsoft purchased Connectix and Virtual PC development is ignored in favor of Hyper-V, the product is no longer competitive and is locked down to Windows 7 and processors with hardware virtualization. Could it get any worse?

  • Microsoft really needs to take a long hard look at their virtualization strategy.  

    They have focused all their effort on Hyper-V and have completely ignored their type 2 hypervisor products.  

    How about adding 64bit guest support to both Virtual Server and Virtual PC.  How hard can that be?

  • Apologies for being off topic, but i've been searching around and can't find a solution anywhere... thought someone here might know.

    I have a whole load of old windows 3D games which won't run properly on XP or Vista.

    I thought virtualization might be the key, but while i can find ways to do 3D for virtual XP, vista or linux Guests, i can't find ways to do it for 95/98/ME.

    This seems like a rather obvious gap in the market. Anyone know if there is a solution?

    If not, MS (or someone) should really find a way to make some kind of virtualization/wrapper for older games and versions of directX.

    (strangely, right now, i think my best bet might be to install Linux and then run Wine on that... but it seems perverse to have to dual boot to linux to play windows games...)

  • I'm really amazed at Windows Virtual PC. I have an old USB TV card which didn't install on my 64-bit Windows 7 then I got a crazy idea: install it on Virtual Windows XP and voila! It works!

    However... there is a drawback: I need to start the virtual machine (virtual machine desktop experience) in order to "plug-in" the card and then I start the TV viewer in seamless mode... Is there a way I could configure the virtual machine to always connect a certain device?

    Thanks for a great product!

  • Mike - much confusion about "hardware" virtualization capability.  I spent a lot of time trying to obtain info re: Intel amd AMD capable processors and BIOs types.

    On the basis that current  Intel duo-core and AMD processors are capable - and ignoring the BIOS "anxieties" - I  proceeded to load Windows Virtual PC 2007 on a HP laptop (Intel)and older tower (AMD)- HP now has Vista and XP Mode virtual machines - the tower running XP mode.  Give it a go!!!!

  • Could you do me a favor, can you please tell me what all the command line parameters are for vmsal.exe?

    I really need to pass more then one parameter and have found no way to do this.

  • Is there any command line switches for "vmsal.exe" so that it could wait for the completion of the virtual application it started to stop before vmsal.exe itself exits?

    For example something very similar to this:

    start /wait host_app.exe

    possibly like:

    vmsal.exe /wait virtual_machine_application ..

  • ronghu -

    VMSal does not have any command-line options.



  • Can any windows expert tell me how to invoke a virtual m/c on Win7 using vmsal.exe in a dos window?  What's the whole command line I should type in a dos window?  Thanks!!

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Windows Virtual PC Executables