Windows Virtual PC Evaluation Guide
Applies To: Windows 7
Windows® Virtual PC is a new optional component that you can use to evaluate and migrate to the Windows® 7 operating system while maintaining compatibility with applications that run on older versions of Windows. This component is available as a downloadable update package for Windows 7.
If you run Windows XP and want to maintain compatibility with applications that run on that operating system, Windows Virtual PC provides an easy way for you to do this. You can use Windows XP Mode to access a virtualized instance of Windows XP that is ready for you to customize with your own applications. You can even use Windows XP Mode and Windows 7 to run applications seamlessly in Windows 7 when the applications are actually installed in Windows XP. Windows XP Mode is available for Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, and Windows 7 Ultimate.
You also can use Windows Virtual PC to run other versions of 32-bit Windows operating systems, while also running Windows 7. For information about the operating systems that are supported for use with Windows Virtual PC, see the Windows Virtual PC product page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148103).
This guide shows you both options – setting up Windows XP Mode and setting up a different operating system. Both options use virtual machines to provide the environment to run the operating system. Windows XP Mode is the faster option because it requires fewer steps. After your test environment is set up, you can try out some of the other key features of Windows Virtual PC. These include sharing of physical resources such as USB devices, printers, and hard drives.
Before you begin
To install Windows Virtual PC, you download and install the update. Windows Virtual PC requires Windows 7 and either hardware-assisted virtualization or installation of the update available at https://support.microsoft.com/kb/977206.
Virtualization support is available in processors that include a virtualization option—specifically processors with Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology, or virtualization-capable processors from Via. The settings for hardware-assisted virtualization are available in the BIOS. However, the names of the settings may differ from the names identified above. For more information about whether a specific processor model supports hardware-assisted virtualization, check with the manufacturer of the computer.
If you modify the BIOS, we recommend that you turn off the power to the computer and then turn it back on. Restarting the computer may not apply the changes.
If you do not plan to use Windows XP Mode, you also should review the list of operating systems that are supported to run in a virtual machine. For more information about the requirements and supported operating systems, see the Windows Virtual PC product page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148103).
If your computer’s processor does not support hardware virtualization, you can still install and run Windows Virtual PC by installing the update available at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=191061. However, in this scenario, only Windows XP virtual machines, such as Windows XP Mode, are supported.
To use Windows XP Mode as described in this guide, you will need to download the Windows XP Mode package. This package is used to set up the environment that is required for Windows XP Mode.
Set up your test environment
This section describes how to install Windows Virtual PC and set up the virtual machine. Additional configuration or hardware that may be required to test a specific scenario is described within the scenario.
Install Windows Virtual PC
This section explains how to install Windows Virtual PC.
To install Windows Virtual PC
Install the update package:
Double-click the file, Windows6.1-KB958559-plaftform.msu, where platform is either x86 or x64.
Review the license terms and accept it to install the update.
To complete the installation, restart the computer.
After the installation is finished, Windows Virtual PC is available from the Start menu.
If your computer’s processor does not support hardware virtualization, you can still install and run Windows Virtual PC by installing the update available at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=191061.
After you install Windows Virtual PC, you need to set up a virtual machine. You can either use Windows XP Mode, or create your own virtual machine. If you plan to use Windows XP, you should download and use the Windows XP Mode package, as explained in “Before You Begin,” earlier in this guide.
About integration features
Integration features make it easier to use a virtual machine by improving the interaction between physical resources and a virtual machine environment. These are installed automatically when you set up Windows XP Mode. For other operating systems, you install them separately after you set up the operating system. Integration features are provided in the Integration Components package, which is included with Windows Virtual PC. Integration features provide access to the following resources:
Clipboard. You can cut, copy, and paste data between the host operating system and the guest operating system. For example, you can copy a URL from the browser in a guest operating system, and paste it to a browser in the host operating system.
Hard drives. This feature makes all the drives on the host available to the virtual machine. You can easily access all host data from within the virtual machine.
Host hard drives are listed in the guest by using the computer name of the host operating system. For example, on a host computer named WindowTest, the C drive would be listed in the guest operating system as ‘C on WindowsTest’.
Printers. This feature makes it possible to use the same printers in a virtual machine that you can use on the host. To share printers, when Windows XP is the guest operating system, you must also install the printer drivers. For more information, see “Scenario 3: Print from a virtual machine,” later in this guide.
USB devices. Printers, storage devices and smart card readers are automatically shared with virtual machines. Other types of supported USB devices are supported by attaching them to the virtual machine. For more information, see “To use a USB device in a virtual machine,” later in this guide.
Integration features also make it possible for you to move the mouse seamlessly between the desktops of the host operating system and the guest operating system.
Option 1: Set up Windows XP Mode
If you want to use Windows XP as a guest operating system, we recommend that you use the Windows XP Mode downloadable package. When you use this package with Windows Virtual PC, it automatically creates a virtual machine with Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (SP3) installed on the virtual hard disk. This option is faster than creating your own virtual machine. When you use this option, you won’t have to obtain installation media. All you need is to do is download the package and run through a quick setup wizard. To obtain the downloadable package for Windows XP Mode, see the Windows Virtual PC product page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148103).
To set up Windows XP Mode
- Double-click WindowsXPMode_xx-XX.exe, where xx-XX indicates the language (for example, WindowsXPMode_en-US.exe).
We recommend that you avoid canceling the Windows XP Mode setup and should complete it in one session.
The Windows XP Mode Setup Wizard opens. Proceed through the pages of the wizard to complete the installation. To complete the setup without interruption, leave the option checked to let the wizard start Windows XP Mode when setup is complete.
When the virtual machine starts for the first time, the Windows XP Mode license agreement appears. To use Windows XP Mode, you must accept the license agreement. Click Next to continue.
Create a password for the “XPMUser” account. This is a required account with administrator privileges that the wizard creates automatically. It is the default account used to run Windows XP Mode. If you don’t want to enter the password each time you start Windows XP Mode, check Remember credentials to store the password. Otherwise, write down the password and store it in a secure location. If you want to store the virtual machine files in a location other than the default, specify the location.
Choose whether to configure Windows XP Mode for automatic updates, and then review the information about host drives that are shared automatically. Click Start Setup.
After Windows Virtual PC configures Windows XP Mode, the virtual machine is ready to use to test the scenarios.
After you set up Windows XP Mode, you may want to create additional user accounts to access this feature. If you do this, you must add the accounts to the Remote Desktop User or Administrators group. The accounts can be domain or local computer user accounts.
Option 2: Create your own virtual machine
Choose this option if you do not want to use Windows XP as the guest operating system. This option shows you how to create a virtual machine and install the guest operating system that you want to run in the virtual machine. For information about which Windows operating systems you can run, see the Windows Virtual PC product page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148103).
To create the virtual machine, you use the Create a Virtual Machine Wizard. The wizard helps you configure a virtual machine with the basic settings, which you can customize according to how you want to use the virtual machine. For example, you will specify an amount of memory for the virtual machine to use. Deciding the appropriate amount of memory for a virtual machine is like deciding how much memory to add to a physical computer. You should provide the virtual machine with enough memory to run the operating systems as well as all applications that you want to be able to run at the same time.
You also should consider the method you will use to install the guest operating system, so you can configure the virtual machine appropriately. For example, if you plan to use a network-based installation server, leave the networking option set to use the computer’s connection. If you want to use a physical CD or DVD, simply insert it in the drive after you create the virtual machine.
If you are installing a guest operating system that is one of the supported operating systems, you should install the Integration Components package after you install the operating system. Instructions for installing the Integration Components package are included in the following procedure. For more information about which operating systems are supported, see the Windows Virtual PC product page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148103).
To create your own virtual machine
Open the Virtual Machines folder. From the Start menu, click Windows Virtual PC. If the menu item is not visible, click All Programs, click the Windows Virtual PC folder, and then click Windows Virtual PC.
The Virtual Machines folder opens in Windows Explorer. From the menu bar, click Create virtual machine.
The Virtual Machines folder provides details about all the virtual machines created by the current user, as well as access to the tools for creating and modifying virtual machines and virtual hard disks.
The Create a Virtual Machine Wizard opens. Proceed through the pages of the wizard, choosing the options that are appropriate for the way you will install the guest operating system.
After the wizard finishes, the virtual machine appears in the file list in the Virtual Machine folder.
Install the guest operating system. To use a network-based installation server, skip to the next step. To use a CD or DVD, insert it into the drive and then skip to the next step. To use an .iso file, do the following:
Right-click the virtual machine in the file list, and then click Settings.
In the left pane, click DVD Drive. In the right pane, choose Open an ISO image. Click OK.
Start the virtual machine. In the file list, select the virtual machine and click Open. Windows Virtual PC opens and displays the video output of the virtual machine. The virtual machine searches for bootable media. Setup begins after bootable media is found.
After the installation is complete, install integration components. From the Tools menu of the virtual machine window, click Install Integration Components. If the installation does not start after a few seconds, click the desktop of the virtual machine and then open the CD drive of the virtual machine. Double-click the IntegrationComponents.msi file.
Proceed through the pages of the wizard to install the Integration Components package.
Restart the virtual machine. From the Action menu of the virtual machine window, click Restart.
Closing a virtual machine
Before you test the scenarios, you may want to familiarize yourself with how to close a virtual machine. When you close a virtual machine, it can be hibernated, shut down, or turned off. When a virtual machine is opened from hibernation, it does not go through the boot sequence, so it is available for use faster than if it was turned off or shut down.
When you open a virtual machine, Windows Virtual PC provides it with memory and processor resources. The length of time it takes to open a virtual machine depends in part on the way in which it was closed at the end of the last session. The length of time is also affected by the amount of memory assigned to the virtual machine.
By default, clicking the Close button (the ‘x’) on the virtual machine window hibernates a Windows XP Mode virtual machine and prompts you to choose an option for other virtual machines. You can change this behavior by modifying the virtual machine settings.
To change the default close option
Do one of the following:
In the Virtual Machines folder, right-click the name of the virtual machine, and then click Settings.
From the virtual machine window, click the Tools menu, and then click Settings.
In left pane of the Settings window, click Close.
In right pane, either select an option under Automatically close with the following option, or select Prompt for action to be able to choose the action each time the virtual machine is closed.
Click OK to save the change.
To shut down a virtual machine
From the virtual machine window, click Ctrl+Alt+Del. Or, you can press the CTRL+ALT+END key sequence.
In the window that appears in the guest operating system, click Shut down.
The operating system will go through the shutdown sequence, and the resources will be released from the virtual machine.
If you want to use an application installed in a virtual machine from the desktop of the host operating system, the user must be logged off and the virtual machine must be closed.
Scenario 1: Use a virtual machine application on Windows 7
If you are running certain versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 on a virtual machine, you can access an application directly from the desktop of the host operating system when the application is installed in the virtual machine. This makes it possible for you to run Windows 7 on the host and use existing applications while avoiding problems that can occur when applications are not compatible with a newer operating system.
Business productivity applications that run on Windows XP are appropriate for this testing this scenario. However, Windows Virtual PC does not support applications that require bidirectional sound or 3D graphics, which means that consumer applications such as games are not appropriate for this scenario.
You can publish and use virtual applications if the guest operating system is Windows XP Service Pack 3 Professional, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate. If you are not using Windows XP Mode or running Windows 7 in a virtual machine, you must install an update to test this scenario. For more information, see Update for Windows XP SP3 to Enable Seamless Applications Using Microsoft Windows Virtual PC (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140339) and Update for Windows Vista to Enable Seamless Applications Using Microsoft Windows Virtual PC (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=140340).
To share a virtual machine application with Windows 7
Open the virtual machine, if it is not already running. From the Virtual Machine folder, right-click the name of the virtual machine and click Open.
Install the application. For example, to install the application from a CD or DVD drive, insert the media in the drive. If the Autorun window appears in the host operating system, close the window. In the guest operating system, navigate to the DVD drive and start the setup.
After the installation completes, log off from the guest operating system and close the virtual machine.
Open the application from the host operating system. From the Windows 7 Start menu, click All Programs, click Windows Virtual PC, and then click the name of the application, below the name of the virtual machine.
Some applications do not install a short cut to the Start menu. In this case, you can add the short cut manually. In the guest operating system, drag and drop the shortcut from the folder where the executable is stored to the “all users” Start menu folder. For example, in Windows XP, copy the shortcut to %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs.
After a few seconds, the application opens. If you minimize the application, it appears on the task bar of the host operating system as a minimized virtual machine.
You can use the application just as if it were installed directly on the host operating system. One way to test this is to save a file. Choose the Save option, and the application will list the storage locations available on the host.
Scenario 2: Use a USB device in a virtual machine
Windows Virtual PC supports the use of USB 2.0 devices, either by sharing the device or by redirecting the device to the virtual machine. The method you use depends on which type of USB device you want to use. When integration features are installed and enabled in the guest operating system, storage devices and smart card readers are automatically shared with virtual machines on a physical computer. No additional steps are required to use these types of USB devices. (Integration features are enabled by default when you install them, but you can disable them from the Action menu.)
For other types of devices, you can use them by attaching them to the virtual machine. For example, you can attach the following types of USB devices:
USB CD writer/reader
Wireless network adapters
To attach a USB device to a virtual machine
Attach the device to the physical computer and turn on the device.
From the virtual machine window, click USB and then click Attach-device name.
Windows looks for and tries to install the device driver in the guest operating system. You can install the driver from the Internet or from a CD.
After the driver is installed, you can use the USB device from within the virtual machine the same way as you would on a physical computer. However, USB devices that are connected using these steps are not shared, so they must be released from one operating system to be available for use on the other operating system.
To make the USB device available on the host operating system, release it from the virtual machine. From the virtual machine window, click USB and then click Releasedevice name.
Scenario 3: Print from a virtual machine
There are several methods you can use to make a printer available to a virtual machine. The methods you can use are affected by whether a printer driver is available for Windows 7 and whether the printer is a local USB printer or a network printer. You also can use the XPS format when your computer is configured to support this method of printing. This scenario describes all of these methods.
To share a local USB printer
This method is appropriate when the printer driver is available for both the Windows 7 host operating system and the guest operating system. You only need to complete these steps once per virtual machine. This procedure assumes you have verified that the printer is working in the host operating system.
Make sure the printer is turned on and that the printer driver is available for installation. For example, you can install the driver from the internet or from a CD. Attach the printer to the virtual machine. From the virtual machine window, click **USB** and then click **Attach**-*device name*.
Install the printer driver in the guest operating system. You can install the driver from the internet or from a CD.
Release the printer from the virtual machine. From the virtual machine window, click USB and then click Release-device name.
Restart the virtual machine. From the virtual machine window, click Action and then click Restart.
Navigate to the virtual machine desktop, and log on if necessary. (You will be logged in automatically if you saved the credentials.)
The printer will be available for use in both the host operating system and the guest operating system.
To configure a network printer for a virtual machine
- Navigate to the virtual machine desktop, and log on if necessary. (You will be logged in automatically if you saved the credentials.)
The following steps are general, so the names of the buttons may differ from what is shown.
Open Control Panel, and then open Printers.
Click Add Printer. The Add Printer Wizard opens.
On the Local or Network Printer page, select the network printer option and complete the wizard.
If you are running Windows XP as the guest operating system, you must manually install the printer driver for each printer you want to use. The following steps describe this process.
To install a printer driver in Windows XP
Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.
Under Printer Tasks, click Add a printer. The Add Printer Wizard opens.
On the Local or Network Printer page, select Local printer attached to this computer and clear Automatically detect and install my Plug and Play printer.
On the Select a Printer Port page, click the drop-down control and select one of the TS number ports and click Next.
On the Install Printer Software page, select Windows Update or Have Disk and complete the wizard.
To print from a virtual machine
Navigate to the virtual machine desktop, and log on if necessary. (You will be logged in automatically if you saved the credentials.)
Do one of the following:
From the desktop of the virtual machine, right-click a file and click Print.
Open any application that includes a print option, and then use the print command.
All printers available to the virtual machine are listed. Select a printer, and then click OK.
You can use the XPS document format from a virtual application or a virtual machine session to save a printable file to a drive on the host, and then print the file from a printer available on the host. This option is useful if the printer drivers are not available for the guest operating system, or if you don’t want to configure the printer in the virtual machine. This method requires the following configuration:
Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack, installed in the guest operating system. You can download the Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack from the Windows Hardware Developer Central site (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=163316).
The virtual machine is configured to share the drive on the host that you want to use to save the file. (By default, when you set up Windows XP Mode it is configured to share host drives. For other virtual machines, modify the Integration Features setting to share the appropriate drive. Right-click the virtual machine and then click Settings. Under Integration Features, click Drives and then select the drive you want to share.)
A working printer is available in the host operating system.
To print by using XPS format
Create or open a file from within an application running in Windows XP Mode or another virtual machine. Select the Print command.
From the list of available printers, select Microsoft XPS Document Writer.
In the Save the file as dialog box, name the file and choose a location on the host to save the file. Each available host drive is listed with a drive letter and the computer name of the host. For example, to save a file to the D drive on a host named MyWindows7, select “D on MyWindows7”.
Switch to the host operating system and navigate to the folder where you saved the file in the previous step.
Open the file.
From the File menu of XPS Viewer, click Print.
Select the printer you want to use, and then click Print.