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Thread: VirtualPC

  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    VirtualPC

    In <!post=this post,384708>this post<!/post> there's a mention by <!profile=Drew>Drew<!/profile> of something called Microsoft VirtualPC that evidently sells for $129 US. In today's Fred Langa Newsletter he also mentions the product and seems to be a very happy camper with using it. However, he also mentions an open source product called Bochs IA-32 Emulator. I wonder if any Loungers can comment on the plus-or-minus aspect of using either dual boot or some type of virtual PC software to run more than one OS. In spite of the price, it would seem wise to stick with a MS product (ouch!) for compatibility reasons, but then... What say ye, Loungers?

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Al,

    Another option os VMWare Workstation 4 . From the link you can download a 30 day evaluation copy.

    I have used Version 3, and must say weas very impressed. I installed various flavours of Linux, FreeBSD, and different versions of Windows (98SE, WinME), all of which ran very well.

    As regards VirtualPC, I think that was recently acquired by Microsoft, so may not really be all that comaptible just yet.

    Andrew

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    Re: VirtualPC

    I have used both MS Virtual PC and VMWare. I'm using Microsoft's on my system at home to build and test a Win2k3 remote installation server on top of an XP Pro system. I've been surprised at how little performance degradation I've seen. When I used the VMWare a while back, the host PC took a harder performance hit and the networking wasn't as stable.

    I'd recommend at least getting the trial downloads and giving them a shot.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    I'm using VirtualPc on several PCs here emulating all Windows versions and all Office versions so I can duplicate what my customers have, eg Win98 and Office97. Works like a charm. I specifically like the fact that I can close a session and tell it to discard all changes made. I can't comment on any of the others as I never used them.

    But the best thing about it is, IMHO, that it is a totally separate virtual PC where you can let viri and trojans as well as spyware lose and see what they do without any risk to the main PC.
    Cheers, Claude.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Thanks for the comments, folks. I think I'll make a learning project out of VirtualPC but first I think I'd better get a couple of larger HDDs. What I've got now couldn't handle the load. Thanks again.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    After putting a 40 gig HDD in my machine, I setup three 10 gig partitions for "test" purposes and one 10 gig for other stuff. I downloaded and installed VirtualPC and got a little nervous when I finally figured out that I had to FDISK and format "C:" before my Win98SE installation could begin. This morning I finally went through the process (forgot how long and how many reboots it takes!) and now have a working virtual machine with that OS up and running. After that hour and a half, when I shut the VM down, I had lost connectivity for some reason. Maybe my cable provider couldn't "see" me, I don't know. Is it possible that when a VM machine is running, any unused hardware is disabled? Now, the real learning process begins. The first thing I need to figure out is how to let the VM machine running Win98SE see one or more of my other hard drive partitions so I can continue installing software, like TweakUI and so on. It sees my CD drive as D: so far, but there must be a way to let it see other drives. Well, so far so good and at least I didn't have to resort to dual boot!

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Yes, very interesting to see "formatting drive c:" <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Once you've got an installed OS, you should keep a copy of the image so you can quickly create new PCs. You should also install the extensions, and, to avoid network conflicts, select NAT networking (shared networking) which overcomes IP conflicts. You get there via Right Alt E There you'll also find "Shared Folders" which allows you to communicate with the rest of the world.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you misunderstand the concept of Virtual PC. All software you install in your virtual Win98 is installed into that data file, not onto any other drive. When you exit VM, you have a choice of deleting any changes made (assuming you enabled that when you created it) or saving the changes for next time you run it.

    Again, once you have a working copy of Win98 which has say TweakUI plus other "must have" software installed, take a copy of the .vhd file. After that, setting up another Virtual Win98 will only take a few seconds. Hope this helps,
    Cheers, Claude.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    <hr>...software you install in your virtual Win98 is installed into that data file... <hr>
    Thnx, Claude. Yeah I knew that and I was talking about software I want in that VM, like TweakUI and other utilities. I figured out a couple of hours ago about the extensions and shared folders. Glad you mentioned NAT 'cause that's where I'm headed for tomorrow's "exercise.' Thanks for checking in. Have a nice weekend, since it's already Saturday in Oz!

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Me again! Win98SE in my VM seems to have detected the NIC incorrectly and I don't know if that's why I can't get connectivity or not. I also wonder about, in the Settings for the VM, whether I should check the NIC or the NAT, since you used that acronym? As I said, the NIC is misidentified in Win98 so that could be the problem, because it's properly labeled in the VM settings, as you can see. What's confirming my feeling that it may be a misidentified NIC is that in Win98 when I try to ping ANYTHING, even the Linksys router (gateway) I get nothing. But if I do a loopback ping, it responds OK. Confusing me even further is that IPCONFIG /ALL shows the correct cable company DNS servers, the router (and DHCP server) at 192.168.1.1 except for that ol' incorrect NIC. The Win98 VM shows a good (DHCP assigned) IP num. Whaddya think?

    Complicating all of this is that as soon as I fire up Win98, I lose connectivity on the host XP Pro machine, but that may be tied to all the above. I'll solve that later...
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    Re: VirtualPC

    Change your adapter 1 type to "Shared Networking (NAT)" , that should overcome all your troubles. Naturally, you'll need to shut down Virtual PC, get into the settings of your W98, change it, then restart.
    Cheers, Claude.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Still didn't work and I found this in the VPC Help: VPC, when using NAT, acts as its own DHCP server using addresses starting in the 192.168.131.1 range. My Linksys router is still trying to act as the DHCP server, of necessity for my LAN to work, and it only gives me the choice of using addresses in the range of 192.168.1.x of which I'm assigning machines starting at 101. As you can see in the attachment, even after choosing NAT, closing down and restarting, the VM is being assigned the IP address of 192.168.1.103 even after I cleared the DHCP client table. I guess maybe I'm not gonna be able to use VPC or at least not be able to access the 'Net. The one last thing I can think to jury-rig is to tell the router to assign a max of 2 machines (all I have running now) and see if that will make it stay out of the way of the VPC assignment of its correct address.
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    Re: VirtualPC

    I'm answering my own post to avoid sending an unnecessary email to Claude. Suddenly, without warning <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> my copy of VirtualPC is working properly and I got internet connectivity last night. I post this followup just in case some other curious Lounger decides to try the 45 day free trial of the product. As told above, when I first fired up the product I chose to use the local host's NIC and that was a wrong choice as pointed out by Claude. However, even when I changed the setting to NAT, it wouldn't let me see the web and my router kept insisting on assigning an incorrect IP address to the virtual machine. Well, I now think that the information was getting "cached" somehow and that VPC wasn't getting a chance to use NAT. Yesterday, I downloaded, installed and ran the other product mentioned in this thread, VMWare. Now that I know better, I told it to use NAT and I think this process must've flushed out any saved info because it allowed IE to see the 'Net immediately.

    Last night, I decided to give VPC one more look and whaddya know, IE immediately saw the web, hence my speculation on what happened. By the way, I too think that VMWare puts a big hit on the host machine and is more klunky to setup than VPC. Anyway, that's my story for now.

    Edited by Bigaldoc to add: I forgot to mention that one of the things I like about VPC, as mentioned by Claude, is the ability to close the virtual machine in a "save state" (hibernation-like?) mode, keeping or discarding any changes made during that session. When doing so, I find that I can fire up this Win98 VM in about 10 seconds and it takes about 15 seconds to save changes and shut it down! Pretty impressive to me.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    Yes, and to answer the misidentified NIC question, I believe that VPC is 'spoofing' that Nic. If you think about it, NIC's have a MAC, so when you get an IP address for Network comms, the switches on your network are actually communicating to the MAC, not the IP (though the IP is used at a higher level). You can have 2 IPs for the same NIC, but you can't have to MACs/Nics on the same IP. If you think about it, VPC has to spoof everything for the OS, because it is running the OS in it's own 'shell', and that OS doesn't (and can't) know about the PC actually running it.

    Ironically, I discovered VPC, because I was looking for something to run Empire with. (Old DOS based game, that has even older roots). I love to play that game, but when I run it in a Windows environment, it takes up all of my monitors (I have 2 at home, and 3 at work). So if I want to play when something else is running, I can't see anything in the background. With VPC, I can run it in it's own window, and minimize it at will, without affecting anything in the game.

    Pretty handy.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    This has nothing to do with the comments in your post, Drew, I just wanted to post another followup to my VirtualPC chronicles for the possible benefit of a future nature.

    I've now got 22 days left on my 45 day trial and I have setup three virtual machines running Win98SE, Win2K Pro and WinME. All three are running fine, have internet connectivity and access to two "shares" on the host machine (XP Pro), so I can install software such as TweakUI, Mozilla and so on. On each VM I have been to the MS Update site, including Win98, and run ALL the critical updates and service packs. As most of you know, that sometimes takes quite awhile, but I didn't have any problems or bomb-outs. In the cases where the MS update site "decided" that there was something that needed to be installed "first" I got a bit tired, repeating the process, but it didn't happen more than two or three times. I guess they've prioritized the order of updates. I only did security/required updates and ignored all others.

    I think I'll do an XP Pro VM so I can have one to "play" in without mucking up my host setup. I wonder if I'd be able to install SP-2 in a VM when it comes out in Gold form? That would be (it seems) a good way for me to "test" it. By the way, one thing I've not tried yet is to run MORE than one of the VMs at the same time. I "only" have 640 MB RAM in this machine and it's a PIII 600, so I haven't gotten up the nerve to try it yet - but I will.

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    Re: VirtualPC

    It's unlikely that running two VM simultaneously would crash, just be rather slow. Back in the day when VPC was a Connectix product, they demoed 3 VMs regularly and the boxed product used to have a handy chart letting you know how much memory and disk space you would need for each type of VM, specifically for those inclined to run 2 or more VM at the same time. For a real geek trick, they would demo an emulator inside a VM (Windows, inside a *NIX VM, on a Mac). I'm rather pushing my 4-year old PowerBook, (333Mhz G3 running Win2K), but if my machine were a little more recent, I wouldn't hesitate.

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