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I'm upgrading soon to Windows 7. I plan to use Virtual PC to create different development environments for different scenarios (also, for productivity reasons I don't want my games and my development environment on the same machine!). However, I feel that it's going to be a pain to set up these VMs on all the computers I use - especially if I'm developing with frequently-modified CTP frameworks.

Is it possible to set up a Virtual PC VM in a central location so it can be run from any PC?

Can you store Virtual PC VMs on an external hard disk?

On a NAS?

Over Wi-Fi?

Any issues I should know about?

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I would use VirtualBox or VMWare Player (both free) or VMWare Workstation ($$$) over Virtual PC. Also, if you have W7 Ultimate or Enterprise, you can create & boot natively to W7 .vhd files, although I'm not sure about the licensing issues. – Joe Internet Jul 21 '10 at 15:13
Any particular reason you recommend Virtualbox/VMWare Player over Virtual PC? – Iain Galloway Jul 22 '10 at 13:11
As a quick update, the meatier versions of Windows 8 appear to come with HyperV on the client OS, which makes this a whole pile easier. – Iain Galloway Oct 25 '12 at 14:40
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I run pretty much that exact scenario but use VMWare Player. You can create VMs now with their free version and even create a VM from a running physical machine (VMWare Converter). This was especially useful for me as it allowed me to create a virtual copy of my current dev machine and then install a fresh version of Windows 7 64 bit. I've created multiple copies of this VM and stored them on an external disk which I take with me so I can use them on a laptop if needs be. It also meant that if I hit a problem with 64 bit Win 7 I could always drop into a 32 bit VM to sort it out.

I'm pretty sure accessing a VM over Wi-Fi would not be usable, but I've never personally tried it so I may be wrong. Sticking them on a NAS would be fine as long as your connection's quick enough. Mine are USB external disk ad I've had no problems at all.

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