Virtual PC 2007 too weak to offer help to those plagued by Vista compatibility issues

Virtual PC 2007 too weak to offer help to those plagued by Vista compatibility issues

Summary: Vista compatibility with legacy software wouldn't be so much of an issue if Virtual PC 2007 and users could run older versions of Windows on Vista PCs. The problem is that while Virtual PC 2007 is a reasonable virtualization environment given the price ($0), is a good arms reach away from being the product that it should be.


Vista compatibility with legacy software wouldn't be so much of an issue if Virtual PC 2007 and users could run older versions of Windows on Vista PCs.  The problem is that while Virtual PC 2007 is a reasonable virtualization environment given the price ($0), is a good arms reach away from being the product that it should be. 

Catch 22.

The problem with Virtual PC 2007 isn't so much the application's user interface (although compared to a pro product like VMware Workstation, VPC 2007 is lacking in some very basic features), and it's not performance and reliability (although again, compared to VMware Workstation, VPC 2007 is without a doubt more sluggish and unreliable), and it's not software support (VPC 2007 is a Microsoft tool aimed at Microsoft users wanting to run virtualized copies of Microsoft operating systems), it's hardware support that lets VPC 2007 down.

If I could impress on Microsoft the need to improve two aspects of VPC 2007, these would be:

  • USB support If my PC existed in a vacuum, the idea of not having USB support would be just fine, but it doesn't, and without USB VPC 2007 really isn't more than a toy.  A perfect example if you need one of how Microsoft fails to hit the mark.
  • Graphics driver When I look at what Parallels can do over on the Mac platform, I'm appalled when I realize just how basic the graphics drivers for Windows-based virtualization software actually are.  On a Mac you can run Vista with full Aero through Parallels, as well as play 3D games through it.  Why on earth isn't this possible on the Windows platform?  In this respect, VMware is no better than Microsoft in the kind of support it can offer. 

I should add to these issues the fact that Microsoft has made virtualization licensing for Vista far more complicated that it need be - what was wrong with taking an unified approach to virtualization across all versions of Vista rather than trying to play some vague (and frankly farcical) security card to cover up the fact that Microsoft really wants anyone who wants to virtualize Vista to have to pay as much as possible for the privilege.

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With Windows Vista gaining dominance as XP slips into the history books, customers are telling Microsoft that support for legacy hardware and software is a high priority (after all, who wants to trash perfectly good hardware and software, and worse still, workflow) and Microsoft is going to need to take this on board and either build backward compatibility into the next version of Vista, or offer more realistic virtualization tools to users.


Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Virtualization

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  • obvisly that fro backward compatibility MS has to support hardware

    and i write "hardware" at the title purposely because when i installed VPC2007 it has not support basic hardware only , not graphics not wireless card and so-on.
    if the target of VPC2007 was for compatibility with older software it has to be with compatibility for hardware that work with those software.
  • Is everything about Vista...

    ... in "sticking plaster" mode with patches and half-baked utilities glued into the OS?

    I think Adrian put his finger on it when he said [i]"Microsoft really wants anyone who wants to virtualize Vista to have to pay as much as possible for the privilege."[/i]. That said, it appears that the more people use Vista the less it seems to be "showtime-ready" if such a phrase exists.
  • Glad MS didn't buy VMWare!

    Since MS bought Virtual PC, hasn't that product actually "evolved" by LOSING features? (Didn't it previously allow you to run non-MS operating systems?)

    It's a good thing Microsoft didn't buy VMWare! That's a product that continues to make improvements, and one I find to be brilliantly useful.

    As for Vista, I'm not using it until my employer forces me to use it. XP suits me just fine!
    • VMWare

      I've been using VPC 2005 successfully and have no intention of moving "up" to 2007. I am considering moving to VMware instead. Since you have experience with the product, does it handle graphics better than VPC? Can I use it to run Vista or Linux on my XP systems?
      • Vista and Linux on XP

        It does permit you to run Vista and Linux on XP. I don't know much about its graphical capabilities in relation to VPC though.
  • Take Responsibility

    Surprised? Shouldn't be really. The complexity has been escalating for years. Open
    architecture demands broad support. Consumers and business, in their wisdom,
    have given just one vendor this growing task. The demands for timely support will
    continue to come from the very same people responsible for the problem. That's
    how we know who they are. It's their complaining that gives them away.

    Maybe "choice" and "cheap" were not the right governing attributes for a digital
    landscape. Maybe the Wall Mart mentality was ok for toasters, but not for

    Maybe it's time to give Microsoft a break and take some responsibility for our own
    choices, and how those choices and our record of advocacy, have contributed to
    this mess.

    A virtual OS is only as good as it's model. The same is true of a virtual user.
    Harry Bardal
    • What are you talking about.

      I would love to take a logical and stance againt your argument, but its hard considering it seems to have no logical thought behind it. Why don't you assign any of the blame to the lawmakers who decided you can copyright a standard. Something akin to if we had decided that since Harry ford came up with the Model-T No one else can produce a product that uses gasoline. Only Ford can. Every other car maker must come up with there own fuel, and then propagate it. Microsoft knows many company's could create a better version of windows for cheaper, but for some reason thats illegal.
      • Windows for Less

        Just like automakers were allowed to create cars that run on gasoline, software companies are permitted to write operating systems that run on the X86 platform. What is your problem? Do you want to use the Windows name? Other automakers were not permitted to use the name Ford. Are you wanting access to Windows source code? Other automakers were not privileged to review Ford's internal design documents.

        You mentioned previously that you saw no logic to the previous post. I must make the same claim here in reference to yours.
        • Nothing to do with source code

          Listen Microsoft can't claim anything that will run "windows" software as intellectual property, the same way Ford couldn't claim any engine using gasoline as intellectual property. Its just a standard all cars conform to due to the infrastucure being in place.
          If I Design an operating system that will run windows software. Microsoft will claim I stole there intellectual property. And we know the standards software must conform to to run so, take a guess where that info could get you. Chrysler can buy a ford, take it apart, see how it works, and try to make it better, redesign it, or make something that does the same thing in a different way. Just because Computer software and source code can be more easily copied than an engine shouldn't give company's blanket monopoly rights. Just because my program conforms to the same standards as yours doesn't mean I all out copied you.
          And no legit company will legitimately make a windows substitute because Microsoft has somehow managed to convince the legal system it deserves blanket coverage.
  • Parallels does Aero?

    Are you sure? I see they offer support for OpenGL and DirectX, but those are not the same as Aero. And there's not a word on their site about that feature being available. I did read something about a beta version of Parallels 3.5 offering Aero support, but the only version available on the Parallels site is 3.0.

    But I've never used Vista in Parallels on a Mac, so I don't know.
    Ed Bott
  • Then don't use Vista!

    So far my experience with Vista and running pre-vista software has been pretty good. I am sure there are people that have older or specialized software that is not Vista friendly but it has run everything I use at home at work developed for Win2000/Xp with no or minimal problems that were fairly easily worked out. If you have a piece of software in your environment that just WILL NOT work then use XP if it works on there. It is still a usable and supported OS. But this constant blaming of Microsoft for other peoples products not working has got to stop. Why is it always their fault if their new operating system will not work with a 16 bit or "legacy" application designed for an OS before Vista was even thought about. If Microsoft had to make sure that their future OS's worked with everything from the last 20 years we would never see upgrades and progress would slow to a halt. And if they did that they would be at fault again for slowing down progress. Call me a fanboy or whatever, but I just fail to see how everything ends up in Microsofts Blame if a software developer or a hardware developer's product does not work with the new OS. All MS can do is try and make sure it works with the most common of applications that are used on personal and business computers and I think they have done that. It is up to the software developers and hardware manufactures to get on board with the betas and pre-releases of the OS to develop patches, drivers, or new software to work with future operating systems.
    I use Virtual PC 2007 and I do not think it is terribly sluggish and runs fine for me. I have 3 virtual workstations running Windows XP on my workstation that I use for testing and running older applications. I use Vista primarily and it runs everything I need to do my job and the only reason I use Virtual PC is so I can have a workstation to test the programs our staff and students use independently of my machine since they all use XP and Office 2000 or 2003. I also install some in house developed software and test active directory policies. So far all this specialized software works on Vista, we are just not ready to roll it out to the masses until maybe next year.
  • Compatibility? Maybe

    Winfax is my biggest bitch. I use it with my suppliers every day. At least I did before I installed Vista. No support for Vista. Symantec is not supporting it. Those %$^)&)&*+!

    VPC & XP the answer... NOT. It didn't see 2 of my modems! Would not install fax printer driver! CRAP!

    OK, now I dual boot. Haven't been on the Vista side in months.

    SP2 - We will see.
  • Time to lose 32 bit platform as it would help

    Windows is still basing itself on two different platforms, on various versions and they expect to have all of it backwards compatible ? Unlike Mac which is based a 64 bit platform, Windows needs to put this stone age version to rest as it belongs in a grave somewhere in the previous 10 years. Instead they are going to grunt along with it which is one more reason why Microsoft is having issues with trying to keep pace with Mac. Why is it that a Mac can run Windows, Linux can run Windows based software but Vista is having problems running itself ? MS says it's uncertified drivers or hardware drivers that clash with their OS or other installed hardware .....etcetera, etcetera, true no doubt to some extent but I have a hard time believing Vista is a perfect OS as Microsoft wouldn't be patching it with an ongoing force or coming out with SP1 as a hurry up method to get sales going. Now if they could only get Vista to look after it's own activation, verification, and piracy issues, I might take another look at it. Sorry but I don't think it's up to me to spend my time proving to MS that it's their product, over and over and over ...........again.
  • RE: Virtual PC 2007 too weak to offer help to those plagued by Vista compat

    Vista is definitely the biggest disappointement in OS'land today. *Nothing* works. Iti s not just the compatibility but new things. IE keeps crashing for no reason, the wizards have become so maddeningly stupid that I have finally given up on Vista and miss badly XP which I thought I hated.