Asking this question makes me feel stupid, but I am OK with that.

So on the Windows Virtual - PC Support: FAQ page, I found the following:

Can I use Windows Virtual PC to run Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows XP in a virtual machine?

Yes. Windows Virtual PC can run properly-licensed versions of these operating systems in a virtual environment. For requirement details, go to http://www.Microsoft.com/Windows/virtual-pc/support/requirements.aspx./virtual-pc/support/requirements.aspx.

Cool. I already use Windows XP Mode to run programs and applications that I either don't won't (iTunes for iPad activation) on my Windows 7 64 bit machine or can't use (like Cisco VPN client), but I also have a spare copy of Windows Vista lying around and would like to run it virtually as well.

My question is: how? When I installed Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC, the following was added to my start menu (under 'All Programs'):

Windows Virtual PC [Folder Icon]
     Windows Virtual PC [Icon With blue rectangle and smaller orange rectangle off-centered to the bottom right]
     Windows XP Mode [Same icon as above]

When I click on the Windows Virtual PC icon, it opens up a Windows explorer window with the following address:

 C:\Users\<MyUserName>\Virtual Machines

The only files in that directory are a desktop.ini file and:

 Windows XP Mode.vmcx

When I click on the Windows XP Mode, as expected, a virtual instance of Windows XP is initialized.

So, again, how am I to create a virtual instance of Windows Vista?

Further information: after digging around my program files, I found:

 C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Virtual PC

But all that I could find in that folder was another folder titled 'Integration Components', which contained the following .iso files:


Start the program "Windows Virtual PC" and you get the Windows Explorer window showing your Virtual Machines.

Near the top of the window, there is a command "Create virtual machine", which doesn't exactly stand out. Click that and follow the prompts...

  • Thanks. I am so ashamed and relieved at the same time: I have never even noticed that list of commands before. – Merritt Aug 18 '10 at 13:06

The key here is that "Windows Virtual PC can run properly-licensed versions of these operating systems." As you've learned, you don't have ISO images for the other operating systems. If you have original media for another supported operating system, it's a simple matter to create the ISO and install on Virtual PC. (Since you're using Win7, that one's obviously a "gimme").

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