It is important to identify a good virtualization product if you intend to make your desktop computer a completely virtualized machine. Windows Virtual PC (ex Microsoft Virtual PC) is a fine example of a good virtualization solution for your PC. For a start, Virtual PC (VPC) is available free of charge and is a great option for users who want to test out different Windows operating systems or Windows-based applications on other platforms safely.
The latest VPC edition known as Virtual PC 07 runs on host operating systems called guests. Examples of guests include that can host VPC include Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Tablet Edition, Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise. VPC07 is a successor to previous VPC versions such as the Virtual PC 2004. It can also run on Linux but without Microsoft’s necessary additions such as essential drivers since VPC 07 does not officially support Linux.
Virtual PC features are designed to simplify common tasks performed by the user through virtualization. It comes with built-in wizards that give the user an almost hands-free operation in his or her work. The system is designed to give you total control over RAM usage, the number of drivers in use, and the size of virtual disk each task requires. Another important feature in the latest edition is its USB support as well as redirection which enable you to connect and manage external devices such as digital cameras, printers, and flash drives.
This edition also provides seamless launching and publishing of your applications. For example, you can easily run a Windows XP mode from your Windows 7 PC. Virtual PC 07 also supports multithreading. This allows users to run several virtual machines concurrently with each machine having its own thread for better performance and stability. Another great feature of VPC is the smartcard redirection in which users can connect to the host using a smart card.
There are a number of other virtualization options in the market but it is important to make a thorough comparison before you make your choice. The most popular virtualization products besides Microsoft’s Virtual PC include EMC’s VMware and Oracle’s VirtualBox. In comparison to its competitors, Virtual PC is preferred by many users due to its availability as freeware while others like VMware workstation cost as much as $189 to download. It also supports sound output on virtual machines while most of the rest do not.
Virtual PC has a simpler interface and easier to understand features than the other virtualization products. The system is also integrated with Windows Explorer which enables users to manage different virtual machines from one Explorer folder. Many users are also more confident working with a product made by Microsoft which is the same company that made their computer’s operating system.
Virtual PC is owned and developed by Microsoft. The current version 07 was released in 2007 but has had several updates since then including the latest update on 19th March, 2010 which made it possible to run Virtual PC on computers without hardware support. The necessary requirements to run Virtual PC include a computer running on Windows 7, a 32 or 64-bit processor of 1+ GHz, 1.25 to 2 GB memory, and 15 GB of hard disk space.
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