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New to Virtual PC, would it suit my plans

Posted on 2011-03-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi

I was going to create a partition to run 3 programs, an accounting program, SQL server express, and payroll program that all need to be linked.  I wanted it on a seperate partition so that I could sync the trio of programs with my laptop.

I then came across VHD and Virtual PC.  I thought Virtual Pc may have an advantage to a partition or VHD as I would only have to install the programs once.  It is also good for recovery in case I have to get going again very quickly

What I wanted to know was would I be able to sync my two virtual pc's, one on the laptop and one on PC.  Also if a colleague had a windows 7 pc as well could I lend them a copy of my virtual pc so that they could run my accounts and payroll whilst I am absent instead of me having to lend them my laptop itself?

Would I have to install Office again on my virtual pc?

Can I share folders between my virtual pc and my pc?

Do I have to backup my virtual pc seperately?

Is it easy to copy virtual pc's to different machines and copy them back.

Any advise appreciated.
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Question by:antalp71
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Loftbug earned 500 total points
ID: 35081838
Hi Antalp71,

A virtual PC/Machine is like a physical computer but running emulated or virtual hardware.
Just like a normal PC, the virtual PC/ Machine will need an OS and on top of that you need to install any programs you wish to use on that virtual PC.

So think "separate computer" when working with virtual PC's/ machines.

To synchronise data, virtual PC's have virtual network cards which can access your physical network through your physical computer's network card.
So you can share information between your computer and virtual PC and other PC's on the network.

For backing up Virtual PC's, you simply shutdown the virtual PC and backup the VHD files.
This is where a virtualisation really shines by giving us the ability to backup an entire virtual computer and restore it when needed.

For migrating the virtual machine to another computer. You take a backup of the virtual machine and simply copy and set it up on a new computer.

My advice:

Personally I recommend using VMWare workstation.
Managing VM's in VMWare is easy and centralised, Virtual PC uses a web interface which has trouble with IE7/8 (I know, rediculous) and I have found bugs with it.
WMare also has many features microsoft have not added to Virtual PC. To me I feel Microsoft have dropped support for Virtual PC for their new HyperVisor Virtualisation platform which only runs on 2008 Server and requires special hardware to run.


Hope this info helps you.

cheers,

 L







Virtual PC's also have network ca
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Author Comment

by:antalp71
ID: 35082696
Hello Loftbug

Thank you for your advice.  I will try it out to see if the user experience is comfortable using a virtual pc all day, especially if it copes with dual monitors.  If I was just to use a virtual hard drive instead and copy it to a laptop would I still need to install the programs, if they were previously installed on the virtual drive?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35083048
VMWare is not free.  Virtual PC is free.  Also, Virtual PC does NOT use a web interface.  Virtual Server does.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35083059
Also, copying the Virtual PC is easy EXCEPT for one problem - it can take a long time depending on network and disk speed - and you'd have the same problem with VMWare.  I would suggest you consider utilizing Remote Desktop on one PC - likely a better, more flexible solution.
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Author Comment

by:antalp71
ID: 35083299
Hi Leew

Thanks for the advice. I use rdp for some work at the moment but need the accounting software installed on my home pc where I work and on a laptop.  Rdp to a terminal server is fine but I would not want to rdp to pc based at home its too risky (power cuts etc).  I also dont want to work off rdp all day, very bad for pdf's etc.

My choice is install all programs on pc and laptop and have a vhd so that all the data path connections remain the same on pc or laptop, or fully use a virtual pc.  The advantage is if I go away on holiday I can place a copy of the virtual pc on a colleagues pc or the terminal server and still hang onto the laptop just in case.  I only have to worry about synching all the data from the various vpc's.
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Expert Comment

by:RobMobility
ID: 35083430
Hi,

Perhaps you should create your VMs on a eSATA, Firewire or FAST USB 2.0/USB 3.0 external hard disk?

That way you can run the same VMs on either PC?

Cheers,


RobMobility.
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