Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quick Virtual PC Tips: 3rd Edition

I wouldn't consider myself a Microsoft Virtual PC guru by any means.

I have been spending more time of late in it again, and continue to bookmark useful tips for working with VPC2007 as I expand my knowledge.

GSD Virtual PC Tips: Editions 1 and 2

Yesterday afternoon I spend a MAJOR block of time working to get Dad's imaged old system up and running in a virtual PC session.

It didn't turn out good, but I learned a lot more in the process....but more on that in a later post.

GSD Virtual PC Tips: Edition 3

So here are some new links, if you are interested:

Virtual Box

VirtualBox - (freeware) - is a relatively new addition to the long list of virtualization software that can run on Windows.

What I don't like about Virtual PC 2004/2007 is that it doesn't support USB devices/connections, printers, and quite-a-few Linux Live-CD builds (which seem to wig-out on the virtual video hardware).

What I do like about Virtual PC is that it doesn't install as "deep" into the host system (like VMPlayer) and is very stable with Windows OS's that I tend to use most often.

What I do like about VirtualBox is that it is very robust and does support USB controllers so you can attach portable USB devices (sticks/drives) to your system and get the virtual machine to recognize and access them.  The interface is nice and it has lots of wizards and helps.  You can also build a library of ISO files you often access so you can quickly switch between them.

I tried working on building a virtual pc image of Dad's old machine in both Virtual PC 2007 and VirtualBox.  Virtual PC seemed to boot the WinPE 2.0 image ISO I was using much faster and get to a desktop state quicker.  But while Virtual Box was a bit slower out of the gate getting to a desktop state, once there, it performed formatting and imagex reimaging duties dramatically faster than VirtualPC and was just as stable once up and running.

So, since it is free and has quite a few added features over Virtual PC, I'd recommend at least downloading and installing VirtualBox to play with alongside Virtual PC.  Besides the two virtual hard-drive formats not being compatible with each other (not that I expected them to be) I am really liking what I am seeing in this product!


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