Running MS Virtual PC 2004 smoothly on Vista

Though it’s easy to install VPC2004 on the Vista beta builds, getting it to run smoothly is another story. This is how I got mine working with acceptable performance and behaviour

1. – Use the latest Vista beta (build 5456). This build is noticeably faster than 5384, but at the cost of some stability. If you’re using a Dell Latitude D810, don’t install the Dell modem and WLAN drivers with this build because they will break things or make your system BSOD. Also, don’t enable your WLAN/Bluetooth radios while Vista is running, your system will BSOD also. The things you have to put up with for a fast build….

2. – Install Virtual PC 2004 with SP1. This is important, don’t install Virtual PC 2004 RTM and then  upgrade to SP1; use the SP1-integrated version.

3. – Install Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise. Only install the Virtual Server services; don’t install the documentation, VMRC or Web Console. You now get the latest VMM.SYS and the Virtual Machine Additions that work with Windows 2003 SP1. If you want to run Vista on your Virtual Machine, you should download the “Virtual Machine Additions for Beta 2″ from the Microsoft Connect site. You can find this in the “Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 beta” program.

4. – Change the Startup Type of the “Virtual Server” service from Automatic to Manual and stop the service if it is running.

5. – Download the Virtual PC hotfixes zipfile here and extract the following file: vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp.

6. – Ensure that you don’t have any virtual machines running and that you do not have the Virtual Machine console started. Run the vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp update.

7. – Apply the following instructions from the KB899525 hotfix article:
I. Navigate to %root%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Virtual PC.
II. Right-click the Options.xml file, and then click Edit.
III. Add the following code to the file.

<virtual_machines>
<enable_idle_thread type=”boolean”>true</enable_idle_thread>
</virtual_machines>

Now your virtual machines should run smoothly!

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VMware ESX3 server running within VMware Workstation 6

Paul Davey from xtravirt wrote a Guide to installing VMware ESX3 on workstation 6.

“This paper illustrates how to install and configure VMware ESX3 Server to run within VMware Workstation 6. From this, VirtualCenter, VMotion, HA and DRS features can be configured.

Although performance is significantly reduced from that of a physical server, this type of environment opens considerable possibilities for portable client demonstrations and is excellent for self training and small lab environments.

This paper assumes the reader has good technical knowledge of VMWare Virtual Infrastructure 3. The paper assumes that you know how to install the VirtualCenter2, License Server and Virtual Infrastructure Client.

The hardware used in this whitepaper was an IBM Thinkpad T60P laptop, Core Duo, 3GB memory, 120GB SATA Hard Disk.

Note: Intel CPU(s) on the hardware running Workstation 6 must have the VT technology or the performance of ESX will be very poor.  It is believed that the same applies with AMD chips with AMD-V compatible CPU’s being recommended, although it is currently untested by us on this platform.”

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