Vista RC1 on Virtual PC 2004

I have finally got Windows Vista RC1 going in a virtual machine on my laptop. I started with it yesterday and I have to say it wasn’t the smoothest ride. That isn’t to say it is Vista’s fault but more getting it to play nicely in a virtual machine. The first couple of attempts were slow and unstable, so much so that I couldn’t actually get it not to freeze for long enough to get the virtual machine additions installed.

On a browse around the web this morning I discovered that according to Mike Kolitz (and he should know as according to his bio he is on the Virtualization team) the VM Additions that you need for the RC1 build are cunningly hidden inside the iso that comes when you install Virtual Server 2005 R2 Beta 2. You need to install that first and then attach the iso that ends up in your programs folder to the virtual machine for installation. Why they aren’t available seperately is anyones guess but there they are.

Once I managed to get those installed everything was hunky dory. Well, almost everything except I had no Internet connectivity. After a lot of prodding around I discovered that the Virtual Machine Network Services that are required on the host machine network connection had been mysteriously disabled. Virtual Server perhaps? Who knows but having enabled them again all was well.

I was hoping that, armed with the appropriate VM Additions I would get the Aero interface but alas, the emulated graphics card in Virtual PC doesn’t appear to be up to the task. I didn’t even realise that it emulated a graphics card so I spent a fair while trying to get the drivers for my card into the VM thinking that their absence was causing my initial woes… Well… you live and learn.

As for Vista, it looks great. I don’t think you can really give an informed opinion on an operating system until you use it ‘in the trenches’ but it is looking good so far.

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