In this guest post, Mike Sherwood explains how to run Operating systems virtually inside another operating system.
Virtualization is an up-an-coming technique that many companies are using to better use their resources. Most servers can only run one program at a time, causing most companies to have as many servers as programs they need to run. To solve this, creating a virtual machine on a machine saves money and uses the available resources to capacity. You can use this technology to your advantage to run a “Virtual PC” right on your desktop, for whatever reason you have. One of the best parts about this program is the ability to run a different operating system in a window right on your desktop. (I needed to run programs for work that are only compatible with XP, while running Vista on my computer) And best of all, it’s free! I’ll show you how.
Download MS Virtual PC 2007
- Go to Download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.
- Choose the correct version for your operating system: 32- or 64-bit. (They’re at the bottom of the page)
- Click the “Download” button, and select “Save”.
- Save it to the desktop.
Install MS Virtual PC 2007
- Double click on the extension you saved on the desktop.
- Follow the instructions for a clean install.
- Disregard the warnings about “supported operating systems,” I have Windows Vista Home Premium and it works just fine.
Create a Virtual PC
When the installation is complete, it will either prompt you to create a Virtual PC or you will have to start-up the program and do it manually. If you need to do it manually:
- Start-up MS Virtual PC 2007
- When the “Virtual PC Console” window is open, click “File” and “New Virtual Machine Wizard.”
- Select “Create a Virtual Machine” and click “Next”.
- Name your new virtual computer. I try to stick to OS names to distinguish if they are running different operating systems. Click “Next”.
- Select the operating system the virtual PC will run on, and click “Next”. This will pre-select configurations for its “hardware,” but this can be changed later.
- On the next screen, select “Adjusting the RAM,” and click “Next”. This way you can choose how much of your RAM you want the virtual PC to use. It usually runs 128 MB, but if you don’t want your virtual PC to creep along, I would let it use more. My XP virtual PC uses 512 MB (1/4 of my total RAM).
- On the next screen, select “A new virtual hard disk” to create a new virtual hard drive using your existing hard drive space. It automatically partitions it for you. Click “Next”.
- Select where you want your virtual hard disk file to be saved, and choose how large you want the virtual hard disk to be. (Remember, 1000 MB=1 GB) Click “Next”.
- Click “Finish”. You’ve just created a virtual machine!
Install an Operating System Using a Boot Disk
Here comes the hard part. In order for the virtual machine to run, it needs an operating system. In order to install an operating system, you need a boot disk. The virtual PC CAN use existing virtual drives, so I installed XP using an .iso file mounted in Alcohol 120%. You can also use your computer’s physical drive if you have a physical boot disk. While the virtual machine is starting up, click on “CD”, then “Use physical drive” with the letter drive you would like to use for the boot-up. It should recognize the boot disk, and just follow the instructions to install the OS!
So there you have it, your own personal Virtual PC right on your desktop. Now have fun running XP on a Vista desktop!
Windows XP Running in Windows Vista
Mike recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems and currently works as a data manager in the organ transplant department for a large healthcare company, mainly working with Oracle databases and systems administration and occasionally doing some web development. On the side he enjoys playing with the Android platform and Windows Media Center. He also spends time as an administrator on the Mintywhite Forums.
Search Windows Guides