Install Vista using Microsoft Virtual PC

Tech, Tools, Windows

The Beta2 version of Windows Vista was released a few weeks back. I had quite an adventure installing the Vista on my notebook. Check this post for more on this !

One of the requirements for Vista installation is that it requires a NTFS primary partition. I was so enthusiastic that I formatted my XP partition (FAT32) and installed Vista. I did use Vista for quite some time, later I realized some of the important applications that I use were not working in Vista. Vista used to freeze frequently and I hated it when I had to forcefully shutdown the notebook. I badly wanted to go back to XP

One option I had was to go for dual boot, however none of the partition tools were working in Vista and the OEM disk I had could install XP only by overwriting the primary partition !!!

I did bang my head for not going for dual boot in the first place. Lifehacker has a nice post on how to install Vista on a dual boot configuration. This method requires you to create a new primary partition (You can use Partition Magic or GParted) and install Vista on the same.

However there is a much easier way to install Vista without creating partitions or overwriting your XP OS, this is by using Microsoft Virtual PC.

Virtual PC is an emulation suite for Apple Mac OS X, and a virtualization suite for MicrosoftVirtual PC Console
operating systems. The software was originally developed by Connectix, and was subsequently acquired by Microsoft. Virtual PC emulates a standard PC and its associated hardware. Thus, it can be used to run nearly all operating systems available for the PC.

If you want to know more about MS Virtual PC, do check the demo at this link.

Till few days back MS Virtual PC was available for a 45 day free trial , after which you had to pay quite a price for the licensed version. 2 days back, Microsoft made VPC completely free
for PC.

Here is a step by step guide to install Vista using Virtual PC

1. Download/Install Virtual PC from this link.

Do check the system requirements before installing. VPC is supposed be run on either Windows XP Professional or Windows Server. (I used VPC on Win XP Home edition, it ran without any problems)

2. Create a new virtual machine using the Wizard. (Note: Click on the first image and iterate the next using “N” key).
(Note the location of the virtual hard disk, it should be created in a partition which has enough free space to accommodate Vista)

Wizard1Wizard 2Wizard 3Wizard 4Wizard 5Wizard 6

3. Start the Virtual Machine.

4. The next step is to install Vista. You can install either by Capturing the ISO image file on your hard drive or by booting from the CD

Install Options

(I tried capturing the 3.2GB ISO image, however VPC gave some error message, I guess VPC was not able to handle the 3.2GB image )

5. Put the windows Vista CD and select the CD option -> Use Physical Drive

6. Press Enter to start the Vista Installation

Vista Installation Progress

Vista requires a minimum of 16GB of free space. You should see this disk size requirement popping up during the disk selection.During the process of installation you can see the size of the Virtual Hard Drive Image increasing.

At the end of the installation, this was the size of the VHD Image.

VHD Size

7. When I ran Vista in VPC, it was very sluggish. When I had a look at the VM settings, I realized I had to install Virtual Machine Additions

Virtual Machine Additions improves many aspects of your experience when using Virtual Server.Virtual Machine Additions is included with Virtual Server and can be installed from the guest operating system when it is running a supported operating system. Virtual Machine Additions is always installed on the guest operating system of the virtual machine. You should never install Virtual Machine Additions on the host operating system.

Install Virtual Machine Additions

In addition to running multiple “Guest” OS from within the Host OS, VPC provides many other features such as

  • Drag and Drop files between the Host OS and Guest OS
  • Setup Network between Host OS and Guest OS
  • Port the Virtual Hard Images (For E.g. You can copy the image to another PC and configure this VHD while setting up a new virtual machine)

Check this demo for more on Virtual PC technology and Customer Scenarios.

Screenshot of Vista Running on VPC

VPC running Vista

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • hogen Aug 12, 2006 Link

    Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Mohamed Feb 28, 2007 Link

    Thanx alot

  • austin Apr 29, 2007 Link

    thanks a million for the tip

  • Ashish Mohta Aug 1, 2008 Link

    Nice Tip venu. I had not tried this till now but since its free too. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks

  • Eric Dec 2, 2008 Link

    install vista

  • Eric Dec 2, 2008 Link

    I want to install

  • tae Aug 26, 2009 Link

    You use Virtal PC 2007 and both VMWare Workstation to install Windows Vista Home Premium in your XP.