Testing Windows Vista Pre-RC1 on Virtual PC

I noticed a post on Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus blog this afternoon about Microsoft making Vista build 5536 publicly available. I’m not sure why they did it, but I was happy to learn that I’d be able to test a more recent and less buggy version of Vista, so I downloaded it right away. Using the now free version of Virtual PC 2004, as well as a handy little tool from Microsoft called Virtual CD-ROM control panel, I had the ISO image for this build mounted on my PC as a virtual DVD drive, and had the entire installation done in about an hour. I’m quite impressed, much more so than I was with Beta 2 (which took about 2-3 hours to install), and am looking forward to trying it out over the next few days.

Here’s VirtualPC running Vista on my Dual-Monitor XP machine:

Here’s the new blue theme, the sidebar, and Windows Photo Gallery:


5 thoughts on “Testing Windows Vista Pre-RC1 on Virtual PC

  1. Larry says:

    My experience with Vista on the Virtual PC was less than satisfactory. On my system I was able to devote 1 GB of ram to the virtual computer environment, however, Vista still ran slow as molasses in winter. Part of the problem was that the virtual environment only is set up with an 8-mb video adapter, so many of the “eye-candy” features were not available. In addition, to being slow, I found it hard to navigate around Vista and customize it to my liking. Vista is definitely not going to be an O/S that is “advanced” user friendly, customizing the operating environment and performing routine tasks will become tedious. It seems that MicroSoft broke the things that worked and added a lot of unnecessary things that are going to be hard to use.

  2. Yes, just about every OS that I’ve run in VirtualPC has been uncomfortably slow – it was useful enough to be able to get into Vista and see what’s new, how things work and so forth, but it’s quite different from running it in a non-virtual environment.

    I’ve had Vista running on a few different machines now and haven’t really noticed any difficulty in customizing or doing routine tasks, although there are some things that have really improved in my opinion. My biggest complaint so far is that some of the programs refuse to even start unless you have a certain type of video card, which you can’t really do anything about in VirtualPC. Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker are the ones I’ve missed the most because of this problem.

    Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with Vista and plan to upgrade once its released.

  3. Vista will run very slowly in VPC unless you add the extensions to VPC. Also give the virtual machine for Vista at least a gig of RAM. My Vista SP1 setup in VPC went from molasses speed to quite usable (and had sound output which it didn’t have prior) running on XP in a 3GHz VAIO with 1.5G physical RAM, by doing just those two things. You add extensions from the VPC menus. You add memory to a particular VPC from the VPC control window before you launch the particular VPC.

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