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I would like to run three virtual machines on my windows 7 computer. I would like them all to be windows 7 virtual machines. I see that there are many ways to make a virtual machine, the easiest I could find is this tutorial here about windows virtual pc software.

It looks like this software was made by windows for windows, correct?

With a virtual machine, can I change the resolution size of a windows virtual machine, so it thinks it is displaying information on monitor of a given size?

Can I run multiple virtual machines at once?

Do they each have their own mouse? How does that work? I move my mouse over the virtual machine window and suddenly I have control of that mouse? Do my keyboard actions only correspond to the main PC, or once I click on a virtual machine window, do all mouse and keyboard input get redirected there?

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One thing to remember is that as per the EULA you need a different license key for each copy of Windows, be it a physical or virtual install. –  Karan Apr 29 '13 at 18:09
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Yes you can run multiple virtual machines at once. They can appear as separate windowed applications or take over the full screen. You use one keyboard/mouse. Just as with other applications when the virtual machine has 'focus' it receives the input from the keyboard/mouse.

The hard-and-fast limit to the number of VMs you can run is your computer's memory. However, the more virtual machines you have, the slower everything will get - in particular, disk I/O is typically the first and worst performance bottleneck you'll face, since most disk performance degrades much worse than linearly with increased concurrency.

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What about when it doesn't have focus, I want to run a piece of software that uses the mouse and keyboard. When a VM does not have focus, is there still a mouse present on the VM that a program running on that VM can use? (sorry this are probably stupid questions) –  BumSkeeter Apr 29 '13 at 16:55
    
The VM will still continue to 'run' and respond to requests (e.g. I use one to run SQL Server in the background) but the mouse won't do anything unless it's told to. –  Brad Patton Apr 29 '13 at 16:59
    
Ok thats what I needed! –  BumSkeeter Apr 29 '13 at 17:02
    
Doesn't this mean that you can only run one 64-bit Guest OS at once? Or does VBox manage all virtual machines as a single process? –  JamesTheAwesomeDude Apr 30 '13 at 1:00
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@JamesTheAwesomeDude no, that comment is talking about running multiple virtualization platforms simultaneously. The wording is a little unclear, but it states that you can, for example, run 2 64-bit VMs in VBox, but you cannot run 1 in VBox and 1 in VMware simultaneously. –  rob Apr 30 '13 at 17:25
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It looks like this software was made by windows for windows, correct?

VirtualPC was originally developed by Connectix and later acquired by Microsoft. In addition to the version that lets you run Windows VMs on a Windows host, Connectix also had a version that let you run Windows VMs on a Mac host. Some competing virtualization products are VMware (Windows, Mac, Linux), VirtualBox (Windows, Mac, Linux), Parallels (Mac), Xen (Windows, Linux), and KVM (Linux).

With a virtual machine, can I change the resolution size of a windows virtual machine, so it thinks it is displaying information on monitor of a given size?

Yes. In addition to running in windowed mode, you can also run in full-screen or in a "seamless" mode where the VM's desktop is not visible but applications running in the VM show up directly on the host machine's desktop. Different virtualization platforms have different names for the "seamless" mode.

Can I run multiple virtual machines at once?

Generally, yes

Do they each have their own mouse? How does that work? I move my mouse over the virtual machine window and suddenly I have control of that mouse? Do my keyboard actions only correspond to the main PC, or once I click on a virtual machine window, do all mouse and keyboard input get redirected there?

You have 1 mouse cursor which can seamlessly move in and out of the VM window (if in windowed mode), assuming you have an integration utility installed in the VM. If you don't have the utility installed in the VM, you can click in the window to let that VM grab control of the mouse cursor and keyboard, then press a special keystroke (usually the left Alt button, or Ctrl+Alt) to release the mouse cursor and keyboard back to the host OS.

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So say can I have three windows on my desktop, each a VM, each have their own mouse that can do as it pleases as long as I do not "focus" on that VM? (I have a program that uses the mouse and keyboard to do something I want; I want to run three instances of them at the same time of three seperate PC's or VM's in this case) –  BumSkeeter Apr 29 '13 at 17:01
    
I'm not sure I understand your question exactly, but if you have Remote Desktop or a similar solution configured on each VM, someone could Remote Desktop into each VM and control it. Otherwise once your cursor leaves the VM window, clicks will not continue to register inside that window (again, assuming you have the integration utility installed). –  rob Apr 29 '13 at 17:03
    
I want to run a program on each VM, the program can control the mouse and keyboard. I am trying to make sure that each VM can still control a mouse (its mouse) to do what I want it to on that VM (desktop). –  BumSkeeter Apr 29 '13 at 17:05
    
I suspect that should work fine. –  rob Apr 29 '13 at 17:06
    
It worked rob!! –  BumSkeeter Apr 30 '13 at 11:55
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If you want to use 3 windows 7 Guest Virtual machines on a Windows7 host machine, you will have to purchase 4 window 7 Licences.

If you dont purchase the licences and therefore dont register the VM OS's, after 30 days you start to get nagged and then soon after they get flagged as non genuine software.

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I always get my software authenticated, and always pay for it. So no worries, I won't get the black screen that says "not genuine" in the bottom corner, or the pop-up each time I logon, or the pop-up every two hours telling me to authenticate. Oh no, not me.. –  BumSkeeter Apr 30 '13 at 11:54
    
Ok , just thought I would warn you, in case you dodnt know. –  RiggsFolly Apr 30 '13 at 17:03
    
I've been running my validated version of windows for almost two years and it has never been a problem. –  BumSkeeter Apr 30 '13 at 17:16
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