Windows Virtual PC
Windows Virtual PC provides you with Microsoft's virtualization environment to run multiple operating systems at the same time on your PC. Although it does not run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 7, it does a great job when running numerous virtual machines of Windows XP, Vista and even 7 on PCs with enough system memory to support them all. While its official requirements are not that high, we recommend at least a dual-core processor for the best experience.
Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 runs as a host on Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 and has gone from beta stage in October 2006 to official release in February 2007. You can now view virtual machines on multiple monitors and render Aero effects through Remote Desktop Connection from an Aero-enabled Windows Vista host. Its Service Pack 1 update comes with increased maximum resolution up to 2048x1920 as well as support for 16:9 resolutions.
Microsoft decided to let go of some of the features from Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Virtual PC. Some of the most notable are the lack of drag-and-drop sharing, support for parallel ports or direct sharing of folders between host and guest. New features are also added and they consist of `USB support and redirection,` `Seamless application publishing and launching,` `Support for multithreading,` `Smart card redirection` and `Integration with Windows Explorer.`
Windows Virtual PC also provides you with the Windows XP Mode. This package includes a pre-installed copy of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3. The Integration features of this software comprise `Mouse cursor sharing,` `Host-initiated shutdown,` `Time synchronization,` `Process responsiveness monitoring,` `Dynamic screen resolution` as well as Audio / Clipboard / Printer / Smart card or File sharing.
Creating a virtual machine
Windows Virtual PC gives you the possibility to make use of the step-by-step mode for creating a new virtual machine. You may opt for generating a new machine from scratch, using the default settings or adding an existing VMC file.
The tool lets you specify the name and location of the machine, pick the desired operating system, use the recommended RAM or manually adjust the value, and specify the virtual disk size.
Other notable settings worth being mentioned enable you to attach CD or DVD drive to secondary IDE controller, automatically detect floppy disk, specify a serial port, named pipe or text file to connect to the virtual machine, select the number of network adapters, enable sound card and hardware-assisted virtualization, and share folders.
While Microsoft's Windows Virtual PC is not as complex as WMware Workstation or Oracle's VM VirtualBox, but it does a good job in helping you establish a friendly climate for your additional operating systems.
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