Review: Virtual PC 7

I have had it with Virtual PC 7
I have been meaning to review Virtual PC 7 for some time now. So I guess you could call this a review of the latest and greatest version of Virtual PC. I must admit up front though, it is by someone who is very pissed off about wasting so much time and money on a promise.

We were all promised that when Microsoft bought Virtual PC (VPC) from Connectix, that we would get a better piece of software. The only reason Microsoft bought VPC from Connectix was to release a Windows version of the software (which runs a heck of a lot better, by the way, then VPC 7 does).

I have used VPC for a very long time. I remember the good old days. That was, of course before Microsoft took over VPC.

While VPC was never very "fast," it was at least stable and reliable. Then the G5 chip came out and of course VPC would not run on the new architecture. Of course we had to wait over 13 months for Microsoft to release VPC 7. Yea, they are committed to the Mac platform. Bull shit.

I pre-ordered my copy of VPC 7, meaning I payed top dollar, not the discount price you can find today. I should have taken the money I spent on VPC 7, plus the money I spent on Guest PC a few months back, and put it in the bank to buy a PC.

The following two screen shots make up 99% of the launches of VPC 7 that I encountered. Virtually every single time I started the program, it had to go through a diagnostic test of the virtual drive.

Yea, thats fun.

When I did get it to work, which I swear was around 10% of the time, it was only after 30 to 40 minutes of trying to get it running. I would have to restart VPC, restart my G5, reset permissions, pull my hair out. Strike one.

Then all of a sudden the internet settings would not work in VPC 7. I had to turn on Virtual Switch to get internet working. Now, no internet. With no internet, its not worth the plastic it was printed on.

I would really love to say that I have had a good, or even mediocre experience with VPC 7.

I need VPC 7 to do two things: test web sites on Windows, and make sure my FileMaker solutions worked as expected in Windows. Strike two and strike three.

I cannot, for any reason, other then advertising dollars perhaps, understand why Macworld gave VPC 7 a review of four mice. The only thing I can fathom it getting such a high review for is the fact that it is the only version of VPC that you can run on a G5.

Four mice is very over rated. If we are working on a five mice scale, I would have to give it two, at the most. If I am reviewing it right after trying to do work in the program, I would be inclined to give it 1.5 out of 5.

Guest PC
Enter Guest PC, an alternate virtual x86 environment for your Mac. Since I was so desperate to find a Mac solution to this problem, I bought it. Big mistake. I guess you could call this a Guest PC review too.

Guest PC is a lot cheaper in comparison to VPC 7 because you are not purchasing a license of Windows XP. Since I own a copy of XP Pro, this works out great for me.

It took more then seven hours for Guest PC to install Windows XP SP2. It works though, and is much more reliable, and more stable then VPC 7. Its also slower then VPC 7. Which is saying something. The instillation process for Guest PC is outrageous. I clocked the time it took from putting in the XP serial number (of which I had to do twice, first to initiate Guest PC to boot from the XP CD, and again when actually registering XP) into Guest PC to the time I logged in and saw all the icons and was about to use the Start Menu to just over seven hours.

I never thought I would say this, but Virtual PC 7 is a much better product then Guest PC. Guest PC tries very hard to rip off the VPC interface, and it all seems clunky and sluggish.

Both products are slower then molasses in January on my dual proc. 2.5 Ghz G5. Neither of these products support more then 512 MB of RAM, even though my G5 has 3 GB.

I will chalk this up lessons learned, expensive lessons learned. I seem to always learn the hard way.

I need to buy a PC for testing and development. Bring on the Intel based Macs. Too bad they are so far away.

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