How to use Virtual PC with Windows 7
Create virtual machines, run Windows XP applications
By Kevin Fogarty | CIO US | Published: 16:01, 05 November 2010
Step 4: Launch and Provision
After configuration, the Virtual PC Console remains onscreen while Virtual PC runs in the background, taking up about 17 MB of memory just sitting there.
Clicking Start opens a command window in which Virtual PC uses DHCP to try to find itself an IP address. If you haven't already provisioned an operating system image, it will think about things for a while, then tell you to go find a proper boot address.
To install the OS from a CD or ISO file, make sure the window surrounding the VM (the actual VM which looks at this point like a DOS window, not the console you used to set the configuration) is the active window on your machine. Then either insert the CD into the drive or drag your ISO file onto the CD icon in the Virtual PC command window. If you're loading the OS from a CD, go to the menu bar of the VM window, click on CD and tell it to capture the physical CD drive.
My VM didn't like 64-bit versions of either Windows 7 or Vista, but was fine with a 32-bit version of XP Home Edition. The install takes about as long as it would on a normal hard drive, but instead of asking what partition of your hard drive it should live in, it shows only unpartitioned space on the virtual hard drive you've already set up.
The install then proceeds normally, within one window of your PC rather than taking up the whole thing.
Warning: The VM doesn't know it's not the only computer on your computer. So when you click on anything in its window, will capture the cursor and not let it go again, which would be really embarrassing if anyone wandered in to see why you were cursing at your laptop.
To free your cursor, hit the right ALT key. If the VM is running in full screen mode, press right-ALT-ENTER.
After setup, walk through the configuration screen and type in a valid Windows key for the version of the OS you installed.