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Windows 7's XP Mode virtual PC supports some features that aren't 'stock' with an XP Virtual PC such as a different start-up dialog, no Shutdown button, etc. Possibly the most significant is that applications installed within the XP Mode VM appear within the Windows 7 start-menu.

I have a need for multiple XP Mode VM's--is it possible to have 2 or more XP Mode VM's, or to otherwise enable these extra integration features in an XP Virtual PC?

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Just remember that unless you own the extra licences, this will not be legal! Windows 7 only includes ONE licence to run Windows XP Mode –  Shevek Apr 2 '10 at 10:23
What about the applications installed under this virtual mode. Can you enable shortcuts to run applications within multiple VMs? –  user37138 May 14 '10 at 3:56
If something is in the start menu its already a shortcut. –  Ramhound Jun 3 '11 at 18:58

6 Answers 6

up vote 35 down vote accepted

If you simply copy a clean XP virtual machine (the ones you can download from the Microsoft website), you can rename it and have multiple XP VMs that way.

At least it worked for me, let me know if it doesn't

Here's an overview of the required steps:

Every virtual hard drive (vhd) created with Virtual PC consists of three files if it is turned off, or of four files if it is hibernated or running. The file extensions for these files are:

  • .vhd = Virtual Machine virtual hard drive image
  • .vmc = Virtual Machine settings file
  • .vsv = Virtual Machine saved state file
  • .vmcx = Virtual Machine description and registration settings

First three files are located in C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines, the last one in C:\Users\Your_Username\Virtual Machines.

The two latter files are created automatically; to make a copy of a Virtual Machine we only need .vhd and .vmc files. In this example we call the original virtual drive Windows XP Mode, and the copy we create Windows XP Mode- Copy. You can name all your virtual drives as you like, as long as you remember to modify the settings file as described here.

Copying Virtual XP or any other virtual hard disk created with Virtual PC is very easy and fast. Here's what you have to do:

  • Turn off your Virtual XP, do not hibernate it
  • Open Folder Options, choose Show hidden files, folders and drives. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types

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  • Goto C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines
  • Copy Windows XP Mode.vhd and Windows XP Mode.vmc files. To be sure you copy the right files you can open Folder Options and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and click OK
  • Paste files to the same folder. Windows adds word Copy to both filenames, so now you have two new files: Windows XP Mode - Copy.vhd and Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmc
  • Open Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmc with Notepad. It is a xml-file, so you can edit it normally with Notepad
  • Find the following string containing virtual drives name: <drive_type type="integer">1</drive_type>

alt text

  • Under the <drive_type...> change the vhd-file name to Windows XP Mode - Copy.vhd both in <absolute type="string"> and <relative type="string">
  • Find the following place under <virtual_network> containing MAC-adress for Virtual XP's ethernet adapter: <id type="bytes">

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  • To allow two copies of Virtual XP to connect to network simultaneously , we have to change the MAC-adress of the ethernet adapter to avoid MAC-adress conflict. Address is given in hex, 0-9 and A-E. It is enough to change one bit. In this example we have changed the last bit from 1 to 0
  • Save and close the file
  • Open Folder Options and choose Don't show hidden files, folders or drives. Check Hide extensions for known file types and click OK.
  • Goto C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines again
  • Double click Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmc file so that the Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmcx is automatically generated in the C:\Users\Your_Username\Virtual Machines folder with the correct settings.

That's it. Now you can run two Virtual XP's simultaneously.

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I made use of this method (copy and rename) to have 1 XP mode with IE6 and another with IE7 –  Nick Josevski Oct 22 '09 at 22:36
Just remember that unless you own the extra licences, this will not be legal! Windows 7 only includes ONE licence to run Windows XP Mode –  Shevek Apr 2 '10 at 10:24
It's on the same computer, so what's the problem? Unless you start "abusing" it to share your VMs, I don't see an issue here. –  Ivo Flipse Apr 2 '10 at 10:29
It's still a technical violation (as I understand it, though IANAL) of the license agreement. –  Michael Todd May 14 '10 at 4:34
I doubt Microsoft considers this illegal, as they are hosting xpmore.codeplex.com since 2010 (CodePlex belongs to Microsoft) –  Ohad Schneider Apr 11 '12 at 12:32

For what it's worth, at this time, if you don't want the manual hassle you can just use XP-More, a free tool that can duplicate Windows Virtual PCs such as XP Mode, but don't forget to disable the Windows XP firewall.

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You can have as many as you wish, but programs started from Windows 7 menu (XP mode) will work inside of same virtual machine. All other instances can be used just as standard virtual machines.

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An easier and (AFAIK) more legal approach is to use Virtual PC's differencing functionality as described here.

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I found out by experimenting that the configuration number needs to be incremented in the vmc file, (using Win 7 Ultimate + Windows XP Mode dnld 7 - OCT - 2010)

Tried XPMORE (which is great, but needs the above fix to work!)

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Found a video of the process on youtube. Looks to be a little simpler than what Ivo posted and it worked just fine for me. It involves locating the read-only vhd file of XP already on the machine and creating a new vm using the "Differencing" type under advanced options. This will use the specified read-only vhd but it will store changes/customizations in a separate vhd. Pretty much all point and click...

The vid is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cmqWVTczvs

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protected by studiohack May 3 '11 at 9:32

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