5 Tips for running Windows Vista 5270 on a Virtual PC

I’ve recently setup Vista 5270 as a VPC on my Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet. I was going to install it on a separate partition, but discovered that the Vista LDDM drivers for the M4 are still under development (which at this time makes switching to an external monitor difficult – and therefore difficult for using in presentations!).

Despite initial fears, after a little tweaking, things are looking very slick. I discovered some tips along the way for anyone looking to do the same:

  • You’ll need the latest Virtual PC Additions (you can get these from Virtual Server 2005 R2 or other download points via the web). This is to primarily support the simulated S3 graphics card and pointer integration. I’ve discovered drag and drop is not supported yet – neither is auto-resizing of the display when you go into full screen mode. Networking and other features are running great though.

  • When you create your disk, ensure that it's a fixed size (not dynamic).

  • If you are running this on a laptop, check your power management settings. I was experiencing some very odd timing and keyboard repetition in the VPC for a while – it was almost as if the VPC was running about 2 – 3 times quicker than the host system, even before Vista had booted. I eventually fixed this by setting the CPU speed (in the Toshiba power manager on the host) to “fixed”. I wish I’d have found this earlier – it seems to have generally improved the performance of the machine overall.

  • Glass on Vista is not supported when using Virtual PC (as the simulated S3 card does not support it). I’ve heard rumors that if you use terminal services from a machine that does have decent display hardware you can remotely connect the VPC and enjoyed some kind of simulated mode, but I’ve not tested it.

  • The best blog for more tips has to be Virtual PC Guy. Subscribed!

So far, I have been very impressed. I’ve been able to load the Expression suite and VS 2005 onto the VPC, and it’s been a great way to get up to speed with the new OS.