Vista & VPC for Mac: A how-to guide

Posted: July 17, 2006 in Mac OSX, software
Tags: , ,


Someone said it wouldn’t work. So, being one who likes a challenge, I set out to prove or disprove the statement. I couldn’t see any reason it wouldn’t work, so I fired up VPC 7 and created another virtual machine to be used for installing the beta version of windows’ latest (and greatest?) operating system, Vista.

The first hurdle was getting the dvd I created from the downloaded ISO file to be recognized. I was getting a message telling me my BIOS was not ACPI compliant. As it happens VPC does use a virtual BIOS and with a bit of persistence (numerous restarts and continual taping of the DELETE key) I managed to catch the virtual machine at the proper point in the startup to allow me to access the BIOS. Once you catch the bios a simple change is all that is necessary. Find the “ACPI Aware OS” and change the setting to Yes. Then simply exit saving the settings. The machine will reboot and this time will allow you to install windows Vista.
The install took about 2 hours on my ibook g4, and required very little “baby-sitting”. After the install was done, I restarted the virtual machine and was greeted with a very pretty looking group of icons on a scenic desktop background. A few tweaks later and I had the desktop looking more or less like a cleaner version of the familiar WinXP desktop. There was a small problem with the network connections on Vista though. They don’t work. After a bit of searching, I found out that it is a driver issue, which is a fairly easy fix as long as you have a working install of WinXP in Virtual PC. You simply need to copy 2 files from your VPC install of WinXP. The files are “WindowsSystem32driversdc21x4.sys” and “net21x4.inf“.  Place the 2 files somewhere where you can access them in your Vista VPC, a drive you are planning on sharing is best.
Install the VPC additions in your Vista VPC and then share the folder you put the two files noted above into. I copied the two files and dropped them on the desktop of the Vista VPC after that just to make finding them easy. You need to go into the control panel, then device manager and find the your non-functioning ethernet card. Update the drivers to the files you just placed on your desktop. Reboot your VPC and if you did everything correctly, you are good to go surfing/browsing/emailing, whatever, with your now functioning ethernet card.

There are a number of Updates available for Vista, and being as it is a Beta version, there will more than likely be a few a day as problems arise. Updating is brutally slow, as is most things in Vista VPC even with the ram cranked up to 512 (what an annoying limit, but that is a VPC problem and not Vista related), but if all you want to do is prove it can be done and get a look at the next windows operating system without screwing up your current computer, then it does the job. Vista is up and running, but I have not had much time to actually play with it to put forth a worthwhile review of it, so I will withhold my thoughts and comments for now.



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