How to Install Virtual PC on Vista Home Premium

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Without an operating system, your computer is just a bunch of parts. The operating system lets you input commands via mouse and keyboard, it allows programs to run and gives you access to data. One PC may contain multiple operating systems, but only one operating system can be in control--although you may run additional operating systems virtually. In a “virtual machine”--a window that behaves as though it were a separate computer--you can run another operating system, say Windows XP on a PC that actually runs Windows 7, or a totally discrete copy of the same OS you use normally--Windows Vista on a PC already running Windows Vista, for example. You might use these scenarios to test software to make sure it will run properly, to provide support to someone using another OS, or to tinker with settings without the risk of taking down your real system.


Microsoft’s Virtual PC is one of several virtualization applications, and Microsoft provides it as a free download. Installing the program itself is quite simple; prepping your computer for it takes a few more steps, including at least one reboot.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows PC with Internet access
  • Visit the Virtual PC home page (see link in References). Confirm that your computer meets the required specifications by clicking on the “Requirements” tab. Ignore the first requirement, “Hardware Virtualization Technology enabled” for now.

  • Click on the “Configure BIOS” tab to address the “Hardware Virtualization Technology enabled” issue. Click on the link labeled “Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.” On the subsequent page, click the “Download” link next to “havdetectiontool.exe.” Either save the tool, then run it, or simply click “Run” to run the tool immediately.

  • Configure your BIOS for hardware virtualization. If the Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool indicates it’s already configured, skip to Step 7.

  • Click on the “Configure BIOS” tab on the Virtual PC home page. Select your computer brand from the “Sample instructions for your PC” list. If your PC brand does not appear on the list, you must consult your user’s manual or contact the PC’s support line.

  • Copy and paste the instructions indicated for your computer to a document and print them out.

  • Open your browser and return to the Virtual PC page.

  • Click on the “Virtual PC 2007” tab. Click on the “Download Virtual PC 2007” link.

  • Choose the 32-bit or the 64-bit download, depending on which type of operating system you have. If you’re unsure, click on the “Start” menu, choose “Control Panel,” then in the Control Panel click on “System and Maintenance,” then “System.” In the “View basic information about your computer” window that appears, find the line “System type” and note whether it says “32-bit Operating System” or “64-bit Operating System.”

  • Save the setup file to your desktop or your default download location. After the download is complete, double-click on the setup file to begin installation.

  • Click “Next” to begin. Accept the license terms and click “Next.”

  • Check the pre-populated fields (name and so forth), make any changes you need to and then click “Next.”

  • Click “Install.” When the installation is complete, click “Finish.”

References

  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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