• Extolling the Beauty of VirtualPC

    I was just chatting with Sean Tierney about how cool VirtualPC is. Sean uses VirtualPC to set up instant development and production servers on his laptop for development and testing, and I use VirtualPC at work to run our Windows-only apps on my Mac.

    The premise is simple. You start by creating a virtual computer instance on your existing hard drive, which is nothing more than a simple .vpc file. This file starts at about 40 MB, and will expand dynamically as you install an OS on it and fill it with files.

    Next, you boot your virtual PC instance, which greets you with BIOS prompts. You then install your OS. You can then continue to install software and add files to it just like a regular PC. Of course, the best thing to do is to make a backup copy of the PC’s .vpc file AFTER the vanilla OS installation, but BEFORE you add any more software – that way you always have a fresh copy of you chosen OS ready to go (which is how Sean gets his instant server environments).

    VirtualPC really has saved my life, since it enables me to be a Mac user in a Windows world. And, of course, because it allows me to install that copy of MechWarrior II (which I found in the back of the closet today) on my G4 in a Windows 98 environment – bwa ha ha!

    Most of all, I’m interested to see how MechWarrior II reacts to having 50 times the minimum hardware requirements available at its disposal… :)

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