Installing Windows Vista October CTP (Build 5231) on VPC with VM Additions

I installed the Windows Vista October CTP (Build 5231) on Virtual PC yesterday. There were a few gotchas that I thought I'd share in case it saves anyone else some time.
  1. Virtual PC can't capture an ISO image greater than 2.2 GB, so you need to use something like Daemon Tools on your host machine to mount the ISO as a virtual drive, then capture it as a physical drive in VPC.
  2. Vista won't install on a RAW partition, which is what an unformatted VPC Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) image gives you. You can do some tricky commandline DISKPART stunts, or you can just create the partition in the install process knowing that Vista still won't like it, reboot the VPC instance, and this time VPC will recognize the partition it created. I went with the second option.
  3. This Vista build can't access Windows Update. You just get a message saying you need to use Automatic Updates and tells you how to set that up. Knowing that unpatched machines on the net can get haxxor'd in 20 minutes on average, I set the Auto Update time to the next hour and disabled the VPC network connection until that time. Silly me, there weren't any Auto Updates since it had just been released, but I still think minimizing Internet time before patching a machine is the best plan.
  4. The VPC VM Additions Installation hangs on this Vista build, and the graphics are absolute hell without them (640x480 at 8 bit, I believe). The trick is as follows: leave the hung installation running, go into the Control Panel and remove the VGA Display Driver, and say Okay when prompted to reboot. When the system comes back up, you'll have the state of the art S3 Trio display driver. It got wiggy on me when I tried to change the Display Resolution, so I rebooted again and was able to change the resolution and things were great. Dog slow, but great. If you cancel the install or kill the wrong msiexec process, the install rolls back and the drivers get removed, causing the magic not to happen.
  5. I kind of lied about the VM Additions. The video drivers are installed, and they make a big difference, but the rest of the VM Additions aren't installed. That means no folder sharing, etc. They might release VM Additions for Vista Beta 1, but I'm not holding my breath.
I'll leave it to the pundits to describe what's new in this build, but the most interesting things for me so far are WMP 11, Media Center Vista (which it sounds like is going to be inclueded in Vista, no longer a separate product), and the latest IE7 build.


  • Hey man. it seems you have done this the first time.

    after a few longhorn on VPC i have to say that moving to VMWare was a great relief. there was no smoother installation i have ever gone through beyond that one.

    try the V5 of the VMWare workstation.

    regarding the additions. they are installed and running and i have no probs with them thought the shared folders is a kind of odd to get to.

  • I am a little unclear on your step 4.

    I am assuming that you are saying to NOT install the VPC Additions into the Vista machine. Correct?

    Then the part I really am lost on :(. Leave the hung machine running, and go into the control pannel. The control panel of the hung VM? Doesn't really make sense to me to go into the control panel of the host machine for this. But if the VM is hung how do you get to the control panel in it?

    I feel like I must be mis-reading something, or missing something simple on this. Any help?


  • Philip -

    Start the VM Additions installations. The installation will hang, not the VPC. Wait for the installation to get to about 95% and just sit there, then uninstall the VGA Display Driver on the VPC. The easiest way to do this is just right click on My Computer and select Manage, then pick the Device Manager.

  • i have done the full installation using daemon tools, but still then i get 640x480 and 4 bit resolution

    Please tell me some way to install it. i am not understanding the procedure you were trying to tell above.

  • Many thanks for this post, Jon.... the hung VM Additions install was driving me crazy until I read this.

    I removed the VGA Display Driver, restarted; and I'm now running in full 32-bit glory (well, actually not full glory...I would love to see an updated graphics emulator for VPC, so that we can run the Aero Glass effects. The S3 emulator just doesn't cut it....)

Comments have been disabled for this content.