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When Windows 7 starts virtual machines using the integrated Virtual PC, it displays a progress bar as the VM boots up. I need to access the Windows boot menu as the VM starts.

Is there a way to start the VM with the boot window displayed rather than the progress bar?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Thanks, everyone, for the responses, but I agree with Dal in that neither solved the problem. However, I found the answer on the TechNet forum. To restate the problem:

When starting a virtual machine in Windows Virtual PC on Windows 7, a progress bar is displayed rather than the DOS boot screen. I need access to the DOS screen during boot so that I can bring up the Advanced Boot Options screen. The progress bar display does not allow me to do this.

While the answers above regarding the F8 and Del keys are accurate in how they affect boot up, both require that the DOS window being displayed, and getting to the DOS window is the crux of the problem.

Which brings me to the answer:

Pressing Shift+Esc when the progress bar window is displayed switches to the DOS window where the F8 and Del keys may be used accordingly.

Thanks again to all for the responses and for making this a better community.

PS - smjain posted the answer here.

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Press the DEL key during the early stages of the VM load process.
This will get you into the VirtualPC BIOS where you can change the boot device order.

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To access the Windows Boot Menu, simply press F8 like you would on a normal Windows computer.

If it is not entering the menu, it is possible that the machine does not have focus. The moment it is on, click in the middle (or near abouts!) of the virtual machine (so it says press xx and yy to release at the bottom, or similar), then press F8 and you should enter the menu.

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Care to add the DEL key for completeness to you answer Wil? I find your answer more appropriate now that I take a second look at the question. I could then delete my answer. – A Dwarf Oct 29 '09 at 1:06
If you want to edit my answer feel free, but I don't think it is really what I want to do because it does not answer the question... however +1 to you (and your answer) as I didn't think it could be done! I know you can enter VMWare BIOS, but had no idea that MS let you in to the Virtual PC one! – William Hilsum Oct 29 '09 at 1:15
I'm not comfortable editing other people answers :) Anyways, I makes for a permanent state (something you would want if for some reason you wanted to always boot the VM client OS from a CDRom for instance). But it's ok. Merging mine into yours or keeping both serves the purpose. – A Dwarf Oct 29 '09 at 1:19
Keep Both - However, if you read my answer, I do not talk anywhere about the boot order, I think he is talking about the actual Windows Boot menu (e.g. safe mode etc.). – William Hilsum Oct 29 '09 at 1:40

I couldn't boot the my VM in to BIOS either, using Virtual PC in Windows 7. I tried the del key and F8,

You need to Reboot, your VM from the VPC Action menu, You can then watch your machine going down and hit the required key as it's coming back up. That should then take you in the Bios settings

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