Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 allows users to run multiple operating systems conveniently on a single computer. Users can switch operating systems as easily as they switch applications on a mouse click. Each virtual machine acts like a standalone computer.
Since each VM runs its own operating system, users can install and run x86 operating systems.
Microsoft fully supports the following operating systems running in a virtual machine on Virtual PC:
- Windows Vista Enterprise
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows Vista Ultimate
- Windows 98
- Windows Me
- Windows 2000 Professional
- Windows XP and OS/2,
But users can also install Windows 2000/2003 Server systems, Linux builds and other operating systems.
The operating system that runs on the physical computer is called the Host operating system and the operating systems that run on virtual machines are called Guest operating systems.
The main purpose of Virtual PC is to allow the user to run multiple guest machines on one real host machine.
The main advantages of VMs are:
- Multiple OS environments can co-exist on the same computer, in strong isolation from each other.
- The virtual machine can provide aninstruction setarchitecture (ISA) that is somewhat different from that of the real machine.
- With “save state” option, you can hibernate the VM instead of completely shutting it down. That way, you can reactivate a VM without going through the lengthy boot up process.
- With “undo disks” option, you can discard all changes to the VM when you close a session. That way, you can have the VM start-up exactly the same as it did the previous time.
- To directly compare competing software products, you can use duplicate VMs to provide identical platforms.
- The network adapter in a VM gets a different IP address than the host, so you can connect both guest and host to a home network. You can also setup and test a firewall or webserver without using another computer.
- NIC traffic bypasses host’s firewall.
The main disadvantages of VMs are:
- A virtual machine is less efficient than a real machine when it accesses the hardware indirectly.
- The most glaring deficiency, though, is the lack of USB support in the virtual machines. Other than a mouse or keyboard, if you want to use a USB device with Virtual PC, you’re out of luck.
- Does not support DVD iso images (Note: Does support real DVD disks in host’s DVD drive).
You can download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 for free from the following link: Virtual PC 2007.
Installing Virtual PC:
1. Click Setup. Welcome to the installation wizard for Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 screen appears (see Figure-1).
2. Click Next. License Agreement screen appears (see Figure- 2).
3. Click Next. Customer Information screen appears (see Figure -3).
4. Click Next. Ready to Install the Program screen appears (see Figure-4).
5. Click Install. Installing Microsoft virtual PC 2007 screen (see Figure-5) followed by Installation Complete screen appears (see Figure-6).
6. Click Finish to complete the installation.
7. Go to Start >> All Programs>>Microsoft Virtual PC (see Figure-7).
New Virtual Machine screen appears (see Figure-8).
8. Click Next. Options screen appears (see Figure-9)
9. Select an option to create a new virtual machine.
10. Click Next. Virtual Machine Name and Location screen appears (see Figure-10).
11. Enter name of the virtual machine in Name and Location field.
12. Click Next. Operating System screen appears (see Figure-11).
13. Select an operating system that you are going to install from Operating System list that displays all the operating systems the Microsoft Virtual PC supports.
14. Click Next. Memory (RAM Configuration) screen appears (see Figure-12).
15. Set the RAM for the virtual machine.
16. Click Next. Virtual Hard Disk Options screen appears (see Figure-13).
17. Select ‘A new virtual hard disk’ option.
18. Click Next. Virtual Hard Disk Location screen appears (see Figure-14).
19. Click Next It prompts you to specify the path where new .vhd should be created and completing the New Virtual Machine Wizard screen appears (see Figure-15 ).
Note: This will be the same folder as where your .vmc file resides by default but all.vhd files are stored on a separate drive for best performance a folder named Virtual PC on drive D or E on the Host system.
20. Click Finish. It creates new VM but no operating system is installed on it.