Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The default Windows Virtual PC installation sets up one Virtual PC with Win XP on it.

I wonder how do we set up 2 or 3 or 4 machines, all with XP on it?

There seems to be a way, but it is not mentioned in help file or in a book. I wonder if that is a correct way or if there are other ways. My method is:

  1. START -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows Virtual PC

  2. On the menu bar, click "Create Virtual Machine" and go through some questions.

  3. Now the machine is created, but with no operating system on it at all.

  4. Now right click on this new Virtual PC in the Virtual PC folder, and choose "Settings"

  5. Click on the hard drive, click "Create", and then "Differencing"

  6. Type a name for the hard drive, and then click OK

  7. It will ask for the "parent hard drive", choose

    C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode\Windows XP Mode base.vhd

  8. Finally, click "Create"

Now, the new Virtual PC should be running based on a hard drive with XP on it.

In fact, this looks like how the default Virtual PC with XP is set up...

But I wonder if this is a right way. Any other method or somebody familiar knows this is the correct way?

share|improve this question
That's the best way I can come up with too. – Snark Nov 3 '09 at 16:37
I tried that -- it seems to work for the first 20 minutes so far. The only catch is that the second time, I need to log in using the user name "Administrator"... so i created another account to be used with it. Also interesting is that the differencing .vhd file quickly grow to 1GB. Also, the first time this Virtual PC is booted up, it is treated as a brand new PC -- you need to set time zone, etc. – 太極者無極而生 Nov 4 '09 at 4:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Those machines will all use the same hard drive though. If you want separate machines you will need to either copy the XP vhd, or in settings for a new virtual machine, boot from an XP CD and install it to a new VM.

share|improve this answer
i think that's the idea: using the same parent hard drive and then the child hard drive has the "changes" made to them. so that way, there is no need for 3 big files but 1 big and 3 smaller files. – 太極者無極而生 Nov 3 '09 at 16:49

Here is how to make a brand spanking new standalone XP mode machine from the base.vhd just like the first one.

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode\ and copy "Windows XP Mode base.vhd" this is the base image/disk used when XP mode created your first machine.
  2. Paste the "Windows XP Mode base.vhd" to C:\Users(your user name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines where (your user name) is replaced with your own user name.
  3. Edit the properties of your newly pasted "Windows XP Mode base.vhd" and deselect Read-only
  4. Rename "Windows XP Mode base.vhd" to whatever you want to name your new XP mode machine, for instance, "My New.vhd"
  5. Open your XP mode folder or Virtual PC folder found in the start menu. There will be a windows menu on the top of this folder that says "Create virtual machine", click it and follow the instructions to create the machine. Select "Use an existing virtual hard disk" and browse to the disk image we created earlier.
  6. Finished

By the way if you have already created a blank virtual machine you can go and use steps 1-4 above and delete the empty disk of your existing machine and rename the base.vhd and it works.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.