I find Virtual PC (now free!) incredibly useful! VPCs are just so great for testing software, control development environments, trying shareware, training courses, etc. My main system is a laptop with limited HDD space so getting to as small as a VPC as possible (yet still useful) has been a pursuit of mine the last few weeks.
If you've tried, without tweaking, an install of WinXP Pro w/ updates is over 2GB. Wth all the Windows Updates, I got my WinXP Pro .vhd to 550MB. That's small enough to fit onto a normal CD or those 1GB USB keys. I just did a moderate amount of component tweaking (w/ XPlite), it you wanted to, you could probobly get it down another 25 or even 50 MB.
Steps to a Small VPC
- Install Windows XP Pro SP2
- Install all Windows Updates
- Follow steps 3. to 6. (first group) then steps 1, 2, & 3 (second group) in here
- Follow steps 1. to 11. (first group) in here
- Complete w/ steps 4, 5, 6 (second group) in here
That's it. You'll have a real small VPC image that can be used as a base image. Just save the .vhd and make copies whenever you need a new WinXP Pro box.