Shortly after the Professional Developers conference, I bought a PC that I could use for the sole purpose of experimenting with Windows 7. Because of some logistical issues, I decided to just get a laptop rather than a desktop machine. I didn’t pick out anything fancy. It was just a mid priced HP laptop with 4 GB of RAM.
Shortly after getting this machine, I began to realize that I was going to need another desktop machine that I could use in developing some of the labs in a book that I am writing. At the time, I went ahead and blew Windows 7 off of the laptop and installed Windows Vista Ultimate.
Lately though, several of the editors have asked me to write about Windows 7. Since I’m not quite done with my book yet, blowing Vista off of the laptop wasn’t really an option. I decided to just install Virtual PC 2007 SP1 and then install Windows 7 within a virtual machine.
Although I have worked quite a bit with other virtualization products, I had never used Virtual PC 2007 before. Initially, Windows 7 ran fairly slowly in a virtual machine. I assumed that this was because I wasn’t using a high end machine, or perhaps because Windows 7 had a really inefficient code base.
Last night I was tinkering around with the machine’s BIOS, and realized that this particular laptop supported hardware based virtualization. I went ahead and enabled it, but didn’t really expect a lot since I wasn’t using Hyper-V or VMWare. Out of curiosity though, I decided to poke around in the Virtual Machine settings. Lo and behold, Virtual PC 2007 SP1 supports hardware based virtualization. As soon as I enabled it, Windows 7 began running much better.
I’m sure that anyone who uses Virtual PC with any sort of regularity probably already knew about its support for hardware assisted virtualization, but I wanted to take the opportunity to go ahead and share my little discovery just in case there is anyone else out there like me who could benefit from this setting.