Virtual PC 2007
Virtual PC is a virtualization suite for Microsoft Windows operating
systems. The software was originally written by Connectix, and
subsequently purchased and updated by Microsoft.
Virtual PC lets you create one or more virtual
machines, each running its own operating system, on a single physical
computer. The virtual machine emulates a standard x86-based computer,
including all the basic hardware components except the processor. By
using emulated hardware and the processor in the physical computer,
each virtual machine works like a separate physical computer. As each
virtual machine has its own operating system, you can run several
different operating systems at the same time on a single computer.
Virtual PC virtualizes a standard PC and its associated
hardware. Supported Windows operating systems can
run inside Virtual PC. However, whilst other operating systems
including Linux can be installed as guests, they are not officially
supported by Microsoft.
installing a Linux-based environment is possible, it is not seamless.
For some Linux distributions the guest operating system must
be installed in text mode, as Microsoft Virtual PC only emulates
graphics at 16-bit or 32-bit color depth, not 24-bit. We
chose to install a couple of distros, one of which was Ubuntu
8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) as the guest operating system. As an
unusal quirk, Ubuntu had to be installed in Safe graphics mode, but the
rest of the installation was painless, except a few tweaks were needed
to get networking and sound working.
We also installed Virtual
Machine Additions, which is a similar tool to VMware's VMtools package.
Virtual Machine Additions provides enhanced performance and
integration features on guest operating systems, including pointer
integration, folder sharing, optimised video drivers, clipboard
sharing, and time
with Virtual Machine Additions installed, performance was not stellar,
and felt sluggish compared with the other virtualization software.
However, what was more disconcerting was during intensive testing of the software there
were a couple of Blue Screen of
Deaths, which appeared to be solely due to Virtual PC. As Microsoft
does not officially support running Linux under Virtual PC, there is
probably little to be gained by supplying Microsoft with crash logs.
There is no support for 64 bit guest operating systems.
The screenshots above shows a variety of Linux software in action
including Sound Recorder, GIMP, Dictionary, Brasero, Chess, GNOME
- Easy to install
- Simple to use, with a Graphical User Interface for
both the program window and the virtual machine console
- Configurability - control how the
product interacts with the physical computer, allocate resources
- CD and DVD ISO image files can be mounted by a
virtual machine directly
- True color graphics board emulated inside the virtual
- Configure and test upgrades and installations on
- Support for assisted hardware virtualization
- Copy, paste, drag, and drop between guest and host
- Resizable view of the virtual machine console either
into full screen or through manual resizing using your mouse
- Virtual floppy disks
- Undo function