Windows XP Tablet Edition under Windows Virtual PC

Over the weekend I spent some time going through my dusty archives of a virtual machines, bringing them all across to Windows Virtual PC and making sure they were all up to date.  One of the virtual machines that I worked on was a Windows XP Tablet Edition virtual machine (which I blogged about back in 2005).

At first I was disappointed to notice that tablet input seemed to have stopped working.  But a bit of investigation quickly revealed the problem and the solution.  Windows XP Tablet Edition turns off all pen functionality if you connect to it using Remote Desktop – and does the same thing when using Windows Virtual PC with integration features enabled.  Disabling integration components restored pen functionality:

tablet-wvpc1 tablet-wvpc2

(The first picture above shows pen input not working – because integration is enabled, while the second shows it working correctly once integration is disabled).

Now to answer some random questions:

  • Windows XP Tablet Edition is the only Windows OS that lets you use pen input in a virtual machine.  Windows Vista and Windows 7 both check for the presence of a pen input device – which does not exist inside the virtual machine.

  • Yes, the virtual machine I upgraded over the weekend was the same virtual machine that I created for the blog post back in 2005.  Checking the creation date on the virtual machines virtual hard disk file shows that it was created one day before the original blog post.

  • For the record – the oldest virtual machine in my collection is my OS/2 Warp 4.0 virtual machine – with a creation date from mid 2001.  This is closely followed by a NetWare 3.12 virtual machine 🙂