Running MS Virtual PC 2004 smoothly on Vista

Though it’s easy to install VPC2004 on the Vista beta builds, getting it to run smoothly is another story. This is how I got mine working with acceptable performance and behaviour

1. – Use the latest Vista beta (build 5456). This build is noticeably faster than 5384, but at the cost of some stability. If you’re using a Dell Latitude D810, don’t install the Dell modem and WLAN drivers with this build because they will break things or make your system BSOD. Also, don’t enable your WLAN/Bluetooth radios while Vista is running, your system will BSOD also. The things you have to put up with for a fast build….

2. – Install Virtual PC 2004 with SP1. This is important, don’t install Virtual PC 2004 RTM and then  upgrade to SP1; use the SP1-integrated version.

3. – Install Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise. Only install the Virtual Server services; don’t install the documentation, VMRC or Web Console. You now get the latest VMM.SYS and the Virtual Machine Additions that work with Windows 2003 SP1. If you want to run Vista on your Virtual Machine, you should download the “Virtual Machine Additions for Beta 2″ from the Microsoft Connect site. You can find this in the “Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 beta” program.

4. – Change the Startup Type of the “Virtual Server” service from Automatic to Manual and stop the service if it is running.

5. – Download the Virtual PC hotfixes zipfile here and extract the following file: vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp.

6. – Ensure that you don’t have any virtual machines running and that you do not have the Virtual Machine console started. Run the vpc2004qfe899525_msdn.msp update.

7. – Apply the following instructions from the KB899525 hotfix article:
I. Navigate to %root%\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Virtual PC.
II. Right-click the Options.xml file, and then click Edit.
III. Add the following code to the file.

<enable_idle_thread type=”boolean”>true</enable_idle_thread>

Now your virtual machines should run smoothly!

Author: Myrtle Reed

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