Dumping Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 for VMWare Workstation 6.0

I recently decided to dump Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 in favor of VMWare’s Workstation 6.0.  Why?  The primary reason is VPC is a pretty lousy virtualization environment, has lousy support for anything but Microsoft and no one outside of Microsoft creates any virtual machines for it.   Yes, I sound bitter.  I think it’s because I am, I have had enough of all the  jumping through hoops to get Linux distributions running on Virtual PC.

I decided to download the VMWare Workstation 6.0 30-day trial to see how well it works.  I was a long-time user of VMWare products before Microsoft purchased Virtual PC.  I didn’t really make a decision to switch other than VMWare kept upgrading and the cost was too much for a poor developer and the price was right for Virtual PC, so I switched.

Apparently VMWare did not sit back and fold after losing me as a customer.    VMWare has a great following of dedicated users who create tons of virtual machines you can just download and just boot-up.  VMWare Workstation also does a great job of supporting many different vendors as the guest operation system, which work right out of the box without having to pour through forums like you do with Microsoft’s VPC.  Try getting Ubuntu Linux 7.04 to work on VPC without jumping through hoops.

I have installed Ubuntu, Fedora Core 5, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Windows Vista on VMWare without a hitch.  When setting up a new virtual machine in VMWare you are given many different operating systems to choose from, Virtual PC is primarily focused on Microsoft operating systems.  It’s understandable but it says a lot about the value of non-Microsoft OS’s.

The only drawback to VMWare’s product is the price, $189 for a single user versus free for Microsoft’s VPC.  Of course I have to think to what my father has always said, you get what you pay for.  VMWare’s products are so much more mature and the development much more focused.

I purchased my copy VMWare Workstation 6.0 from Programmer’s Paradise.   VPC was uninstalled faster than it ever booted Vista.

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5 responses to “Dumping Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 for VMWare Workstation 6.0

  1. Great writeup! I too have just about had it with MS VPC. It still doesn’t support USB and they won’t commit to ever making that happen.

    Please keep us posted on your progress in switching over to VMWare. Specifically, I’d like to know how you do your VHD conversions. I’m assuming you first have to uninstall the VPC Additions.

    John Schneider

  2. Thanks John.

    You hit on a couple good points, the USB support which I forgot to mention. I can believe they don’t get this. It shows the level of commitment by Microsoft to VPC.

    The issues with the VHD conversions are pretty cool and I will update with a future post. In short, you can open a VPC image and it will automatically convert it for you or you can download a converter utility from VMWare to assist you. VMWare has their act together and the level of commitment shows.

    I will have future write ups.

  3. Rob,
    I also switched, the final straw for me was trying to virtualize an existing laptop. I spent weeks trying to swap out drivers and changing HAL’s and ghosting to make a virtual PC image of a laptop. As I was researching how to get this to work I kept finding articles on using VMWare and how easy it was to virtualize a physical machine. I downloaded the 30 day trial clicked through the dialog boxes for importing and done. No blue screens, no changing drivers, nothing it just worked. I converted to the full license minutes later.

    John

  4. John,

    Great to hear. I am glad others are finding the same type of issues I have run into. I also do some development on a MacBook Pro and am using VMWare Fusion which is just virtualization on the Mac. The interesting thing is I have an external hard disk, formatted FAT32, which holds my virtual machines and I can open them either on my Windows systems OR..on the Mac as well.

    So, I can have a single Vista VM which runs on either host operating system.

    -Rob

  5. I switched a Linux VM from VirtualPC to VMWare. This wasn’t as straightforward as expected as the VMWare convertor only converts Windows VMs. However it wasn’t difficult and I’ve described what I did at http://swexperience.googlepages.com

    Phil

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