Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is one of the best tools available for simulating multiple operating environment on a single machine. It helps presentors, testers, developers and system admins to deploy and test different scenarios on a single physical system.
How it works:
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.
However, issues can arise when trying to install uncommon operating systems that have not been specifically targeted in the development of Virtual PC.
Virtual PC gives you freedom to create Virtual HDD (.vhd) file which holds the entire image of the targeted Operating system.
You need to create a new Virtual Machine to work. A Virtual machine represents an operating system image.
When you click on “New”, the Virtual Machine creation wizard will appear. Here you can create a new Virtual Machine (.vmc) or use an existing Virtual Maching that you already have. In this wizard it will ask you for the name and location of the .vmc file, amount of RAM you need, Operating System, A Virtual Hard Disk (Existing/New)etc. When you select a New Virtual HardDisk, it will create a .vhd file for you.
Once done you will be dispalyed with the Virtual Machine in the list. You can Start the Virtual Machine from this console. You can Remove a Virtual Machine from this console as well as you can aslo change the setting for the Virtual Maching from this Console. When you start the console, it checks for the .vmc and .vhd files, you added to this the list. If it doesn’t find any of them, it shows you error. then either you have to remove the Virtual machine or change the settings for that virtual machine.
From setting window you can set the HardDisk, RAM, Network and many other things. Once a VHD is created, it can be used by other testers as an image and you can save the installtion time. Virtual PC is most widely used by Technology Presentors, who need to demonstrate new technology frequently. Similarly, programmer can use the vpc image to resolve compatibility issues before the application goes in production.