Alex Heaton has some news to share with Virtual PC 2007 beta that was released today. In his own words….
Virtual PC 2007 Beta is now available as a free download from connect.microsoft.com. Virtual PC 2007 is optimized to work well for Windows Vista as both the host and guest OS. This version works with both 32-bit Vista and 64-bit Vista as the host operating system as well as Windows XP and has improved performance including support for hardware virtualization technologies from AMD and Intel. So now you have an easy way to try out Windows Vista, even if you are reluctant to replace the OS on one your existing PCs; or if you have already taken the plunge you can spin up a legacy operating system in a virtual machine on your Windows Vista machine.
To install Windows Vista in a virtual machine
Dig out your Windows Vista RC DVDs or downloaded ISOs and I’ll show you how to get them up on running using Virtual PC (VPC) 2007.
1. Download VPC 2007 and install it. Start Virtual PC and select New to start the New Virtual Machine Wizard. As you go through the wizard: select Create a virtual machine, specify where you want to store the virtual machine file, select Windows Vista as the operating system, you can keep the default memory, select new virtual hard disk, specify where you want to save the virtual hard disk (you can keep the defaults), and click Finish.
2. In the Virtual PC Console, select the virtual machine you just created, and click Start. Now you are basically booting up a PC with no OS installed, and you need to install Windows Vista onto this virtual image. You should see the follow prompt in your Virtual PC window:
What you do next depends on what type of Windows Vista media you have.
· If you have a DVD, put it into your drive now and press ENTER.
· If you downloaded an ISO, go to the CD menu and choose Capture ISO image. Now browse to and open the Windows Vista ISO.
Now follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation and you’ll have Windows Vista running on Windows XP!
Note: VPC is a great way to experiment with some of the functionality of Windows Vista. But it should not be used to judge the full experience of Windows Vista as some features virtualize better than others. For example, performance of any operating system will typically not be as high in a virtual environment as it would be when running natively. Also note that while you can try out many of the great new features such as user account control, integrated search, the sidebar etc. virtualization technology is not yet suitable for use with 3D graphics so Aero Glass is not available and save the DirectX 10 gaming to your physical PC.
To install Windows XP in a virtual machine
For those not familiar with Virtual PC, it also works the other way around—you can run Windows XP or an earlier OS on Windows Vista. This can be helpful if you have an older application that does not work well in Windows Vista. Follow a similar process to that described above except choose the operating system you want to install, capture the ISO or insert the DVD and you are off and running.
Keep in mind that while Virtual PC 2007 is a completely free program Windows is not. You will need to have a license for any Windows OS that you run in a virtual environment. This is not an issue if you are using beta versions of Windows Vista but in a production environment you need a license. If you use virtual machines a lot and you are an enterprise customer you may consider obtaining Windows Vista Enterprise, which also includes rights to run up to 4 additional copies of Windows in a virtual machine using a technology such as Virtual PC for a single license price.
– Alex Heaton