Windows

SolutionBase: What's new in Virtual PC 2007

OS Virtualization provides the opportunity to test hardware and software, as well as run legacy applications. You have many options for virtualization software. Diana Huggins points out some of the new features you will find in Virtual PC 2007.

Virtualization software lets you run multiple operating systems on a single computer at the same time. Instead of using a dedicated computer for every OS, you can run them all from your Windows desktop. This provides a cost-efficient way of testing and supporting application compatibility.

Virtual PC 2007 is Microsoft's latest release of its virtualization software and includes new capabilities and enhancements over its predecessor (Virtual PC 2004). Here are just a few of the new things that you can look forward to seeing in the latest release of Virtual PC.

Price

When Microsoft first introduced Virtual PC 2004, it had a price tag of $129. Microsoft eventually made Virtual PC 2004 free. Now that Virtual PC 2007 is available, it is also free of charge. The free price point is unlike one its direct competitors -- VMWare Workstation - which costs $189. This makes Virtual PC 2007 an attractive option if you are looking for virtualization software, especially if you're on a tight budget.   

Host and guest OS support

Virtual PC 2007 supports Windows Vista as a host and guest OS. The host is the OS on which you install Virtual PC. You can install the latest release of Virtual PC on any of the following host OSs:

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
  • Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

The guest OS runs inside of a virtual machine. The guest OSs supported by Virtual PC 2007 includes:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows 98 Second Edition
  • IBM OS/2 Warp 4 Fixpack, OS/2 Warp Convenience Pack 1 and OS/2 Convenience Pack 2

64-bit host support

You can run Virtual PC 2007 on x64-bit versions of Windows. This lets you take advantage of increased performance and provides greater memory scalability. Keep in mind that this only applies to host OSs. Virtual PC 2007 does not support 64-bit guest OSs.

PXE booting

When setting up a desktop computer, administrators often perform network-based installations. The virtual machine network adapter in Virtual PC 2007 now supports Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) boot. This lets you perform network-based installations of guest OSs as you if you were setting up a physical computer, without using a PXE boot floppy disk.

Multiple monitors

Some versions of Windows, such as Windows XP and Windows Vista, support multiple monitors. Virtual PC 2007 also provides support for this feature. For example, if you have two monitors, you can now run a virtual machine in fullscreen mode on one monitor while working with the host OS on the other monitor.

Hardware-assisted virtualization

Another new feature in Virtual PC 2007 is support for hardware-assisted virtualization that improves performance of virtual machines. This feature is available on computers with Central Processing Units (CPUs) that support hardware-assisted virtualization and that have it enabled in the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS).

You can enable hardware-assisted virtualization on a virtual machine basis through the virtual machine settings.

8 comments
x1
x1

I use it to run win98 and a legacy msdos application. It works fine.

timtech
timtech

I used Virtual PC 2007 on my Vista Ultimate laptop to give me a Windows XP virtual environment to run my software that Vista couldn't run. It has performed very well for me without having to create a dual-boot situation.

Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson

Unfair comparison Diana. The $189 VMWare Workstation is streets ahead of VPC 2007. The VMWare equivalent of VPC 2007 is VMWare Server - also free, arguably at least as good and more Linux friendly. And it's not so damn picky about which OSs it'll run on.

oholland
oholland

Virtual PC was not designed as a DOS shell or a Ghost menu shell. If you know or have knowledge of MS Virtual Server 2005 R2 you would understand. In the old days we used Ghost to deploy OS and Apps in addition to creating and deploying image files. Lets take it for what it is " A simulation" and use it as such. I use MS Virtual Server R2 in my org. It work just as planned but one should note; there is a down side. Do not expect the same performance as a boxed system. Use a server with enough resources (RAM + CPU) give enough RAM to the VM minimum 512 for XP or 2000 server, 1GB or more will be sweet for WIN 2003. Blessings!

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Virtual PC will always run a guest operating system really slow when operated from the hard drive in a host system.So why not install Virtual PC before any operating systems are installed.VPC would be a DOS program it would be installed on the drive pre operating system install or on a non formatted drive.VPC would be the first DOS screen that you would see,and would format the drives at its install.In DOS VPC the operating systems would be installed.I boot my computer and see VPC and the various operating systems.I can click on any system to run it.All of the operating systems could cross talk and so on.(note:I e-mailed this idea to VMWare several years ago and received no response.)

topdj
topdj

VPC - and other - need a host OS that will take care of hardware drivers. Or it has a small (build in) (linux-like)OS like XenSource which runs direct on the hardware. That is called a hypervisor.