Windows Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC is a virtualization program for Microsoft Windows. In July 2006 Microsoft released the Windows version as a free product. In August 2006, Microsoft announced the Macintosh version would not be ported to Intel-based Macintosh computers, effectively discontinuing the product as PowerPC-based Macintosh computers are no longer manufactured. The newest release, Windows Virtual PC, does not run on versions of Windows earlier than Windows 7, and does not officially support MS-DOS or operating systems earlier than Windows XP Professional SP3 as guests. The older versions, which support a wider range of host and guest operating systems, remain available. Starting with Windows 8, Hyper-V supersedes Windows Virtual PC.
Virtual PC virtualizes a standard IBM PC compatible device and its associated hardware. Supported Windows operating systems can run inside Virtual PC. Other operating systems such as Linux may run, but are not officially supported, and Microsoft does not provide the necessary "Virtual Machine Additions" for Linux.


Connectix Virtual PC, Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, and Windows Virtual PC are successive versions of the same software. Windows Virtual PC runs only on Windows 7 and only supports running Windows XP Professional and later. The earlier Microsoft versions which run on older versions of Windows are still available and support operating systems older than Windows XP. Microsoft then replaced this with Hyper-V.

Virtual PC by Connectix

Virtual PC was originally developed as a Macintosh application for System 7.5 and released by Connectix in June 1997. The first version of Virtual PC designed for Windows-based systems, version 4.0, was released in June 2001. Connectix sold versions of Virtual PC bundled with a variety of guest operating systems, including Windows, OS/2, and Red Hat Linux. As virtualization's importance to enterprise users became clear, Microsoft took interest in the sector and acquired Virtual PC and Virtual Server from Connectix in February 2003.
Virtual PC 4 requires Mac OS 8.5 or later on a G3 or G4 processor, but running Windows ME, Windows 2000 or Red Hat Linux requires Mac OS 9.0 or later. Virtual PC 4 was the first version with expandable drive images.
Virtual PC 5 requires Mac OS 9.1 or newer or Mac OS X 10.1 or later. For USB support, Mac OS X is recommended. To run Virtual PC 5 in Mac OS X, a 400 MHz or faster processor is required.
Earlier versions of Virtual PC supported the following features: :
Under agreement with Connectix, Innotek GmbH ported version 5.0 to run on an OS/2 host. This version also included guest extensions for OS/2 guests, which could run on Windows, OS/2 or Mac OS X hosts using Virtual PC versions 5, 6 or 7. A new version of the guest extensions was later included with Microsoft's Virtual PC 2004.

Microsoft Virtual PC

On July 12, 2006, Microsoft released Virtual PC 2004 SP1 for Windows free of charge, but the Mac version was not made free. The equivalent version for Mac, version 7, was the final version of Virtual PC for Mac. It ran on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later for PowerPC and was a proprietary commercial software product.
Virtual PC 2007 was released only for the Windows platform, with public beta testing beginning October 11, 2006, and production release on February 19, 2007. It added support for hardware virtualization, viewing virtual machines on multiple monitors and support for Windows Vista as both host and guest.
On May 15, 2008, Microsoft released Virtual PC 2007 Service Pack 1, which added support for both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1 as guest and host OSes, as well as Windows Server 2008 Standard as a guest OS. A hotfix rollup for Virtual PC 2007 SP1, released February 20, 2009, solved networking issues and enhanced the maximum screen resolution to 2048×1920, enabling 16:9 resolutions such as 1920×1080. A security update was released on July 14, 2009 to address an elevation of privilege vulnerability in guest operating systems.
Microsoft Virtual PC does not work at all on Windows 10 64-bit, and even on 32-bit platforms lack internet connectivity due to the lack of the VPC driver. This also impacts Windows Mobile emulators.
2007-01-026.0.142Release Candidate 1
2007-02-226.0.156Release to Manufacturing
2008-05-156.0.192Service Pack 1
2009-07-14Security Update MS09-33

Windows Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC entered public beta testing on April 30, 2009, and was released alongside Windows 7. Unlike its predecessors, this version supports only Windows 7 host operating systems. It originally required hardware virtualization support but on March 19, 2010, Microsoft released an update to Microsoft Virtual PC which allows it to run on PCs without hardware support.
Windows Virtual PC is available free of charge for certain editions of Windows 7, either pre-installed by OEMs or via download from the Microsoft website.

New features

New features include:
System requirements for Windows Virtual PC:
Windows XP Mode is a virtual machine package for Windows Virtual PC containing a pre-installed, licensed copy of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 as its guest OS. Previously, both the CPU and motherboard of the host had to support hardware virtualization, but an update in early 2010 eliminated this requirement. Pre-installed integration components allow applications running within the virtualized environment to appear as if running directly on the host, sharing the native desktop and start menu of Windows 7 as well as participating in file type associations. Windows XP Mode applications run in a Terminal Services session in the virtualized Windows XP, and are accessed via Remote Desktop Protocol by a client running on the Windows 7 host.
Applications running in Windows XP Mode do not have compatibility issues, as they are actually running inside a Windows XP virtual machine and redirected using RDP to the Windows 7 host. Windows XP Mode may be used to run 16-bit applications; it includes NTVDM, although it might be impossible to run 16-bit applications that require hardware acceleration, as Windows Virtual PC does not have hardware acceleration.
Windows XP Mode is available free of charge to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Users of other editions of Windows 7 are not eligible to download and use it. This restriction does not apply to Windows Virtual PC itself.
Windows XP Mode can also be run with the VMware Player and VMware Workstation. However, like Virtual PC itself, VMware products only import Windows XP Mode on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate to adhere with Microsoft licensing requirements.

Emulated environment

Virtual PC emulates the following environments:
Earlier versions of Virtual PC supported the following features: :
Windows Virtual PC may enable guest operating systems running inside virtual machines to interact with their host operating system beyond what is feasible between two physical computers, such as sharing physical hardware components or exchanging data. To do so however, integration components must be installed on the guest operating systems. When no integration component is installed, the only mean of communicating between two machines is through a virtual network interface. Even the mouse cursor can only be controlled by one operating system at any given time. However, once the Integration Components are installed on the guest operating systems, the following features are automatically activated:
In addition to features described above, guest operating systems may also take advantage of the following integration features but only when the administrator activates them:
In Windows Virtual PC, enabling integration features automatically makes the virtual machine user account accessible using Remote Desktop Connection.

Supported host and guest operating systems

Virtual PC allows multiple guest operating systems to run virtualized on a single physical host. Although a number of popular host and guest operating systems lack official Microsoft support, there are sometimes few, if any, technical obstacles impeding installation. Instead, a configuration may be unsupported due to Microsoft's own licensing restrictions, or a decision to focus testing and support resources elsewhere, especially when production use of a legacy product fades.
A program manager on Microsoft's core virtualization team explains what official support entails:
As a product positioned for desktop use, Virtual PC provides official support for a different set of operating systems than its server-oriented counterpart, Microsoft Virtual Server and the more advanced Hyper-V. While the latter products support a range of server operating systems, Virtual PC 2007 supports only one variety as host and another as guest; its successor, Windows Virtual PC, supports none. And, whereas Virtual Server and Hyper-V have officially supported select Linux guests since 2006 and 2008, respectively,, no Microsoft release of Virtual PC has officially supported Linux. Nonetheless, a number of Linux distributions do run successfully in Virtual PC 2007, and can be used with the Virtual Machine Additions from Virtual Server. Lastly, while 64-bit host support was introduced with Virtual PC 2007, release has been able to virtualize a 64-bit guest; Microsoft has thus far reserved this functionality for Hyper-V, which runs only on 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows 8/8.1 Pro and Enterprise, and Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education.

Table of supported operating systems

In the following table and notes, "support" refers to official Microsoft support, as described above.
Notes – details of Microsoft support
Notes – not supported installations

Linux guests

Installing a Linux-based guest environment in Virtual PC is possible. RedHat and SuSe Linux guests are supported. Linux additions are supported in Microsoft Virtual Server, and these additions should also work in Virtual PC.
Some Linux distributions must be installed in text mode, as they do not support Microsoft Virtual PC's emulated graphics chip. Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" must be installed in SafeMode, but does not require other changes.
Some websites specialize in listing operating systems that run successfully as Virtual PC guests, to help users avoid issues when installing Linux distributions or other operating systems lacking official Microsoft support.

Intel-based Mac support

announced on August 7, 2006, that Virtual PC for Mac would not be ported to the Intel Mac platform. Microsoft stated, "Alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors, combined with a fully packaged retail copy of Windows, will satisfy this need." Similar products available or announced at the time were Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion.