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I'm trying to use Windows Virtual PC + Windows XP Mode to test web sites in Internet Explorer 7 and 8. Since I need two XP instances I've followed the procedure explained at Browser Testing With Windows 7 XP Mode:

  1. Create a base virtual machine
  2. Create two virtual machines using differencing

This works fine so far, including Virtual PC's integration feature.

However, I'm specially interested in the app virtualization feature offered by XP Mode, i.e., running IE as an standalone window in the host environment (Windows 7). My problem is that it only works before I follow the steps in the article, when I only have one virtual machine.

  • With one VM, as soon as I use the trick of creating a link in the "All Users" start menu folder in XP, Internet Explorer shows up in the host's start menu. I can then run IE in the intended way.

  • With several VMs, when I click on the IE short-cut I'm prompted for my domain credentials but it doesn't go past there—after a minute I get a dialogue informing me that the application start-up has timed-out.

Have I missed some essential step? Or perhaps there's just no way of virtualising more than one XP instances?

Edit: Something that I hadn't noticed is that now when I start VMs normally (by clicking on the VM icon rather than IE icon) I'm prompted for credentials for a domain user. No matter what I type, the VM starts with the XP "Incorrect password" dialogue. Then, I can login successfully with the local XPMUser user. New questions arise: Why does Virtual PC prompt for a domain user? Why can't I type the XPMUser credentials? Do I need to join XP to the domain?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'm still clueless as about why but this is how I've finally fixed it:

  1. Launch virtual machine normally, ignore "Enter domain user" dialogue.
  2. When VM starts, log in as XPMUser.
  3. Add VM to domain (you'll need a domain administrator username & password) and restart VM.
  4. Log in as XPMUser for the last time.
  5. Open "User manager" (right click on "My Computer", then "Administration").
  6. Add to the "Remote Desktop Users" group either your domain user or the whole domain users group.
  7. Send Ctrl+Alt+Del to the VM and do a full shutdown (I did it just in case, not sure if it's required).

Now, I can launch the virtual app of my choice and log in using my domain account (and I can have my credentials stored if I choose to). I can even run them simultaneously.

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