Sunday, May 18, 2008

Virtual PC 2007 SP1 Released...Quietly

I'm a fan of Microsoft's Virtual PC 2007.

Sure there are a large number of other virtualization engines out there.  Many are free.

However, for daily use on Windows systems, running Windows operating systems, it works exceedingly well for my needs (except for that annoying lack of USB support).

So I was happy to see noted in at least one bog I follow announcement that Microsoft had released Virtual PC 2007 SP1.

Yeah.  Not that big a deal to most folks.  It basically just adds support for additional Microsoft Guest and Host Operating Systems, most importantly Vista SP1 and XP SP3

Microsoft Download details: VPC 2007 SP1

Download details: Virtual PC 2007 SP1 Release Notes

Additional Guest Operating System support:
Windows Vista® Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Vista® Business Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Vista® Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Server® 2008 Standard
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3

Additional Host Operating System support:
Windows Vista® Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Vista® Business Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows Vista® Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3

And yes, you can still run it just fine on Windows XP Home editions as well as Vista Premium editions.  You will still get a warning notice about it being installed on a "non-supported" OS version during installation, but it will go on just fine. Don't worry too much.  It hasn't bombed out on any of my home systems yet.

Just be sure that none of your Virtual PC sessions are in a "saved" state before updating. The installer warns they might get corrupted after installation. So be sure you have shut them all down "safely" first, then upgrade.

For Linux builds I still highly recommend VirtualBox as my virtual machine of choice. Newly acquired by Sun, xVM VirtualBox 1.6 is a fantastic piece of virtualization software available for free. AND it allows for pass-through USB support, something Microsoft's Virtual PC team still hasn't figured out the value of just yet.

--Claus

2 comments:

kahping said...

Other than being a fan of Virtual PC, is there any technical reason you're not using VirtualBox on Windows? Since you seem to need USB (at least occasionally) it seems to make sense to use VirtualBox if there's USB pass-through support

Claus Valca said...

kahping. That's a good question. I do use VirtualBox on Windows. I prefer it over over VirtualPC much more that I expressed in this post.

I like using VirtualBox for "LiveCD" style ISO's and testing as well as using it almost exclusively for Linux build testing and work. Seems much more Linux friendly than VirtualPC.

Because Microsoft provides "out-of-the-box" XP/Vista vhd files for testing ( Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image ) I find it just plain easier for testing new Windows applications or techniques on these "base-ready" images. Sure I could put one of my crafted images on a VirtualBox hard-drive file, but it's mostly just a convenience factor than anything else.

So, I do use both and do highly recommend VirtualBox for anyone looking to get their feet wet. I've also used VMware: Virtual Machine Player and Virtual Server which is also an outstanding product. Their free VMPlayer coupled with resources to build your own virtual hard drives provides a great 3rd free option as well. The only thing I dislike about VMware is that it seems to hook/install much deeper into the host system than either VirtualPC or VirtualBox.

More links:

Virtual Machines for Windows - Grand Stream Dreams Blog post

Creating an XP Pro VM for the free VMware Player

EasyVMX! Create complete virtual machines for VMware Player