Problems with conflicting access to hardware virtualization

Some of you have reported that if you have VMware & Virtual PC installed on the same system – you see crashes on your system.  Now, it used to be possible to do this with no problems, but that has changed recently.  The cause of this compatibility issue is actually the new hardware virtualization technology in the latest processors.  The way this functionality is designed:

  • Only one program can utilize the hardware virtualization capabilities of the processor.  The first program to access it wins, and effectively locks out other programs.
  • There is no way to detect if someone is already using the hardware virtualization capability of the processor.

Unfortunately this combines to mean that there is no real safe way, today, to run both of these programs on the same computer (if you have hardware virtualization support enabled – if you turn it off in the BIOS – everything should go back to the way it was).