Issues XP SP2 and VPC 5.2?

Discussion in 'Virtual PC' started by pml, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. pml

    pml Guest

    Are there any known issues with SP2 (Servicepack 2) for Windows XP prof. Sp2
    (professional) together with Virtual PC 5.2?

    I have decided to stay with VPC 5.2 for technical reasons (better
    compatibility with my guests).
    pml, Aug 10, 2004
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  2. No idea - this is an unsupported version of Virtual PC - and has recieved no
    testing on XP SP2.

    Benjamin Armstrong
    Virtual PC Program Manager

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    You assume all risk for your use.
    Benjamin Armstrong [MSFT], Aug 10, 2004
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  3. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    From my reading of the SP documentation, there's no obvious reason why
    it wouldn't work, but you've seen Ben's answer. If it were my money, I'd
    test it hard and hope it works. And have a backup plan.

    Out of curiosity, what guest compatibility issues are you seeing in the
    MS version of VPC?

    And can you post the results of your testing?
    Tim Tanner, Aug 11, 2004
  4. pml

    pml Guest

    From my reading of the SP documentation, there's no obvious reason why
    For "production", I run a server under Linux, which requires somewhat
    accurate time (within one minute), and since I havent got the w32time NTP
    server running under XP I found the time synch deamon the easiest solution.
    (My problem with XP is basically that the built in time update function
    binds to wrong IP address(!) which makes my firewall to refuse the update,
    when I set it to update using some other server rather than the built-in

    Other reasons that I hesitate to update is that I don't currently have any
    win32 guest set up (I sometime set up one to test something, but since I
    don't afford extra retail XP licenses, I just set up a guest for evaluation
    and zap it when the 15 day limit expire). The only other guest I have
    confugired is a DOS/Win 3.11 guest for, lets say, nostalic reasons. I don't
    use it for anything serious, but it's a quick way to test simple VPC
    networking things (eg; if I set up shared networking+loopback on host; does
    it work as excpected? Does it get DHCP from my firewall? etc). The
    advantage of wfwg is that it boots in seconds rather than minutes.

    With VPC 2004, there is a few things that makes me hesitate:
    I have doubt that is is reliable. The problem with NT4; that you have to set
    memory to 64 Mbit to install it and the probability that an installs fails
    with additional amount of memory added increases, and under DOS/Wfwg the
    more or less random problems which in most cases shows up as true type font
    errors. I dont use wfwg in "production" but for test purposes so in real
    life these kinds of errors is in effect just annoying; but it is this kinds
    of behavour by itself that makes me uneasy.

    VPC 5.2 does not have these kind of bugs. By myself I just found one bug
    (CMOS time dosn't work), but as time sync works, I can live with that. I'm
    now aware of other bugs and missing features, such as that VPC always use
    LPT1 on host, less networking options etc, less avalible memory (2 gigabyte
    instead of 4 for guests)l, but for my purpose (having 768 megabyte of
    physical memory, using only one ethernet NIC on host) that is limitations
    that I have accepted and can live with.

    I got VPC 5.2 after evalutating the trial 5.2 version. From my point of
    view, an upgrade would carry the following disadvantages:
    Less supported hosts/guests. I have relatives that have a Windows 3.xx
    application that doesn't run on XP, but VPC 2004 is not an option because
    they have XP Home Edition on a computer that is "rented" from the work
    (under a tax reform called "hem-PC"), purchasing XP Professional is probably
    not an option; formally; the computer is to be returned after three years.
    And, Windows 3.x is not supported, and does not run so well under VPC 2004
    so I could recomment it to a computer novice.

    "Security fix"
    No-one has mentioned what the "security fix" in VPC is; but I have a guess:
    To be able to use all memory, it has bo run under some kind of same
    security/memory access context as the operating system rather than as a user
    mode program, and therefore it has to be much tigher so the VPC application
    itself (using for instance buffer overflow) can't gain elevated priveges;
    and so that malformed CPU instructions in guests are passed thru the "VPC
    emulation layer" to the core of the CPU with "system" rights, and this as
    caused a lot of checks to be made, the VPC method of communicating from
    guests to VPC app using illegal opcodes had to be changed etc.

    Theese kinds of changes is good for an application such as Virtual Server,
    designed to run on a server grade host, with lots of memory, and running
    (server) OS:es that are approved in commercial environments, but as a
    platform to run a limited number of legacy OS:es, where the machines
    physical memory or CPU resources end before the 2 gigabyte user memory limit
    is reached, and where there is no more hints about how to make "additions"
    for unsupported OS:es, it's a step in the wrong direction.

    The AMD issue on some systems - in my point of view, it seems a bit
    bureaucratic to have to call support to get a fix for an error that renders
    a system unuseable.

    (Other neat things that are lost with VPC 2004, not really essential, are
    reduced functionality of DOS additions, the ability to use a network
    connected drive on host on the guest, DOS networking too slow for anything
    other than proof-of-concept, VNC removed and not replaced with anything more
    secure. From what I have read in the group, it also seems that parallell
    port is no longer bi-directional in VPC2004. The Link Partition feature I
    miss, but I have understanding in why it was removed.)

    VPC has one advantage: Faster performance and stability for win32 guests. I
    recognize that good performance win32 guests are good news for developers
    (having MSDN licenses), and possibly others where guest licensing are not
    issues. However, *for me*, that is not important at all since I anyway
    would have to buy additional retail (boxed) licenses to use the advantage.
    Besides pure evaluation (within 15, or if activated, 180 days), I could not
    do anything practical in *my* scenario.

    What I'm waiting for, before I upgrade is either:
    - A "service pack" for VPC 2004 which addresses the stability issues (I can
    always give my 5.2 license to my relative to run Win 3.11 and purchase a new
    VPC 2004 license - they are not so expensive)
    - A "home edition" or version built on the same core as 5.2 but with just
    the few errors fixed (CMOS time, host LPT port selection).

    As soon as I can - My XP (host) is unfortunately Swedish version and Sp2 is
    not availible for a while, but I can force it by reinstalling my computer to
    an English XP version. That however requires some preparations...
    pml, Aug 11, 2004
  5. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    I'd use normal linux NTP tools to synch the time.
    IIRC, you can set this via the registry.
    I'm unclear why this is an issue...
    Your VM should function as well unver VPC as under the older connectix
    It certainly is not perfect.
    I've had no issues installing NT4 into VPC. Admittedly, I've not done a
    LOT of it, for obvious reasons.
    I'm not sure which error you are talking about. Could this be the issue
    with the control key? (Hit left ctrl twice to fix the issue)??
    I'd argue it had other bugs - and lack of features.
    Personally, I think you have More networking options with the newer
    release of VPC (like easy support for multiple nics).
    An interesting issue. I'm not particularly clear on the exact support
    policy for 5.2 - is it even supported? And as to supported, you're never
    going to get MS to suport Linux fully in either 5.2 or later versions!

    What application is it that only runs on PRO?
    Personally, I'd not recomend VPC to a novice.
    I can't comment aside from saying the team were meant to have done a
    real vulnerability assessment on the product and the latest version is
    the outcome. I would assume that 5.2 is, therefore _more_ vulnerable,
    but I can not quantify the risk. Perhaps MS could comment.
    Personally, I think the latest version of VPC is better than 5.2 was. At
    least for me.
    I agree - there should have been a SP for this.
    Agreed. MS should have published the spec for this.
    Er - this seems to work fine.
    Can't comment, never used it.
    Er - nothing wrong with terminal services client(s).
    Not sure on either of these.
    I'd agree this would be useful.
    I doubt there will be a home edition - VPC is not a home product.
    Tim Tanner, Aug 11, 2004
  6. pml

    Scott Baker Guest

    A couple comments inline below.

    later versions!

    There's no support for the 5.2 version--other than what
    people offer here.

    You can't use shared folders to connect to a Host drive
    that is a network drive. You are only allowed to connect
    to the local drives on the Host now. This is different
    from the Connectix version.

    Or installing VNC in a Linux Guest, etc.
    Scott Baker, Aug 11, 2004
  7. pml

    Scott Baker Guest

    I have to take one item back...the 5.2 FAQ says you _can_
    call PSS.

    Scott Baker, Aug 11, 2004
  8. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    I am not certain about support - but I'm surprised all support has been
    pulled. But irrespective, it is or was kind of my point - 5.2 is not
    really 'better supported'.
    Ahh I see what you mean.

    For me, there is no issue, I can get from any guest to every share in my
    network. It works great - I don't use shared folders.
    If you want VNC (and Linux). ;-)
    Tim Tanner, Aug 11, 2004
  9. pml

    pml Guest

    For "production", I run a server under Linux, which requires somewhat
    I had tried, but since the NTP should be queried frequently, eg once every
    minute, I don't think it's popular to call an external NTP server from the
    guest that often, so the host should be running an NTP server, and for the
    ntpdate command to accept the response, the ntp server must be syncronized
    to an external source. I will give it another try... If you are aware of a
    free third party ee ntp server that runs under win32 and gives a response
    stating that time is "ok", I am willing to try it.
    People have reported in this newsgroup problem installing NT4 with more than
    64 megabyte memory configured. (I did install NT4 to test, but I gave it
    just 64 megabyte of memory, so of course it work for me to...).
    First of all, depending on which order(!) things are loaded by autoexec.bat,
    when you run in somewhoat higher resolution you may get error messages about
    true type fonts, and dialogue boxes where parts are missing; if not
    immediately, after you have entered the same program the third time. Also,
    loading TSRs such as network drivers in autoexec.bat high (with emm386 as
    memory manager) might get autoexec.bat to halt (hang).

    Besides from this, there is the performance issue. But since I use Linux (32
    bit) more than I use DOS, the performance is acceptable (the "speed" of
    Linux in VPC 2004 is about 80-90% of the speed of VPC 5.2, but speed of wfwg
    is 20-50% of the speed in VPC 5.2).

    About the control key: No idea, I never had any special unresolved keyboard
    issues with VPC. The keyboard issues I'm aware of is the common "stuck
    modifyer key", but that was more annoying when I played around with NT4TSE a
    few years ago, "AltGr" as host key (which make me change it to RightCtrl
    almost immediately), and that when using VNC, the VNC app *must* use US EN
    keyboard layout for it to work. "unfortunately" I use an industrial standard
    102 button keyboard connected to PS2 port so I have been spared from exotic
    laptop layout hassles.
    You can se it this way: If something in a software is "supported", I see
    that as a sign that it is something in the software that the designers has
    considered and that it *should* work, rather than something that a first
    line support desk has extensive knowledge in. And the opposite - "not
    supported" - can be takens as a "caveat" sign; something that the system is
    very likely to have severe issues with.

    Like a TV and a VCR - If a manual to a TV set specifies that connecting a
    VCR to it is supported, it just means that it should work; but it could also
    add the statement "overseas VCRs not supported" meaning that though a VCR
    from say Russsia can physically be connected, the TV set would not work with
    it because the TV set does not work with SECAM. Also, that though connecting
    a VCR is supported, the TV manufacturer can only give advice how to connect
    the VCR- not give further support, such as how to program the VCR.
    The VPC 2004 application... Recently people here had said that there may be
    incompatibility issues becuase of the networking (but I doubt that, PRO and
    HE should not be that different because the VPC networking is on a lower
    level, "below" the IP stack; and as far as I now the main difference between
    HE and PRO are the ability to join a domian).

    I was thinking of setting upp a VPC that launches the application directly
    in the boot process, after the user double click a launch-VM desktop icon;
    the user should of course be spared from setting up the VM itself.
    pml, Aug 12, 2004
  10. pml

    pml Guest

    From my reading of the SP documentation, there's no obvious reason why
    The areas where I see VPC and SP2 intersect seems to be:
    - "Data Execution Prevention" (memory model, and marking of allocated
    memory as executable); trouble with PAE
    - Wireless networking wizard
    - The new integrated firewall
    - DirectX 9.0c (but I don't expect any trouble *here*)

    I guess that some of the above is possible to turn off or set in such a
    state that it doesn't cause VPC any problems. There could be some bugs in
    the VPC "user interface" due to changes in OLE/DLL registration and security
    pml, Aug 12, 2004
  11. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    I don't think you'd need once a minute - surely every few hours or so
    should suffice. Alternatively, as you suggest, have a service in the
    host, and use it from the guest.
    Try googling - I came up with a bunch of hits. But I've NOT tried it! might help too.
    I've not experienced any such issues - that I can recall!
    Again, I've not seen these as I do not use DOS/Windows 3.x.
    You have options.

    One options is to run your host as Linux, and run Windows in a VM using
    Vmware. From the sounds of your issues, you may find this a better

    As to performance - in my experience, a modern 3ghz PIV with 1gb of ram
    (or a 1.7 Centrino), running XP Pro will happily run one or two hefty
    VMs (say one at 250 and one at around 500) or several smaller (ie 128mb)
    VMs fairly comfortably. The problem you get with smaller memory VMs is
    paging - the smaller the memory you give the vm, the more it will page,
    which typically means disk I/O on the host. You have to experiment a
    I think you miss what I'm saying. From a MS point of view, what they
    support in VPC5.2 vs VPC2004 is unlikely to be radically different. I
    can't see MS ever supporting Linux in _either_ distribution.

    Now this is not to be confused with 'best efforts'. From what we can
    tell, MS do actually test some of these non-supported scenarios and
    probably fix (real) bugs exposed by non-MS OS's. I'd also bet that they
    test hard stuff like running server or running on server too - if only
    so all those folks from MS can demonstrate cool MS software at PDC or
    TechEd and on all the webcasts.

    If you look at what's formally supported, you'll see VPC is aimed at
    running some legacy applications on top of XP in a corporate
    environment. It's not aimed at running Linux, or Server applications.
    And given this market, I think the current pricepoitnt $129 list) is
    probably about right. If you want better support for Linux, at least
    look at Vmware.

    Another issue to consider is licensing. If you are a firm upgrading the
    desktop to XP, you'll need a license for XP on the host anyway, so you
    should be able to reuse the older license (i.e. the Win9x/2000) within
    your VM. For the home user who wants lots of cool VMs, there is an issue
    of paying for the licenses, which again points to the target market
    noted earlier.
    Now this is something I confess to not having tried, but I've just
    checked and you are right. Again, it fits the target market.
    Again, I've not tried this so I can't say. The VPC web site suggests it
    needs XP Pro or Tablet.
    That should be easy to achieve. You'll have to do some copying of the
    image (i.e. the hard disk and configuration file). You _might_ need to
    run a script to configure it if you have any sort of non-standard
    environment. You could probably even deploy via GPO.
    Tim Tanner, Aug 12, 2004
  12. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    I ran several versions of the beta and saw no issues with any of these,
    although I did not test PAE or NX (all my systems are standard Intel). I
    had loads of problems with wireless on the SP2 beta, but that did not
    seem to affect VPC. If wireless was not working on the host, it did not
    work on the guest either - but once the host was fixed (typically via a
    reboot), everything worked fine.

    As for the firewall, I run it on the guest and host anyway! No issues
    other than what you expect. One thing I have not tested is to see if the
    XP firewall blocks traffic to the VM. I'd guess it should not do so,
    since the driver will putting the card into promiscuous mode, and
    stripping off the frames bound to the VM before the XP firewall gets to
    see the IP datagram. But that is only a guess - MS could confirm.
    Again, not that I've seen here.
    Tim Tanner, Aug 12, 2004
  13. pml

    Robert Comer Guest

    I don't think you'd need once a minute - surely every few hours or so
    He would need every minute check if he needs the actual current time,
    there's no guarantee that the VM's software clock is updated nearly enough
    to keep good time. we're talking possibly big discrepancies in just a few
    minutes time...

    - Bob Comer
    Robert Comer, Aug 12, 2004
  14. pml

    Scott Baker Guest

    The problem installing NT if too much memory is allocated
    to the VM was a common issue around the first of the
    year. In general, using 64MB to do the install worked for
    most people. Some were able to use 96MB, and some didn't
    have success unless they used 32MB.

    Scott Baker, Aug 12, 2004
  15. pml

    pml Guest

    If you look at what's formally supported, you'll see VPC is aimed at
    With the exception where the legacy platform is 16 bit DOS with networking,
    which is unfeasble due to the perfoemance (especially networking
    Yes, but only if (1) the host has been installed using a retail (boxed)
    license, and (2) the upgrade is done by acquiring a new license, either
    retail/boxed version, or OEM version together with a substntial host system
    upgrade, and not using an "upgrade edition".

    It is likely that most boxes are initially installed using an OEM version
    (note that Volume licenses such as Select not can be used for new installs
    only upgrades), and if the original OS is a OEM version (which probably is
    the most likely if the computer is a brand one), the license cannot be moved
    to another "computer" such as a guest.

    The second part is that if the upgrade is done using an upgrade license, the
    license for the former host OS will continuse to be tied to the host until
    the host is re-installed with a "full" license, either a retail/boxed
    license or an OEM license if the host system is substantially upgraded with
    hardware. I assume that the former host OS also is tied up if the host is
    upgraded under a software assurance programĀ“unless the program explicitly
    includes new licenses and puts the former licenses free.
    pml, Aug 13, 2004
  16. pml

    Tim Tanner Guest

    Good point. Hint: know your licensing specialist, and your licensing
    I'm not a lawyer: but is this correct? If I guy a dell PC, with an OEM
    licensee, then pay for the Select license, can't I use the OEM license
    for the VM, since it is in fact running on the Dell hardware? Again, I
    am not quite able to work out how it's prohibited, but I'll admit I've
    not tried it.
    I was assuming that there was no 'upgrade' as such, rather that you
    could use the OEM license in the VM, with the Select license running the
    host. You have paid for both licenses, after all.
    Tim Tanner, Aug 13, 2004
  17. pml

    Robert Comer Guest

    I'm not a lawyer: but is this correct? If I guy a dell PC, with an OEM
    Actually yes, you can't do that and not break the EULA, the VM isn't the
    dell hardware, license wise it's a whole separate PC.

    - Bob Comer
    Robert Comer, Aug 13, 2004
  18. pml

    pml Guest

    The second part is that if the upgrade is done using an upgrade license,
    Besides the point that you cannot move a OEM license to another host,
    according to this page XP
    licenses obtained by volume licensing (eg Select) are upgrade licenses only;
    so installing a "select" license of a host will cancel out the existing
    license rather than release it.
    pml, Aug 13, 2004
  19. pml

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <> "Robert Comer"
    Not only that, but can a VM detect if it was paused or shut down (Save
    State)? Without VM Extensions, I doubt it.
    DevilsPGD, Aug 13, 2004
  20. pml

    pml Guest

    He would need every minute check if he needs the actual current time,
    When I perform maintenance on my host (such as installing software that
    requires a reboot or logoff+logon) I put my guest in "saved state" mode. The
    server I run survives this but the TCP connections it keeps might of course
    die because of timeouts from the "other ends". However, this is also the
    reason why I don't sync to the "CMOS"-clock in VPC; in VPC 2004 the CMOS
    time is pretty accurate, however, when the guest is in saved state mode the
    CMOS time is frozen meanwhile.
    pml, Aug 13, 2004
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