Yeah, yeah, I know. I spend most of my time using OS X these days, but on occasion I do some 'slumming' in the Windows world. I do program Windows for a living, after all. Yesterday, I downloaded Microsoft's new Virtual PC 2007. I wanted to try it because it supports hardware virtualization. This means that the virtual PC that you run should run nearly as fast as your main PC. I wanted to give my first impressions of it.
So far, my first impression is not good. I downloaded Ubuntu Linux as an ISO image. Once installed, I launched Virtual PC 2007 with the ISO image mounted as the CD ROM drive. The virtual machine booted up and Ubuntu seemed to install properly. Once Ubuntu rebooted however, things got bizarre. The virtual machine window expanded to a little wider than my screen size of 1600x1200 and less than half of my screen height. (1600x400? what kinda resolution is that???) I tried everything to get it to work with no luck.
Once Ubuntu failed, I decided to try another Linux, so I downloaded Open Suse. I created a new virtual machine for it, mounted the ISO image again and 'rebooted' the virtual machine. Open Suse came up, got to the splash screen and just stopped. I rebooted several times and trie again with no luck. Finally I rebooted and forced Open Suse to 800x600 resolution. That seemed to do the trick. I left it installing when I left for work this morning. We'll see how it goes.
Another odd and really annoying thing about Virtual PC 2007 is that if you choose 'other' as the type of operating system to install, it defaults to only giving the machine 128MB! That is way too little amount of RAM! Can you imagine trying to run any relatively modern operating system with that little amount of RAM? It'll never happen.
My current theory is that VPC is having some kind of problem with virtual screen resolutions... If you let it 'autodetect' the resolution, it doesn't seem to work right, but if you force it to a certain resolution, it seems to work better.
Why did I call this article 'Bleeding Edge Virtualization'? Because not only am I using a brand new virtual machine app, I'm also trying to run it on Microsoft Vista - a brand new operating system. Maybe the two don't 'get along' very well. I didn't check this, but since Virtual PC 2007 was supposed to be a part of Vista Ultimate Edition, naturally I assumed they would work together. I'll have to try installing a version of Windows in a virtual machine and see what happens... Somehow I think that will go much better. :(