SolutionBase: Installing a guest operating system in Virtual PC 2007

Virtual PC 2007 makes it easy to run multiple operating systems at the same time on your PC. All you have to do is set it up properly. Diana Huggins shows you how it's done.

Virtual PC 2007 (VPC 2007) gives you an easy and cost-efficient way of consolidating multiple operating systems and legacy applications on to a single computer. Instead of using a dedicated computer for every operating system and application you require, you can install them on a single computer within virtual machines (VMs). You can switch between the VMs as though you are switching between applications.

Author's note

In this article, I will discuss how to create a new VM in VPC 2007. I will also describe how to install two guest OSs: Windows Vista and Windows XP. This article assumes that you have installed VPC 2007 on your computer.

Creating a new VM

A guest OS runs inside of a VM. This means that before you can install a guest OS, you have to create a VM. Assuming you already installed VPC 2007 on your computer, you can use the steps below to create a new virtual machine.

  1. Start Microsoft Virtual PC. The New Virtual Machine Wizard appears. If it does not, press the New button from the console window.
  2. Press Next.
  3. Select Create A Virtual Machine and press Next.
  4. Type a name for the VM. The VM file is automatically stored in the My Virtual Machines folder. Press Browse to choose a new location. Press Next.
  5. Use the drop-down arrow to select the OS you plan to install in the VM, as shown in Figure A. Press Next.

Figure A

You need to select the guest OS you plan to install.

  1. You can accept the default Random Access memory (RAM) setting and press Next.
  2. Select A New Virtual Hard Disk and press Next.
  3. Press Next to accept the default location for the virtual hard disk, as shown in Figure B. Press Next.
  4. Press Finish.

Figure B

You must tell Virtual PC where to store the virtual hard disk.

With your VM created, you can install the guest OS. The following sections describe how to install Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Installing Windows XP in a VM

You can install Windows XP Professional as a guest OS within VPC 2007. When you create a new VM, make sure you select Windows XP as the OS you plan to install (refer to Figure A).

If your virtual machine is set up, proceed with the steps described below to install Windows XP inside the VM.

  1. In the Virtual PC Console, select the VM you just created, and press Start. The prompt shown in Figure C will appear.

Figure C

To start setup, you need to insert the DVD or capture the ISO.

  1. If you have Windows XP on a DVD, insert it into your drive and press [Enter]. (If you have an ISO, select Capture ISO Image from the CD menu).
  2. The setup of Windows XP begins.
  3. Press [F6] to install a SCSI or RAID driver. Alternatively, you can press [F5] at this point to select the appropriate Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for your computer.
  4. Once the initialization process completes, setup prompts you to select the type of installation. Press [Enter] to continue with the installation of Windows XP.
  5. At this point, setup looks for any existing installation of Windows XP. Since this is a clean installation, there should be no existing copies installed.
  6. Press [F8] to accept the Windows XP Licensing Agreement and continue the setup process. Alternatively, you can press [Esc] if you do not agree with the EULA. However, you will be unable to continue with the installation.
  7. The next screen will display the existing partitions and unpartitioned space on the computer. To delete an existing partition, use the up and down arrows to select the partition, and then press [D] to delete it.
  8. Press [C] to create a new partition. Enter the size of the partition and press [Enter].
  9. Press [Enter] to install Windows XP on the selected partition.
  10. Next, you must specify the type of file system to use.
  11. Press [Enter] to restart the computer. At this point, the text-mode phase of setup is complete and the Graphical User Interface (GUI) phase of the setup process will begin.
  12. Select the Regional and Language options and press Next to continue.
  13. Type in your name and company information. Press Next.
  14. Enter the 25-character Product Key and press Next.
  15. Provide a valid computer name and press Next to continue with setup.
  16. Select the appropriate day and time settings. This also includes selecting your time zone. Press Next.
  17. Press Next to accept the default network settings.
  18. If you are installing XP Professional, the next screen will allow you to configure domain or workgroup membership. By default, setup configures the computer as a member of a workgroup.
  19. Your computer will reboot and the Windows Activation screen will appear.

Installing Windows Vista in a VM

VPC 2007 also supports Windows Vista as a guest OS. You can install the Business, Enterprise or Ultimate version within a VM. Make sure you select Windows Vista as the OS you plan to install, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Select Windows Vista as the OS you plan to install.

If your VM is set up, proceed with the steps described below.

  1. In the Virtual PC Console, select the VM you just created, and press Start. The prompt shown in Figure D will appear.
  2. If you have Vista on a DVD, insert it in your drive and press [Enter]. (If you have an ISO, press Capture ISO Image from the CD menu.)
  3. Setup will start loading the files.
  4. Select your language, time, currency and keyboard language settings.
  5. Press Install Now when prompted.
  6. Enter the Product Key (located on the DVD case). You may skip this step, but the information must be provided within 30 days.
  7. Accept the license agreement to continue.
  8. Select the Custom installation option.
  9. Choose the partition on which you want to install Windows Vista. Select Drive Options Advanced if you want to re-partition, format your hard disk, or load RAID and SATA controller drivers.
  10. Setup will copy the necessary files. Your computer may restart several times during this process. Continue with the steps below after Windows Vista boots for the first time.
  11. Choose your Country or Region and keyboard layout settings.
  12. Create a username and password.
  13. Type in a name for the computer and choose a background for your desktop.
  14. Select your Automatic Update settings.
  15. Review the time and date settings.
  16. Select your network location, such as Public Location.
  17. Press Start.

At this point, the setup of Windows Vista within the VM is complete.

Installing Virtual Machine Additions

Your final step in the process is to install Virtual Machine Additions. It provides features to improve the integration of a virtual machine running a Windows or OS/2 OS.

Virtual Machine Additions includes the following features:

  • Drag-and-drop
  • Folder sharing
  • Integrated mouse
  • Optimized video drivers
  • Time synchronization
  • Clipboard sharing
  • Improved OS performance
  • Dynamic resizing of the virtual machine window, which automatically adjusts the size of the guest OS desktop
  • Sound driver compatible with Windows Vista

Virtual Machine Additions is available for the following versions of Windows:

  • Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate

Virtual Machine Additions is included with VPC 2007, so you don't need to download any special software. However, you do need to install it within each guest OS.

To install Virtual Machine Additions:

  1. Open Virtual PC Console.
  2. Double-click the appropriate VM.
  3. Log onto the guest OS with an administrative account.
  4. From the Action menu, select Install or Update Virtual Machine Additions.
  5. Press Continue to confirm your actions, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

When prompted, press Continue to confirm that you want to install Virtual Machine Additions.

  1. Press Next when the Virtual Machine Additions InstallShield Wizard appears.
  2. Press Finish.
  3. Press Yes to restart the VM.

With these steps complete, you now have a fully-functioning guest OS running inside a VPC 2007 VM.