Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2, Which is the Best one?

Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2 This post is a small comparison of  two free desktop virtualization software products Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and Oracle VirtualBox 3.2. As I’m running a desktop virtualization blog and having enough of experience with these both products, I’m sharing this from my experience and thoughts. You can leave your comments and suggestions also. Let’s not forget that, ‘VMware Player’ also a free product which is not covered here. So, Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2, which is the best one?

Before go into detailed comparison, the answer is; it depends on your requirements.

If you are great fan of Windows OS and you are not going to use any other Operating systems, then go for Virtual PC 2007. Yes, it’s having some limitations but well enough to satisfy basic home users who don’t experiment or play around with other Operating Systems and applications.

If you are or want to be an IT guy ( like me 😉 ) who plays around and experiments on all Operating Systems (not only Microsoft but also Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris etc) at home or office, then go for Oracle VirtualBox which is having several important features.

OK, now lets go little deeper.

See Also

VirtualBox 3.1.6 vs VMware Player 3, Which is the Best Desktop Virtualization Software?

The Features and Advantages I like in MS Virtual PC 2007 than VirtualBox 3.2

1) It’s from Microsoft, same company who made your Operating System. It gives some confident on compatibility, correct?

2) Differencing disk technology which helps to save time and disk space by easily cloning exiting virtual machines.

Read more here about how to clone virtual machine by differencing disks in Virtual PC 2007

3) If you want to run XP mode in Windows 7, then you get free license for Windows XP.

4) Aero for Windows 7 and Vista works inside VM.

5) Less resource consumption on host computer

As I expected Virtual PC consumes less resource on host computer. Because this doesn’t have large console with more options and very less services compare to VirtualBox.

For example, when Virtual PC consumes only 11728 KB RAM, VirtualBox consumes 26878 KB RAM on host while no VMs are running on both.
So, it’s an ideal way to run on low recourse computers.

6) Easy to configure accessing physical hard disk on host computer from VM. VirtualBox also supports this feature, but its complicated and failed some times.

The Features and Advantages I like in Oracle VirtualBox 3.2 than MS Virtual PC 2007

1) It supports most of the Operating Systems as guest and host. You can use on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows to run other Operating Systems. Virtual PC can be installed on Windows and Mac OS X hosts only and it supports only few Operating Systems as guest.

2) 64 Bit guest support and increase processor cores.

If physical computer supports Virtualization Technology (VT) and 64 bit architecture, then you can install 64 Bit OS inside VirtualBox. So, running 64 Bit OS such as, Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7 64 Bit and Linux 64 bit versions is possible no matter which version of host OS you have.

Read more here about Windows 2008 R2 on VirtualBox

Increasing processor cores for virtual machine is supported if physical computer is having core2duo or quad core or anything similar. This gives real performance boost on VM.

3) Snapshots

This feature is very important to take and keep a copy of virtual machine’s state on specific time. VB has got good snapshot feature, called branched snapshots – read more.

You can keep multiple snapshots and go backward and forward of machine’s state if you mess up something on VM.

4) Seamless Mode and Remote Display

These are the very cool features if you use VMs very frequently. Seamless mode enables you run guest applications and start menu from host desktop. This helps to avoiding to switch between guest and host every time. Read more about seamless mode.

Remote display supports to connect virtual machine’s console by any of the remote desktop software. You can connect to any VMs running on your network by typing host computer IP and specific network port ( if remote display enabled, and no network connectivity required on guest VM) . This specially helps when you run VirtualBox server with headless mode to reduce work load. Read more here about setting up and connecting remote display.

5) 2D and 3D support

Still this doesn’t bring aero in Windows guests,but it improves the video performance on all guest operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

6) Multiple Virtual Disk support

Supports VMDK (VMware), VHD (Virtual PC) and HDD (Parallels Desktop) disk formats. So its very easy to import and use other desktop virtualization virtual machines without converting them.

The above facts are the major advantages I see in both products under Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2. I couldn’t see much difference on guest machine’s performance by my normal human eyes.

I use VirtualBox all the time and only use Virtual PC to write posts and do some tests.

Just a summary in one sheet, Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2

Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2

Again, this is completely from my opinion and experience, but I would like to hear from  your good and bad experience on both products.

Add some more factors and winner of it, so I can update this post regularly.

24 thoughts on “Virtual PC 2007 vs VirtualBox 3.2, Which is the Best one?”

  1. For cloning do u think VPC is ahead than VBox ?. If so what kind of points that you ar e highlighting ? Im not good in VPC much & really interest of cloning images….

    • @G,
      Even I’m new to VPC. VBox is my favorite one. In this case, personally I think VPC is ahead than VB for following reasons.
      VB’s cloning command or CloneVDI GUI tool exactly copy the VDI file with different UUID. So, when you have 15GB VDI virtual machine and to make three clones you have to copy it ( 15GB x 3) wasting time and disk space.
      VPC’s differencing disk method can clone VMs from existing original disk ( in this example 15GB),it is very simple and quick. You may spend 500MB for each three VMs and finish it very faster than VB. This method is very similar to VMware ‘Linked Clone’.

      Yes, in both products you have to create new virtual machines every time (configurations only) and point the Cloned VDI (in VB) or differencing disk (in VPC).

      Check this post https://www.sysprobs.com/clone-virtual-machine-virtual-pc-2007-10-seconds , how I did cloning in VPC.

      What’s your opinion?

  2. I’ve tried 32-bit Ubuntu Lucid Lynx on both VirtualPC and VirtualBox on 64-bit Winows 7.

    On VirtualPC it sometimes got segmentation faults but I was still able to use it for testing my Java webapp and I had some small mouse and keyboard issues as well.

    VirtualBox did not have these issues but it was 7 times slower for a specific task my webapp did (reading serialized Java objects from a file) — ironically, since one would expect Sun’s Java VM to work nicely with Sun’s virtualization software.

    Waiting 35 minutes instead of 5 is too much — this is the only reason I still use VirtualPC.

  3. HI Dinesh,
    I do understand your point . with VPC we need to keep the original image all the time with differencing images . isn’t it ?

    • @G,
      yes, you are correct. Original image file should be there all the time. It can be a small draw back, but much worth to try when you want to have two or more cloned virtual machines.

  4. HI ,
    WOW memory handling of VPC is pretty amazing compared to VBox. even without having a proper memory allocation to the host , Guest is working smoothly. I feel It manages memory very well. 🙂

  5. CloneVDI is a tiny third-party app for cloning virtualbox disks. Here is the lowdown:

    * Reads VDI,VHD,VMDK,Parallels HDD,RAW files and physical drives, writes VDI.
    * A simple GUI Interface.
    * A CLI interface too (for people who like that kind of thing!)
    * Ability to compact (discard unused blocks from) the clone, with no need to run sdelete/zerofree first.
    * Ability to enlarge the maximum size of a virtual disk, optionally enlarging the main partition too.
    * User choice to either keep the old UUID or generate a new one for the clone.
    * Some useful diagnostics about the source VDI, such as the partition map and the internal fileystem.
    * Better feedback while cloning: a progress bar and an estimated time to completion.
    * It seems to be significantly faster than “VBoxManage clonehd”.
    * Open source.

    Link: http://78.46.147.154/download/file.php?id=1818&sid=26231e19c5fb5aa11214d790002eabca

    • @bgfee,
      Thanks for your great points. I compared the built in features in both products here.
      Yes, CloneVDI is a nice tool and I use it for my day to day tasks.
      Already I have a post about how to use CloneVDI to clone virtualbox virtual machines. Its available here,
      http://www.sysprobs.com/copy-clone-virtual-machines-virtualbox-clonevdi-tool

      Do you have any idea why this tools is not integrated with VirtualBox yet? CloneVDI tool is the famous topic in VB forum and it worked for most of the users.
      Thanks for your comment again.

      @G, Thanks for your response too.

  6. Excuse me, but…

    1. VirtualPC does not support Aero. It never did.

    2. VirtualBox does not support 3D acceleration for Mac OS X (Server) guests.

    3. Advanced features: Host Physical Disk Access, and Cloning of VMs is available in VirtualBox, but only via command-line interface (CLI), not via GUI, those most users can’t use those features, but they exist.

    -“Technologov”, al4321@gmail.com

    • @Technologov,
      Thanks for your comments.
      1. Aero works on VirtualPC when host OS supports Aero ( Eg, Windows Vista, Windows 7)
      Here is the link,
      http://www.redmondpie.com/enable-aero-glass-in-windows-virtual-pc/

      2. You are correct. Because of proper VirtualBox guest additions not available for Mac OS X guests, 3D will not work. We can expect this in future.

      3. This is also correct. With command tools it can be done in VirtualBox (Sysprobs already got some posts), but VirtualPC supports in GUI and its very simple. So I decided to put VirtualPC as winner in this point.

      Keep a good work at sourceforge.net. Do visit my blog and share your opinions.

  7. cloning is simple just copy the damn file and recreate a new machine should work also little program that works wonders is disk2vhd which creates the vhd file,use this if you create a Vm and select it as the hdd the os will probably have no problems booting i did this with a faulty compaq, backed up to vhd file created the machine and had to activate windows again but all is up and running worked better than using acronis backup 2010

  8. With virtual box i usually have copies of my machines just right click copy and then recreate the machine using the copied hdd, thats pretty much it
    but with disk2vhd you can use it also to create the vhd image from the hdd your currently using and load it up on virtualbox once its done walla virtualized..
    but make sure you configure the virtualbox ie ide,sata connector apci i/o stuff like that if your drive is not booting..

  9. Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 AND Sun’s Oracle VM Virtualbox both are good softwares. I like both of them but then I decided to use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 because Sun’s Oracle VM Virtualbox slows down my PC. Also Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 is from Microsoft which makes it more reliable. I only like Windows (XP, Vista, 7 and the upcoming release 8) operating systems and only want to use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.

  10. I was a big fan of Microsoft’s Virtual PC product for Windows XP and used it frequently for testing, but found Virtual PC 2007 to be problematic and a bit buggy. They got rid of the ability to drag-drop files onto the guest OS, and the OS pauses while copying files over network connections unless you constantly wiggle the mouse.

    With 64bit Windows 7 Pro, I’m finding I much prefer VirtualBox.

  11. Just to make everything correct, some remarks:

    1) It’s from Microsoft, same company who made your Operating System. It gives some confident on compatibility, correct?
    — I wouldn’t be so sure, especially if you have to install Virtual PC on Mac or if you install a NON-Windows guest OS (in this case Virtual PC is extremelly unstable, according to my own experience).

    2) Differencing disk technology which helps to save time and disk space by easily cloning exiting virtual machines.
    — VirtualBox not only DOES support differencing HDs, it also supports HDs attached to multiple VMs simultaneously, real HDs inside VM, and many more.

    3) If you want to run XP mode in Windows 7, then you get free license for Windows XP.
    — This is NOT true! You DON’T get free license for WinXP. Microsoft grants you permission to use Windows XP inside a Virtual PC VM, but only IF you install it as “Windows 7 XP Mode”, AND IF your Windows 7 is PRO or ULTRA! No luck for Windows 7 Home users.

    4) Aero for Windows 7 and Vista works inside VM.
    — Completely true. AFAIK, Virtual PC is the only VM able to use Aero inside a VM (however this doesn’t mean that any 3D software will be working as seamless)

    5) Less resource consumption on host computer
    — Why?? I never noticed. the resource consumption depends mainly on your guest OS, and the extra features you have applied to the VM.

  12. Have you compared running Virtualbox on a a Linux host with running it on a Windows (XP or 7) host? I’m wondering if you will get better performance, resources etc. I have an AMD Phenom II 6 Core with 16GB of RAM and am looking to maximize capacity. Thanx for an excellent post!

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