[tip] Speed up VPC under XP SP2

[Update: Virtual PC 2004 SP1 is out and is the official, supported way to speed up VPC under XP SP2. This hack is no longer required. Get VPC 2004 SP1 here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/downloads/sp1.mspx ]

I've been using Virtual PC pretty heavily lately. I'm verifying the upgrade path for a major website project by upgrading it to ASP.NET 2.0 / SQL Server 2005 / VS 2005. I've also been testing how Monoppix works under VPC so I could try to give some decent info when it was released.

Like some other people have noticed, installing XP SP2 on a VPC image really slows performance. I picked up a pointer from Robert Scoble's link blog recently that explained the problem a bit. It seems that you're fine if you install SP2 on the actual machine, but if you install it on the virtual machine the VM Additions accelerations stop working. By the way, if you're running virtual Windows sessions on VPC and you're not using the additions, you are a bad person. Look here.

What I didn't notice on my first reading of the above explaination was that there's a way to fix the problem if you can't wait for VPC 2004 SP1 (which should be out any day now).

You can install the VM Additions from Virtual Server 2005, which will speed your VPC instance back to the pre-SP2 salad days. Here's how:

  1. Download Virtual Server 2005 free 180 day eval here. (it's only 17.4 MB!!!)
  2. Install Virtual Server 2005. You've been meaning to for a while anyways, and this is the perfect opportunity.
  3. Start up your VPC virtual machine.
  4. In the VPC menu, select CD / Capture ISO Image...
  5. Browse to the VMAdditions.iso file inside the the installation directory. The default location of the ISO is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual Server Trial\Virtual Machine Additions\VMAdditions.iso. The VM Windows instance will autorun the ISO and install the speedy new VM Additions.
  6. You will have more time to motor with Hello Kitty.


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