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 2009
Step 5: Install Additions
Before you can do anything interesting you have to install a set of addons that allow Virtual PC to do things like share folders, share the clipboard and drag and drop things between the VM window and the host OS. You have to install them separately, using the VM window, not the Virtual PC Console.
Go to the Menu bar of the VM and click Action, then pull down to Install or Update Virtual Machine Additions. It will pop up a window asking you to confirm, and then disappear as if you were kidding.
To actually run the installer, which the VM believes is either a CD or an ISO file, go to the Start button, then choose Run and navigate to what would normally be the CD drive, where you'll find the Additions ISO. Open the folder appropriate to your host OS and run the application inside. Then reboot the VM.
Step 6: Load Applications
Like most things virtual, loading applications or accessing data on the host machine is like walking across a transparent bridge. Once you know it's there, it's simple. Until you do, you're stuck.
The bridge in this case is the Shared Folder. Just as with two physically separate machines, you can exchange data or applications through a Shared Folder that both have permission to use.
Create one from the VM window. Click on Edit in the menu bar, pull down to Settings and look for the Shared Folders icon toward the bottom. Choose it, navigate to a folder on the host machine that you can use to move documents or application setup files between your real and virtual machines, and click OK.
The shared folder becomes a network drive for the VM. To launch applications, click on Start, Run, and browse to the "network drive" Z:\ , which retains the name of the folder itself. Then just launch the setup for the new application.
That's it. You're done. Well, almost.
Step 7: Stay Safe
Don't forget to install all the security updates for the new OS and install whatever antivirus or other security software you have on the host OS. The VM has to route all its traffic through your (presumably) secured host OS, but that doesn't mean a ZIP file or other potential threat won't get through and launch on the VM.
A few more warnings and tips from Steve Bass of the useful and amusing TechBite newsletter.
* If you defrag your hard drive, exclude the humungous swap file the virtual PC creates (check Options in your defragger), or it will take forever to complete.
* Some virtual PC software, including VMWare's, let you save multiple versions on your machine. Each can gobble gigabytes, however. Keep an eye on available disk space, especially on a notebook.
* Running Win7, XP and Linux on the same machine at the same time is cool, but unless your system is a monster, you'll spend more time waiting than computing.
* Finished with XP Mode or your Virtual PC for now? Shut it down to free up system resources for the rest of your work.
And another couple of warnings, from Bob Arnson, who works for Microsoft on its App-V team, but blogs as his own geek.
* When you launch a VM it still needs an operating system and applications, which take time to set up the first time around. You can clone your main OS with tools such as Acronis True Image, but it still takes time to do the install. Once you have the image, though, taking one VM down and launching another is much faster than reinstalling an OS or application on real hardware.
* The VM isn't a real machine, but it uses a real OS, for which you need a licence. And if you want to connect a cloned OS to a domain, you have to use a tool like SysReq software distribution utility.