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.


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.