Microsoft Virtual PC

FijianTribeFijianTribe Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
Has anyone used MS Virtual PC vs setting up a physical lab to help study for the tests?

I have equipment to do an entire lab and network for practice and simulations, but I was curious as to using MS Virtual PC.


  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    I've used both Virtual PC and VMWare. (Incidentally, even the Microsoft people tend to use VMWare for their presentations, but that's neither here nor there.) In any case, using Virtual PC is a breeze, it's very easy, and you just have to do some minor configuration to make it work the way you need. You can set things like having two NICs, setting the HDD size, and the amount of RAM you want to allocate. If you only have one machine, or only have a few machines, Virtual PC is a lifesaver.

    Beware, though. Having a virtual machine, or several virtual machines, on your existing system can be a killer on resources. It's worth the effort to have the ability to get yourself a server farm in a hurry, but you need a very beefy machine to be able to run more than one virtual machine at once.

    One very good thing about Virtual PC: if you mess up, you can have a copy of your virtual hard drive ready to go. You just copy and paste, make sure the name's right, and you're up and running in a few minutes. (The virtual hard drives will allocate as much space as they need, up to whatever limit you set. So, if you set it to be a 10Gb HDD, it will only take up as much space as is needed for the current files and the OS, up to the full 10Gb. That's a good thing, when you're running out of space on your physical HDD.)

    All in all, it's a very good thing to have, especially if you only have one server box, and you want to have a second to be your CA, IAS, whatever. Easy to set up, easy to tear down, but it eats resources.

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  • hawklookshawklooks Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    yes, have been using virtual pc... only problems i had with it were physical memory, cpu speed, monitor set-up in linux to get GUI. all machines used were PIII 700Mhz; had one machine with 256 MB ram could only run one virtual machine, moved to another machine that had 512 ram and could run two virtuals at once trying to run a third would occasionally cause shutdown. finally got a machine with 1.5GB ram and could run several virtual machines without blue-screening.

    the good thing about it though is you don't have to follow the recommended install when using multiple o/s's.
    started off by having XP on the host and once virtual pc was installed, put in server2003, another version of xp, 2000 pro, linux and even tried virtual server2005.
  • ajs1976ajs1976 Member Posts: 1,945 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Like the others have said, the resources of the host pc can limit you.

    When I ordered my notebook, I got it with a 1 gb of RAM just because of virtual PC. I try not to run more then 3 virtual PCs are a time.

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  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,097 Admin
    I highly recommend the podcast Brian Randell on Microsoft Virtual PC at .NET Rocks! ( Randell has a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight on using Virtual PC, and compares its operation with that of VMWare. Randell packs in a lot of information with his quick talking style, so you might need to re-listening to this podcast a few times to catch everything. If you prefer reading, there's an 18-page transcript too (
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