How to stop F1 bringing up the Virtual PC Help

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The other day I had someone contact me with this question:

“I am running a program in Windows Virtual PC where I need to use the F1 key to bring up help information inside the virtual machine.  However, whenever I press F1 the Windows Virtual PC help comes up instead.  How to I get the F1 key to go to the virtual machine and not to Virtual PC?”

The answer to this is quite simple.  If you open the virtual machine settings, go to the Keyboard entry and select To the virtual machine:


Then all key combinations – including F1 – will be sent to the virtual machine.  There are some problems with this though:

  1. This setting is per-virtual machine – so you need to set it on each virtual machine manually (the default setting is In full screen view only)
  2. You cannot change this while the virtual machine is running – so you will need to hibernate / turn off the virtual machine first


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  • I have a DOS 6.22 application which prints receipts to a dot matrix parallel printer. The receipt has some double-high/double-wide characters which properly print when I send the appropiate escape sequences to LPT1. However, I ported this DOS app to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, added the dos vmadditions and the vm configuration file recognizes LPT1 and the receipt prints, except the escape sequences are not recognized by the printer.

  • Sorry but this don.t work , still when i press F1 in XP mode i see Virtual PC HELP

  • No, this simply doesn't work.  It would've been nice if they'd tested this out before posting it as a solution.

  • It works if you follow all of the instructions, including the one that says you can't change the setting while the machine is running. I shut down XPMode completely, made the change, and restarted it. Voila! F1 now belongs to me rather than VPC Help.

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How to stop F1 bringing up the Virtual PC Help