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Advise on HW & MS Virtual PC upgrade w/ Office XP?

Howdy -

I have Office XP Pro installed and activated on a Windows 2000 Server that I use as a workstation. I want to upgrade the CPU, the memory, and the hard drive, but before I do this I want to be "covered" as far as activation of  Office XP.

Ultimately I want to set up Windows 2K Server as a virtual machine within MS Virtual PC, hence the hardware upgrades.

So, one issue is, can I avoid reactivation of Office XP components with these hardware upgrades? I just swapped out the CPU (from a 1ghz Athlon to a 2.5ghz Athlon) and every Office app still worked.

Secondly, is it possible to move my entire Windows 2K Server installed instance + installed applications to a virtual machine in MS Virtual PC? Or does Virtual PC require a complete reinstallation of every OS onto it?

Yes, I'm ignorant. Thanks!

Bored Bystander
Thursday, March 18, 2004

I've used Virtual PC 2004 quite a bit, and as far as I can tell, there isn't a way to migrate a "real" OS install + apps to a Virtual PC.

You could try, but I believe doing this would be on the same level as copying the contents of one drive on one computer to another on a different computer and hoping everything still works.  The extent to which you are successful at this depends upon how much hardware-specific customization the OS does to itself upon installation.  You could likely do this with DOS, but I wouldn't try this with WinNT.

There are probably licensing issues to be aware of as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"isn't a way to migrate a "real" OS install + apps to a Virtual PC"

I've only been using Virtual PC for only a week now, but it looks like can set up a Virtual machine set up the same as an existing physical machine, then install/config and test it. Then you can copy that virtual machine to the real one.

I'll bet you can do it the other way around, since the Virtual PC should be configurable as having any Hard drive, etc.  so the virtual hardware looks JUST LIKE the real hardware.

Not sure about product activation. I reinstalled my Win XP Pro onto the Virtual PC running on the same PC, and it's asking for activation. That's going to be an interesting support call to microsoft.

The night after the above I had several "Matrix" dreams where I the O/S I was working in wasn't really the O/S <g>. Then I took the red pill. Or what it the Blue pill?

Mr. Analogy
Thursday, March 18, 2004

I've never understood this issue with everyone worrying about activation. Go ahead and make your changes. You have about a 90% chance that it will activate just fine. If it doesn't, you call the 800 number that they pop up on the screen, a friendly old lady answers, you read her the number and she reads you the new activation number. From my experience they must have more lax requirements if you call compared to the online system. Worst case, she may ask why your installing it and you tell her.

Really, it's a piece of cake and nothing to worry about or to take drastic steps to avoid. In the absolute worst case, assuming that you aren't cheating the system (and probably even if you are), why would you go through any effort to avoid a 10% possibility of needing to make a 5 minute phone call sometime within the 60 days after making your changes and reinstalling?


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Thanks for the advice and observations thus far.

My new question: are there any online resources for installing Virtual PC? I have found almost nothing, not even generalized descriptions of the procedure for installation.

I decided after reading the responses to set up my new HD "virgin" with Win XP Professional and install Virtual PC using that OS. Then reinstall Windows 2K Server into a new virtual machine and restore a backup I made from the old installaton of "everything" on top of W2K.

I have license counts out the yin yang because all of this stuff is coming from my Action Pack subscription... I have to believe that Bill wants me to load up all the toys and "play".

Bored Bystander
Thursday, March 18, 2004

There's a book coming soon:

Jacek Artymiak
Friday, March 19, 2004

You can create new virtual disks from an existing physical disks, but I do not know wether the resulting OS install will still be OK. I have never tried this.
Main things to watch out for when buying new hardware for running VM's: Ram. Think huge amounts of Ram! Also, your HD is going to get a workout, so think speed there also.
(At this vey moment I am running XPpro host with W2K3 and RH9 guests)

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, March 19, 2004

Well, I got everything working. Installed XP, then installed Virtual PC. Then installed Windows 2000 Server as my first guest OS into Virtual PC. Everything seems to work OK so far.

I made an "all files + system state" backup of my previous Windows 2000 Server installation and I intend to restore it to the guest OS. I think that backup+restore may be the most pragmatic option for most folks.

What surprised me was that Virtual PC installs as a fairly lightweight application. It took almost no time.  It felt like I was installing Winzip or something. The lightweight feel belies its power. "are you sure this thing is running?" ;-)

What really excites me is the possibility of running Unix, Linux, and several legacy versions of Windows side by side on the same box, without cluttering my office up with several more PCs.

Bored Bystander
Friday, March 19, 2004

I love it also.
some really great stuff:
- differencing virtual disks (divd): when you have to do something that has no (or a very longwinded) undo, try it out with a divd. It is basicaly an overlay on the virtual parent drive that stores all changes. If anything is not to your liking, just get rid of the divd, and you continue with the parent disk where you left off. If you did like the end result, just merge the changes into the parent.
-save state: The mother of hybernation. Tired of the long boot process of your RH9 machine? close the window, select "save state". It takes about 10 seconds to close, dumping its state to disk. Want to resume work the next day? Takes about 6 seconds to have it back up and running in exactly the same state, with all your apps where you left them (times depend of course on the speed of your real HD and the size of the memory of the VM you configured).
- moving VM's between physical machines: E.g. I configure a server on my notebook. To put it into production, I just copy paste the VM to a server and double click to start it there. It now runs on another (physical) machine without the rest of the world noticing anything of the move.
Love it, love it, love it!

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, March 19, 2004

How do VirtualPC compared to VMWare?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

My O/S is Windows XP Pro. Keyboard is Logitech (usual style). Mouse is a USB Fellowes.
I downloaded a trial version of Virtual PC, installed it and then installed DOS v.6.20. It boots up OK into DOS. I now wanted to install applications for DOS .e.g. XTree Gold, Norton (DOS), Word 6 (DOS) etc. I have all of these on floppy disks.
Normally, in a DOS system, one would put the floppy installation disk in Drive A, type A:/install and the program would be installed.
But with the Virtual PC, there is no facility to type anything. When it boots up into DOS and I type anything, nothing appears on the screen. The keyboard does not work. I can capture Drive A and the green light will come on when the disk is inserted but the application program will not be installed because no command to install has been given.
What should I do in order to install my DOS programs from floppy disks onto the Virtual PC?
Thanks in advance

Patrick Kissane
Tuesday, April 6, 2004

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