This just in: Microsoft Virtual PC is now free! Now, you might ask, how does this help me as a developer? Well, let me count the ways:

  • It lets one much more easily replicate the production environment without investing in hardware.
  • It lets one test out beta software (such as IE 7 or Windows Vista) without breaking their current, working installation.
  • Because the VPC image is stored as a file, it allows one to do some serious test runs on violate resources, such as databases, then restore to status quo ante-bellum without complex scripts.


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    Hum, Redmond felt the pressure of VMWare and other virtualization applications. Is the Mac version also free?

  • myrdhrin

    They felt it but still missed a point… you can’t run Linux as a virtual machine or run the software on a Linux box.

    Ok… its Microsoft but still….

  • wwb_99

    @nblavoie–I really could not answer; I am not down with the iLife.

    @myrdhin–actually, being able to run Linux (or MS-DOS, OS/2, NT 3.51 or just about anything that ran on x86 hardware) without using extra hardware is part of the point of virtual PCs. I have SUSE installing on my new VPC as I speak.

  • paulgb

    I’m downloading it now. Does it have network abilities? I am hoping to be able to install Linux on it and set up a LAMP server for development.

  • hyperkik

    The Mac version should be free – I have it and it is truly awful – but it appears to still be for sale. With Bootcamp available for Intel-based Macs, I imagine that it will soon be unsupported, free or both.

  • Matthew Magain

    Too bad it doesn’t run on XP Home! Bah!

  • craiga

    myrdhin — Here’s a list of things that Virtual PC can and can’t run, complete with notes on how to get tricky things up and going.

    Matthew Magain — Virtual PC runs just fine on WinXP Home. It does pop up a warning message telling you that it’s unsupported, but I’ve been using it for a while running Windows and Linux inside virtual machines and I’ve had no problems.

  • Matthew Magain

    Thanks Craig! Should have persisted!

  • Eric.Coleman

    I didn’t know the Mac version of VPC even worked on the intel hardware…. if it does, that’s news to me…

  • dhtmlgod

    I might just be really stupid, but I think this has been free for a few months now…

  • wwb_99

    @dhtmlgod: not stupid, just slightly confused. Virtual Server has been free for a few months, which is a slighly different product from VPC.

  • Dave Cardwell

    @nblavoie – according to a microsoft blog,

    We’ve already made Virtual Server available for free, so it only makes sense that Virtual PC should follow suit. (Note: This does not include Virtual PC for Mac.)


  • illogix

    It is to note that VMWare Pro and VMWare Server are also free and much better products.

    If you run Linux, Xen Source is even better.

  • Dan Schulz

    Cool. I got a copy of VPC for my birthday last year. Now I feel sorry for the person who went out of his way to get it for me.

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