Using Vista RC1 under Virtual PC or Virtual Server

Not a whole lot has changed in the Virtual world when it comes to running Vista.  Virtual PC still can't read ISO images over 2.2GB, so you'll still need to mount the image on the host PC, or burn it to a disc and use pass through to get the disc inside the VM.

The only real change is... <drumroll /> ... the need for an updated set of the VM Additions.

To get the new Additions, head over to Connect, and get into the Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 beta.  Once you're in, you'll need to download Virtual Server, not the Beta 2 VM Additions.  Once you've installed Virtual Server, you can use the Additions ISO file it copies down to install in your Vista VM.  Now, keep in mind, you don't actually have to use the beta copy of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 - that's just where the Additions are.

Comments (15)
  1. Cox, Ken says:

    Hey Mike,

    I’m a bit confused. (Nothing unusual there.)

    You mention both Virtual PC and Virtual Server in your post…

    Do we need the Additions you mention to install Vista RC1 on Virtual PC as well? Or is that just to install on Virtual Server?

    [The VM Additions included with Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2 (that is such a pain to type…) will improve performance under both Virtual PC and Virtual Server.   It’s totally possible to run a VM without installing the Additions in the guest, but I wouldn’t recommend it – you’ll get much better performance if you do. – mikekol]

  2. Jondr says:

    Just found this blog scanning blog summaries at  Glad to find it!

    Thanks for the tip.

    I’m busy testing installations and running of some of my apps under Vista.  I did the installation of the new VM Additions. It doesn’t *seem* any different, but if it improves performance, that should help alot.  Some of my test scripts run for over a day, so every bit helps.  Wish I could afford to install Vista on a real (not Virtual) PC … .

    OTOH, Virtual PC and MSDN have saved me really a LOT of money (I pay for a similar setup at home, my employer doles out minimal support for me to function here. I pay for the MSDN subscription. <sigh>).

  3. Timmymac says:

    Just a followup regarding sound playback from Vista under Virtual PC.  You can get sound to work (not perfectly, but functionally) by using Remote Desktop Connection to login to the client.  

    For example, my host system is running Windows XP Pro, and I’m using Virtual PC 2004 to run a client of the August Vista Beta2 ver 5536.  I did the usual install of Vista, and installed the latest Virtual Additions from the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Beta.  Next I went into System Properties and enabled Remote Desktop using "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure).  Oh yeah, don’t forget to join the Vista client to the domain/workgroup of your host machine.  On the host machine, create a Remote Desktop connection to the Vista machine, setting Display to a reasonable quality and making sure that Remote computer sound is selected to "Bring to this computer."  Now, when you remote desktop to the vista client, you’ll have sound!

    Note that I didn’t come up with this by myself, I got the idea from the discussion about how to enable glass on a virtual client.  

    For an extra boost in performance, I may reinstall Vista using Virtual Server 2005 R1 or R2Beta, in order to take advantage of multiple CPUs and hyperthreading, … it should work the same, only with snappier response.



  4. Timmymac says:

    Just as a followup:  I reinstalled Vista with VS2005R2 (complete reinstall).  There’s still stuttering of the sound when I remote desktop into the client.  

    So, I downloaded VMWare Server (free program).  I added in support for USB and Sound, and did a Vista install with it. Once I had Vista up and running, I uninstalled VMWare Server and replaced it with VMWare Player.  Now I have a fully functional virtual install of Vista, with smooth sound and video.  It’s snappier responding than running under Virtual PC or Virtual Server.  Obviously, none of the existing virtual machines are going to have video quality to allow running the glass visual effects… but for general usability, VMWare is (IMHO) better.

    When all’s said and done, I’m going to stick with VirtualServer for running virtual  copies of Server 2003 (an SQL2005 virtual machine and a virtual development box running VisualStudio2005).  But for testing out Vista, the VMWare product works better.

    As always, Your Mileage May Vary.



  5. Dave English says:

    Is it just me, or is disk compaction a little dissapointing?

    Under Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta I installed the x86 Vista RC1, then the Virtual machine additions, no problem.  The VHD was about 5.9Gb

    Then I ran the precompactor, shut down the VM & Compacted the vhd.  The new disk was … about 5.9Gb 🙁

    Could it really be that there was nothing to compact?  I don’t remember the actuall sizes, but I thought I remembered that previously this gave quite a saving.


  6. nojetlag says:

    It’s really a pitty that Microsoft makes things soo complicated, why can’t they provide the Iso for the VM Additions next to the Vista RC1 download or as a seperate download on MSDN. Don’t even wanna comment on a software that still doesn’t support DVD iso in 2006. Did they shot the whole Virtual PC team ?

    [The VPC team is still around – and none of them have gunshot wounds, as far as I know.  Aside from what I’ve said in a previous post concerning VPC 2007, we don’t have anything new to announce about VPC at the moment.  Stay tuned, though.  There will be some news shortly. – mikekol]

  7. MathiasK says:


    I try to install Windows Vista RC1 on Virtual PC 2004 SP1. It all goes fine untill the expanding files part. It hangs on 0 %. The pc’s i’ve tried to install on are both Vista Capable.

    Do you have any idea what causes this problem?

  8. Anaxis says:

    Mine expands fine but fails on the last reboot and then won’t play. ;(

  9. Ray Beckwith says:

    I have a question on the installation of the updated VM Additions. I’m attempting to install Vista RC1 within Virtual PC 2004 and I followed the instructions for aquiring the updated VM Additions ISO. My problem is the install of Vista fails right after I enter the Registration Key with the "Windows cannot open the required file d:sourcesinstall.wim" error but I cannot get the VM Additions to install from here. Can anyone tell me what step I’m missing to be able to install VM Additions to a new Virtual Machine before I start the install of Vista?

  10. Shawn Thomas says:

    I had the error about "cannot open the required file d:sourcesinstall.wim" as well. This happened when installing from a burned dvd.

    Instead of wasting another DVD, I mounted the ISO as a drive in windows using Nero Image Drive, and I was able to install fine after that.

  11. I’m happy to announce that nothing has changed, folks. The VM Additions that ship with Virtual Server

  12. Kevin Tunis says:

    We received our server last Friday 9/29/06, last week we did not get to this server till about Wednesday

  13. Kevin Tunis says:

    Mike, thanks for comment explaining the settings for installing Longhorn on Virtual Sever. I have created a Virtual Machine and gave it 512 MB of RAM and 32 GB hard disk. When I first tried this yesterday, it tried to reboot itself and came back with the message BOOTMGR is missing Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart. After several times pressing the reset link as not sure on the Virtual Server what Crtl-Alt-Del is in Virtual Server; I than removed the Virtual Machine from the Virtual Server and went over to the folder where the file are and deleted the folder. I restarted installing Longhorn at 4:30pm yesterday, following your instructions having physical media, I inserted it in the drive and started powered the VM on. How long should this install take?

    Copying Windows

    Start:  Wednesday 10/11/06 4:30 pm

    Finish: Wednesday 10/11/06 9:41 pm

    Expanding Files

    Start: Wednesday 10/11/06 9:41 pm

    Finish: this has not finished at the time of this writing Thursday 10/12/06 10:38 AM

    Installing Features

    Installing Updates

    Complete Installation

  14. Stephen Stoops says:

    I had the error about "cannot open the required file d:sourcesinstall.wim" as well. This happened when installing from a burned dvd.

    I got around this by using vmware.

    So far not to happy that a competitor can run vista and a MS product has problems!

  15. melo says:

    my vista boots fine when i enter my cd key it says somthing like install.wim not working


    I seem to recall this happening if there was an error while burning the DVD.  Try mounting the ISO directly into the VM (assuming you’re using Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta or Virtual PC 2007 Beta), or reburn the DVD at 1x or 2x.  –  mikekol

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