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Updated May 9, 2001


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Virtual PC 3.x Recent Version History

Virtual PC 3.x from Connectix is the most popular PC emulator for Macintosh. It enables Mac users to run Windows, Linux, or other PC operating systems.

Virtual PC updates can be downloaded from the Connectix download page. We start with the current version first.

Virtual PC 3.0.3. In April of 2000, Virtual PC 3.0.3A Updater was released. It replaced version 3.0.3 (English), released a few days earlier. On June 6, 2000, Connectix released 3.0.3 French, German, and Japanese versions, which don't need a 3.0.3A update.

The 3.0.3 update added compatibility with Microsoft Windows 2000 and RedHat Linux 6.1. It also added support for the PowerPC G4 Velocity Engine (AltiVec).

With version 3.0.3, ctl-alt-del no longer works with the control-option(alt)-delete keys on the USB keyboard. (see an explanation from Connectix below.)

VPC with Win 2000 and Linux. In March, 2000, Connectix began shipping Virtual PC with Windows 2000 and Virtual PC with RedHat Linux.

NOTE: Virtual PC's Mac-PC integration features only work with Windows 2000 if you buy the OS from Connectix. The features, including drag and drop file copying, moving the mouse from Mac to Windows, and shared folders, do not work if you upgrade to Virtual PC 3.0.3A and use Microsoft 's Windows 2000 upgrade disc to upgrade from Windows 98.

Paul Derby also got I/O errors during the installation of Word 2000 from the Word install disc, and got an explanation from Connectix:

I contacted Connectix and learned they don't have a way to release the "extras" to make these items work. The person I spoke with on the support line at Connectix blamed Microsoft for the inability to have an upgrade path. He said it was licensing issues between Connectix and Microsoft.

Virtual PC 3.0. Connectix Virtual PC 3.0 was released in mid September, 1999. The main new features:

VPC update 2.1.3. Released April, 1999. 2.1.3 or later is required Required for Mac OS 8.6. Support of Linux was dropped with this version. It was added again in versions 3.0 and v3.0.3.


VPC 3.0 vs. SoftWindows 5.x

Ex-Connectix Virtual PC developer John Malm sent us this comparison of VPC 3.0 and SoftWindows in response to our September 22 news item.

September 23, 1999
John Malm
Video Engineering Group (Final Cut Pro)
Apple Computer,Inc.

A few points:

IP Sharing. SoftWindows uses special files to enable IP sharing, so even if you could run NT or Linux (you can't with SW), IP sharing would not work without the special files. With VPC 3.0 it does. I'm using VPC's IP sharing with OS/2 Warp, Windows 3.11, 95/98, NT and RedHat at home. In addition the you can revert to the "classic" networking method with VPC (no IP sharing) if there is a program that doesn't work properly with IP sharing. SW does not have this flexibility.

USB Support. SoftWindows (according to their web site) only added USB floppy support. VPC 3.0 adds extensive USB support. VPC 3.0 now emulates a USB chip. This is the major difference between VPC 3.0 and SW. This means that you can use the Windows native driver for an Epson USB printer and not have to use the printer emulation, thus giving you the all the features of the printer within VPC. You can use USB to SCSI adapters, USB MIDI boxes, USB scanners, USB film readers, USB joysticks, etc.

AppleScript. VPC 3.0 scripting support is extensive. You can record, write and run scripts in Windows. You can script configurations and preferences (since SW can only run one OS, this probably isn't needed in SW). According to Apple's AppleScript web site, SoftWindows is "minimally scriptable: supports only Do Script or Required Suite commands. "

"The emulation engine was not made faster." Yes, it was. Improvements include faster disk performance (DMA support as well). The new Sound Blaster emulation improves game playability and multimedia playback. The networking emulation was improved.

Note from the editor: We stick with our assertion that the Virtual PC 3.0 emulation engine was not made faster mainly because Connectix does not claim that it is faster in version 3.0. The subsystems Malm mentions (disk, Sound Blaster, and networking emulation), do not constitute the "emulation engine," which usually refers to the overall system. With past new versions, Connectix has claimed that general performance was improved by a given amount (such as 25 percent) over the previous version. With Virtual PC 3.0, Connectix makes no such claims about overall performance.


Reader Reports

Linux on Virtual PC 3

Some reader comments on installing and running Linux on VPC 3. (For more on installing Linux on Virtual PC, see the MacWindows Emulator Tips page.) Also remember that Connectix says it will sell VPC 3 with Linux by the end of March 2000.

Richard Brooks
November 5, 1999

I've successfully installed and run Red Hat Linux 6.1 on Virtual PC 3 (on my PowerBook G3 Series 400 MHz). FTP-based installation didn't work (the installer bombed out with an exception part way through) but installation from CD-ROM went very smoothly. (I selected the "Generic Multisync" monitor, btw.)

X works, but I've found that the Gnome environment grinds to a halt after a few minutes, and the only way out is to kill the X server from another virtual terminal. I've also found that the mouse doesn't quite work properly. It seems to think I'm clicking when I move the trackpad pointer around at speed. I suspect this is an incompatibility between the Linux mouse driver and Virtual PC's emulation.

Linux in text only mode seems to work just fine with no problems at all, as far as I can see.

Michel Lefrançois
November 8, 1999

I am currently running Linux Mandrake 6.1 under Virtual PC 3.0 on a B and W 350 MHz. It is slow but working just fine, including TCP/IP connections. The emulated hardware components were easily detected during installation. I would say that Mandrake is easier to install and use than pure RedHat and the support for foreign languages is probably better. I can use the French Canadian keyboard map both in the console and the X Window environment. I tried other distributions like Open Linux 2.3 or Slackware with no luck. I considered this setup a good and cheap way to learn the Unix environment.

Dennis Keller
November 11, 1999

First, a good place to get cheap x86 Linux distributions is Cheapbytes.com.

I ordered the CheapBytes CDs for RedHat 6.1, OpenLinux 2.3, and LinuxMandake 6.1 ($1.99 each). I only tried the install of OpenLinux 2.3. I was successful the first time, but wrote over my W95 install (Drive C). I learned later that OpenLinux has a utility which allows a "Dual Boot" capability, if you have a second Drive (Drive D).

All of the KDE desktop, console, and terminal windows work. I ran the Linux program GIMP and all seems to function. The emulation is sloowww on my PowerMac 7300 with 400 MHz G3 card. I have 64 Megs allocated to the PC environment within VPC. You can speed things up a bit by disabling Linux virtual memory (swap space) by entering "swapoff -a now" when logged in as root.

Yesterday I went back and launched the older LinuxPPC Live (demo) which I still had on my Mac. Running the same KDE desktop and then running GIMP. Well, let me just say that there was a huge difference in speed and responsiveness. My conclusion was that the overhead in the Linux/X Window environment seems to be a bit too much for emulation on the Mac to handle. Windows 95 runs fairly well and is useable. If you are only running telnet and the console in Linux, then Linux emulation may run fast enough to make it worthwhile.

January 28, 2000 --
Philippe Tapon reports of a successful installation of Slackware 7.0 Zipslack, a "lean mean version of Linux," on Virtual PC 3.0:

I downloaded Slackware 7.0 Zipslack from and stuck it the shared folder (the swap file) of VPC. I had FreeZip (which you can also get from the compression utilities section of Windows 98 of Tucows; it's very handy and it worked very well) and after copying zipslack.zip to the root of a blank partition VPC created (and which I called D:, giving it a 1 GB), I unzipped it in the root of that partition. It took about half an hour. The readme.1st has some essential information about booting Linux with zipslack. (In my case the partition name turned out to be hdb1.) readme1st has to be read in a Windows-DOS environment.

Once the partition name was correctly set in the batch file, slacklinux booted like a champ; standard iMac keyboard, mouse (2 button Logitech), and it seems most of my devices were all correctly mounted out of the box. (Wow!) For the record, I'm on an iMac DV SE (G3/400) running VPC 3.0 on Mac OS 9.0.

Note: Zipslack is a lean mean version of Linux, and doesn't come with X let alone KDE or GNOME; it doesn't even come with midnight commander (a file editor I can hardly get along without!) (Boo hoo!) IN addition zipslack is a UMSDOS flavor; Linux purists would say it's not a REAL Linux partition. But it runs! And slack is excellent for tinkering; you can build the whole system piece by piece. Get a HOW-TO on the basics of Linux as the online help isn't always helpful.

Total cost of slackzip, FreeZip, and HOW-TO: $0.00.

OpenLinux on Virtual PC 3.0.

February 1, 2000 --Rick Zeman successfully installed OpenLinux 2.3 on Virtual PC 3.0:

It was a total piece of cake. All "hardware" was detected properly and the install was point and click. The only problem was when I'd created a "D" drive for VPC that was greater than MB. First reboot, it died (hence the discrepancy between the portioning screenshot and the "mount" command on the console screenshot).

OpenLinux 2.3 is easier and faster to install than any Windows 9x or NT.

One real cool thing is that Linux transparently used the Mac's IP stack.

That addition to VPC 3.0, to me, makes the $45 upgrade cost a no-brainer.

X is horridly slow (unusable, basically), but the console-based utilities run great. I wonder how Connectix is going to get their RedHat-based version of VPC to give acceptable X performance? After all, I can't think of too many Macs that are faster than my B&W 450, and XFree86 is the same no matter what distribution is used.

Click here for screen shots of OpenLinux on VPC 3.

March 13, 2000 -- An article by Matt Snider at the Accelerate Your Mac web site discusses how Snider installed RedHat 6.1 on a G4 running Virtual PC 3.

Problem installing Corel Linux on Virtual PC 3

April 12, 2000 -- David Lawson tried to install Corel LINUX on Virtual PC 3 but ran into a problem. Corel asks you do boot from a CD or floppy. Being unable to boot from the Corel CD in VPC, and having a blue and white G3 with no floppy drive, he created a disk image:

I was able to make a LINUX boot floppy by creating a 1.4 MB floppy image with Disk Copy, formatting it as a DOS floppy, dragging the resulting .img file onto the "Eject Floppy" button in order to "insert" it, and running Corel's "make boot floppy" utility. Upon restarting, VPC recognized the floppy and started booting from it.

I saw "LILO" flash on the screen briefly before the Corel LINUX splash screen loaded. The splash screen shows a few startup messages, in order:

Loading Corel Linux...
Starting Corel Linux...
Detecting hardware...

After this, I get a black screen with the message:

Starting Graphical Install...
Corel Linux #

If you don't enter anything at this prompt, the screen refreshes itself a couple of times, after which it ejects the LINUX CD and reboots from the boot floppy. The reboot hangs at the "Starting Corel Linux..." message on the splash screen until you reinsert the CD, after which you get the "Detecting hardware..." message, followed by the bash prompt...presumably ad infinitum.

April 13, 2000 -- Readers verify Corel Linux/VPC3 problem; one offers workaround

Several readers reported having this same problem. (Including Shane Anderson, Editor of SemperMac and reader John Dennis.)

Another reader named Adly suggested a workaround, though he didn't try it. His basic idea is to boot without hardware autodetetion by pressing I during booting:

I'm guessing that the "Detecting Hardware" step is kdzu running. If it is you can try booting the machine without hardware autodetection. Most Linux boot scripts allows you to enter interactive startup by pressing "I" during booting. So press "I" when asked to do so and say yes to everything EXCEPT "detect hardware".

This should boot you into a very basic (virtual) machine. You should have the graphics and keyboard set up properly since they are detected by the kernel itself. Not sure about the mouse though.

However, David Lawson reported on April 17 that he tried the reader suggestion of pressing the I key while Corel LINUX is booting, but it did not enable Linux to boot. "I just had a screen full of "i" characters once it reached the command prompt."

Older Linux runs on VPC 3. April 17, 2000 -- Gary Leach is successfully running Red Hat Linux 5.0 (an older version) on Virtual PC 3.

The Configuration Manager made all the difference in the world. All I had to do was duplicate the Win 95 C:Drive configuration, boot from the Linux floppy, blast the Win 95 partition with Disk Druid and replace with Linux native and swap partitions. From that point installation was smooth and clean; even X Windows works as well as I expected. The only serious issue was the inability to mouse from the Linux environment to the Mac environment, though you could still access certain Mac functions via keyboard commands. (I found the essential Mac keyboard commands to be for quitting VPC and for summoning the VPC 3 Configuration Manager.)

 

BeOS on Virtual PC 3 on iMac

January 31, 2000 -- BeOS started out as a cross-platform operating system, running on both Macs and PC hardware. However, Be OS doesn't support Macs with G3 and G4 processors. It was only a matter of time before MacWindows readers tried running BeOS on Virtual PC. Philip McDunnough has done so on his iMac DV, but ran into a problem with getting the keyboard to work:

I almost got the BeOS v4 to run on VPC 3 . It installed just fine, with a trick, and all things were configured properly (even networking) except for the keyboard. The mouse was okay but for some odd reason do anything with the keyboard froze the BeOS. If anyone has any idea how to get around this I'd be really happy. The install was on an iMac DV/SE . I partitioned an 800 MB container into a BFS partition and a DOS partition. I then used BeWrite to copy the BeOS CD to the BFS partition. For some odd reason this then allowed me to install onto the DOS partition and successfully reboot into BeOS. When I tried to move the install into its own BFS container the computer would not boot the BeOS from that container. Strange indeed.

The bottom line is that the keyboard is all that stands between me running the BeOS 4 under VPC 3. So help!!

As always, your solution to this problem is gratefully appreciated.

Free BeOS 5 problems on Virtual PC 3.

April 3, 2000
Victor S.

With all the buzz going on about the freeware version of BeOS 5.0, I decided to try install it on my PowerBook (Pismo) under Virtual PC 3.0. The installer is a 40+Mb Win32 executable, which of course means that it has to be run from a pre-existing Win9x environment. Anyhow it installed fine under VPC. I wasn't able to get it to run at the PowerBook's native 1024x768 screen resolution, despite the fact that it did autodetect VPC's virtual S3 driver. It runs, albeit slowly (what did I expect). I tried to configure it to test the networking but when it came time to type in an IP address, I found that it wouldn't accept any keyboard input and got stuck at that window. Eventually I got bored, decided I had better things to do, and got out by quitting VPC entirely.

Other Issues

An early look

Victor Y
September 23, 1999

So far the VPC 3.0 upgrade appears to be working great. The only slight glitch I noticed is that in order for VPC to recognize my PowerBook Series G3's floppy drive it (the drive) MUST be installed in the right expansion bay. This is a bit irksome because this means that I now have to choose between having the CD-ROM or floppy drive installed while I use VPC. (Previously I could put the unit on AC power, pop out the battery from the left bay and insert the floppy drive module there so that I'd have both CD-ROM and an A: drive available. This worked fine with VPC 2.1.x. Not with 3.0).

Windows 2000 beta on VPC 3.0

NOTE : The report was before Connectix began shipping Virtual PC with Windows 2000.

Nick Reeve
October 14, 1999

Just thought I'd drop you a note to say that I have Windows 2000 RC2, which just arrived in my October Technet, running on Virtual PC3. The install took a deathly 4 hrs, but it went OK. You need 649 Mb [hard disk space]... yes 649 for for the install. The setup.exe is a Windows program and will upgrade or do a clean install. I added a new hard disk file of 750 Mb and it automatically picked this for the \WINNT folder. So now I have a dual boot Win 95/2000 install.

I'm running it on a StarMax G3/240 with 96 Mb RAM. It's slow but manageable.

VPC and stock trading software

Ann Tarvin
November 29, 1999

I bought VPC 3.0 so that I can run stock tracking software, which seems to be more abundant and cheaper than for the Mac. My first install was with Wordon's tc2000. I have a 56K modem that had been set up for Mac OS 8.6. The Internet wizards in Windows 98 froze the whole system when I tried to run them, but if I ignored the Windows Internet setup and just used my Mac IP set up, the tc2000 installation went fine.

The first download of stock data from Wordon's took 4 times as long as they said it would, and gave me lots of messages that it wasn't working, but it continued to chug along and an hour later I came back and it had installed properly after all.

The second day that I downloaded stock data, it took 4 minutes and created no problems.

Problem with Win NT networks

December 6, 1999 -- Red Miller reports a problem with Virtual PC 3.0 that he didn't have with VPC 2.1.3. He can't find his Windows NT 4 domain server with NetBEUI:

I'm having some trouble upgrading from VPC 2.1.3 to 3.0 I've already spoken the Connectix tech support twice, and they are unable to help.

The basic problem is that under VPC 3.0, my Win NT 4 Domain Server is not found. This prohibits me from logging into the domain. I can see a very (few) PCs in the domain using Network Neighborhood, but not the domain name server. This appears to be a NetBEUI problem. TCP/IP is working.

I've already tried reinstalling all the Windows network drivers.

I've also restored my old VPC 2.13 from back-up, and it still works fine (although perceptibly slower than VPC 3.0). The problem only occurs with VPC 3.0.

I'm using a PowerBook G3 series, OS 8.1, 96 Mb RAM. We've also duplicated the problem on one of the newer bronze keyboard PBs running OS 9. We have only encountered the problem when upgrading from 2.1 to 3.0. We have not tested a clean install of VPC 3.0.

December 23 --- Red Miller sent an update to this problem:

I received an e-mail from Lee Graham at Connectix technical support yesterday. He writes: "I am corresponding with another customer with the same problems. We are looking into this, and as soon as I can provide details I will."

January 31, 2000 --- Mark Garcia suggests that the problem may be due to misconfigured WINS settings:

The WINS may not be set up correctly in Windows XX on VPC. If the TCP/IP settings are correct, he needs to contact his NT administrators to get the WINS information. If he is getting his IP address via DHCP, it is not always set correctly. If he is entering his IP address manually then he needs to enable WINS and put in the correct IP address. A reboot should give him the three-box login and hopefully a domain connection.

Rounding error with Virtual PC 3.0.

December 17, 1999
Tim Collins

We use VPC 3.0 win95 on G3 PowerMacs to run our accounts package clients Scala v5.0 across our Novell 4.1 network. We also have Compaq Pentiums in the accounts dept running the same.

We've come up against a strange problem - the clients running on the Macs subtract 1p [pence] off each line of each order (they round down) whereas the Pentiums don't.

We're a bit stuck - Scala doesn't support Macs and our Mac users really don't want to go to PCs.

December 20, 1999 -- Timothy Dimo has some theories as to why this might be occurring:

Lord knows I'm no expert in this area, but I'll give it a try:

The first question to ask is exactly what kind of PC the software was tested on. This may have something to do with the Pentium's floating point error of 1994. (I know I'm not the only one who remembers it!)

To quote Connectix:

Virtual PC uses the PowerPC's 64-bit FPU to emulate the Pentium's 80-bit FPU. This sometimes causes precision errors, but the errors happen in the 16th decimal place.

By design, the Pentium itself has errors in the 20th decimal place. For perspective, the infamous Pentium divide bug caused problems in the 5th decimal place. To get the extra four digits of precision would slow down FPU math in Virtual PC by at least a factor of 10.

(Found at Connectix.com support section.)

Since VPC emulates the entire structure of the Pentium/MMX processor (and not later chips), it would make sense that the benefits as well as problems of this architecture would surface.

But, again, if the software is already running on the Pentium/MMX platform on the other computers, it could be a region specific issue: On the Connectix site is an issue with Visual Basic (Japanese version) and VPC.

VPC Unrecoverable Processor Errors.

December 17, 1999 --
Russ Quick

I've been using Virtual PC since it first came out. With version 1, I never had this problem, but with version 2.x and 3, I have been getting occasional "Unrecoverable Processor Errors." Short version, you have to restart the PC (not the Mac, just the emulator). It seems to happen most often when working with shared folders, but I have no idea what is causing it (it is not a naming problem, it happens whether the folder has "weird" characters in its name, or if I just call it "drive_f." message is on our Virtual PC 3.0 page.

Tip: Sharing an Internet connection with Virtual PC 3.0 and Mac

December 23, 1999

Jeremy West notes that in order to get Virtual PC 3.0 to share an Intenet connection with the Macs, you need two things:

  1. A static IP address for the Mac.
  2. A change in VPC's Network preferences. The default is to share the IP address with the Mac, but you must change it to separate IP addresses for it to work.

Problem with freeze with SuperDisk USB

January 19, 2000 -- A reader reports that Virtual PC 3.0 freezes when he installs an Imation SuperDisk USB drive when this message comes up: "New Hardware Found Imation MSD Adapter Windows is installing the software." Other USB devices seem to work fine. Details:

I have an iMac 266 MHz System 9.0, 160 MB RAM , a single speed Imation SuperDisk USB. Virtual PC 3.0. Have installed the latest Driver Software for both the Mac and Windows 98. Have set the system BIOS to recognize USB devices (and in fact it recognizes and operates both my Epson printer and Midiport32) and even shows the SuperDisk in the BIOS. BUT, freezes up with a large hourglass on a screen "New Hardware Found Imation MSD Adapter Windows is installing the software" . If I have the "My Computer" window open and unplug the SuperDisk USB cable, the hourglass changes to a pointer cursor and for about 1 seconds the SuperDisk Icon appears in the window, then disappears. I spent at least 2 hours with 3 different techs from Connectix over 3 days on the problem.

They have had others also say the computer is locking up on the Imation MSD Adapter . I don't know if Imation has to fix the driver or if Connectix Virtual PC is the problem or if it is Windows 98.

March 21, 2000

Th.v.Keller reports having the same problem.

Virtual PC printing problem and solution

February 15, 2000 -- Nathan Zamprogno was having a problem printing to a LocalTalk Postscript printer from Virtual PC 3.0 on an iMac. The problem was that print jobs from VPC would just disappear. He solved the problem by creating a shared folder and getting Windows to create a spool file in this new folder, and getting the Mac to print any job that gets placed there.

Another reader found that a similar problem was caused by a conflict with a FaxSTF extenion file.

First, Nathan Zamprogno's report:

Windows to generate the spool file for your print job and then save it to a directory you nominate. So, try and print something. In addition to the standard print dialogs, it will ask for a file destination. You may have guessed by now- you ask it to put the spool file into your "P:" drive, and you need to give it a name like "a.prn" (the actual name does not matter, but it's probably better to keep the ".prn" extension. It may also make sense to name them alphabetically, because if you spool several jobs quickly and the first one has not finished printing, then at least they have different names (therefore, "a.prn", "b.prn", etc.)

So what this does is *force* the spool file to go straight over to the Mac side, circumventing the original problem of jobs disappearing into the void between Virtual PC and the Mac. Using this technique, the printer works 100 percent of the time.

We have had repeated problems in printing to a PostScript printer in Virtual PC version 3. I have now found a fix and would like to pass it on for your readers' benefit.

The problem

We have an original edition iMac running OS 8.6. We also have an old Texas Instruments MicroLaser 600. This is a LocalTalk only, PostScript printer. The two are connected using an AsanteTalk LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge box. So as far as the iMac is concerned, the printer is on Ethernet. The printer always printed perfectly from the Mac side.

The problem was that in Virtual PC, print jobs randomly disappeared and never printed. All the settings appropriate for a PostScript printer were set. On the odd occasion it *did* work you could track the job through the various bowels of the system- the spooled job appeared in the printer in Windows, disappeared, and then shortly afterwards would appear in the desktop printer of the Mac side, disappear, and then would print fine.

When it *didn't* work, the job appeared in the Windows spooler, disappeared and *never* appeared on the Mac side. There was never any rhyme or reason as to when it would work and when not. The only rule was that a "not printing" experience was occurring about 90% of the time.

Solution

Created a "shared folder" between the Virtual PC side and the Mac side. In this case, mapped to the folder which is actually the *Desktop printer* on the Mac side. For example- if your Postscript desktop printer is called "Admin Laser" on the Mac side, and you create a shared folder inside Virtual PC mapped to a certain drive letter (I chose "P:" for "Printer"), you'll see a "folder" called "Admin Laser" on the Mac Desktop when you go to set which location on the Mac side it equates to. This is because Desktop Printers are really just glorified folders. Any file that gets deposited into this folder is treated as a print job and is printed. Naturally, the file has to be in the appropriate format- in this case a Postscript file (or EPS). This may also work if you use the older style "Print Monitor" style of printing. In this case, the folder you would map to is called "Print Monitor Documents" in the Mac System Folder.

The next part requires you to change a setting on the "Properties" of the printer inside Windows. Right click on the printer, select "PostScript" and select "Encapsulated PostScript". The other types (like "optimize for Portability/ Speed" seem to work, but EPS seems the safest bet). Now, select the "Details" tab and where you nominate the "Port" to print to (such as LPT1, COM1 or define a network path such as "\\SERVER\PRINTER"), select the option for "FILE".

This tells Windows to generate the spool file for your print job and then save it to a directory you nominate. So, try and print something. In addition to the standard print dialogs, it will ask for a file destination. You may have guessed by now- you ask it to put the spool file into your "P:" drive, and you need to give it a name like "a.prn" (the actual name does not matter, but it's probably better to keep the ".prn" extension. It may also make sense to name them alphabetically, because if you spool several jobs quickly and the first one has not finished printing, then at least they have different names (therefore, "a.prn", "b.prn", etc.)

So what this does is *force* the spool file to go straight over to the Mac side, circumventing the original problem of jobs disappearing into the void between Virtual PC and the Mac. Using this technique, the printer works 100 percent of the time.

Virtual PC 3.0 printing conflict with FaxSTF Pro.

February 21, 2000 -- Steve Amis found a conflict with Virtual PC 3.0 and FaxSTF Pro. Virtual PC won't print when the Chooser extension called FaxPrint is in the Extensions folder:

I have a Macintosh G3 (beige) tower with 98 meg memory, running system 8.6. I have an HP 4m printer. I purchased Virtual PC to use some PC software for my business that does not have a Macintosh version. Everything, including printing, worked fine for about 4 weeks before I started having printer troubles. At first, it would print occasionally, then after a few days stopped printing altogether. Virtual PC would spool the print job just fine but nothing happened on the Mac side. We talked to tech support twice but they could not pinpoint the problem.

I finally found the source of the problem and thought you might want to know about it. We use FaxSTF Pro to fax from the computer. It has a Chooser extension called FaxPrint that sets up a virtual printer to print the faxes as they come in. You cannot print from Virtual PC with FaxPrint in the extension folder. Removing FaxPrint seems to correct the problem.

Virtual PC 3.0 incompatible with PowerPrint 5

February 22, 2000
Matthew Smith

I tried to use an iMac running VPC 3.0 to print to an old dot matrix PC printer using PowerPrint 5.0. However, there was no success. According to InfoWave, because of the way VPC handles COM ports, the 2 products are not compatible. I was able to print from Macintosh applications even when VPC was running in the background. However, printing from VPC was not possible.

NOTE: PowerPrint is a package of Mac drivers for PC printers. Virtual PC uses the Macintosh print drivers and requires that printers be accessible from the Mac OS side in order to print to them from Windows.

Why Virtual PC supports Voodoo2 but not ATI 3D hardware.

April 25, 2000
Stuart Cairns

I e-mailed Connectix, asking for info on the video card that is emulated, and whether VPC could access the 3D accelleration capapbilities of the ATI cards that now ship with Apple computers, in particular the ATI Rage Mobility chipset in the new G3 laptops.

Thought you might be interested in the reply:

It is the S3 Trio 32/64 PCI SVGA card.

We do not support ATI or any 2D/3D combo card due to conflicts. When you have two competing operating systems trying to access one chip (Mac OS and Windows) for graphics, conflicts result in crashes.

This is why the only 3D card that works with VPC is the Voodoo2 3D only card. This card has a bypass that allows Mac OS to access the ATI card for 2D graphics.

Control-option-delete no longer works with VPC 3.0.3/3.03A and USB keyboard

April 28, 2000 -- Steve Elliott of Laptopguide.com reports of a problem he has with the new Virtual PC 3.0.3A and the 3.0.3 updates with Windows NT:

There appears to be an issue with Virtual PC 3.0.3 and Windows NT in combination with an Apple USB keyboard. The issue is this: ctl-alt-del no longer works with the control-option(alt)-delete keys on the USB keyboard. This put a bit if a crimp on functionality. I haven't found a key combo that works, so as a workaround I'm attempting to write an AppleScript that will send the key combo (convenient as VPC 3.x versions use that handy script menu).

Now I just have to figure out the keymap codes for the right keys...

May 3, 2000

Connectix replies:

I wanted to let you know that this is not a bug. This is as designed. Let me explain. First of all remember that the backspace key and the delete key are two separate and different keys. While they sometimes perform the same function, they are in fact unique.

In the past, we used to map "ctrl-alt-backspace" to mean the same as "ctrl-alt-delete." This would allow users with laptops and "short" Apple USB keyboards (any keyboard without a forward-delete key) to get the "ctrl-alt-delete" functionality. However, in developing for Linux, we came across the fact that "ctrl-alt-backspace" is used as the command to force a kill of the X-Server! So, we had to change the key command. Here's what you need!

To get "ctrl-alt-del" functionality on a laptop or keyboard without a forward-delete key, use the combo:

"shift-ctrl-alt-backspace" this equals "ctrl-alt-del"

and from now on, "ctrl-alt-backspace" means "ctrl-alt-backspace"

Our apologies. We documented this in the manual, but failed to add this info to the updater readme. Please let your readers know about this workaround.

Thanks,

Jeff Woolsey
QA Manager
Connectix Corp.

VPC 3 looses monitor sync, DSL connection.

May 1, 2000 --
Steve Cordova

When I launch VPC 3 /Win 95, I lose monitor sync and my DSL link. Is this a widespread problem? I have a B&W G3 with 640 MB RAM and a second 10 GB Hard Drive which is partitioned and VPC is on the partition. It did the lose sync and DSL connection when I had it installed on the original 6 GB HD where my system folder is, so I don't know if VPC needs to be on the system drive.

I just updated to OS 9 and I have the same problem.

Virtual PC networking conflict with DAVE.

Connectix' tech support database (article 4318) reports of a problem where running Thursby's DAVE networking software on the Mac prevents Virtual PC from getting a network connection from Windows. Connectix says the problem is that NetBIOS only allows one NetBIOS setting per Ethernet port, and both DAVE and VPC Windows are setting their own instance of NetBIOS. Connectix suggests disabling disabling TCP/IP in DAVE's NetBIOS' control panel. This prevents the Mac side from accessing PC networks, but enables Virtual PC Windows access to the network.

After our innitial report, readers have reported seeing conflict. (John Lockwood uses the DAVE Control Strip module instead of the control panel to turn DAVE's NetBIOS off and on as needed.)

However, several readers wrote to say that they can get around the problem by using Virtual PC's unique IP mode with a static IP address. The Connectix article does not mention this as a solution.

Martin Forrester
June 30, 2000

We use DAVE and VPC simultaneously all the time, with a single network adapter, and we don't see any problems accessing the PC network from either side...I have verified that it *is* my use of unique-IP mode that apparently avoids the conflict.

When I switch VPC to shared-IP mode, and set TCP/IP in Win9x to use DHCP, I am unable to 1) authenticate at logon to the domain controller, 2) browse the windows network. I *can* manually connect to network services, by typing in an explicit path. That's the way it's always been.

But if I disable DAVE's NetBIOS using the control strip, then everything seems to work fine in shared-IP mode...

In unique-IP mode I have no problems whatsoever with DAVE's NetBIOS turned on, so it does seem like Connectix is overstating the problem. Of course if others find that unique-IP *doesn't* solve the problem for them, then there must be other factors at play.

Greg Newton
June 30, 2000

We have a number of Macs running Dave on our NT network, some running Virtual PC and some running Orange PC cards to allow the use of Windows programs on the Macs platforms. The only reliable way to do this when using Dave is to use a FIXED IP address on the Windows emulator or card. The only hassle is just keeping track of these addresses (I use an Excel spreadsheet) so when you add a machine to the network, you don't inadvertently duplicate the IP address. This method works flawlessly on all versions of VPC and Orange PC.

John Lockwood
June 30, 2000

The Mac and VPC do share IP addresses successfully if the Mac uses a static address (and Windows then correctly gets an address from VPC and not a LAN based DHCP server). Its only when the Mac is also set to use DHCP that things go wrong.

VPC incompatible with HomeSite 4.5 HTML editor

July 6, 2000

Craig Stein reports that Virtual PC 3.0 won't launch HomeSite 4.5, the Windows HTML editor. However, earlier versions of HomeSite do run on VPC 3. Stein tried Windows 98 and Windows 2000.

Several readers confirmed the incompatibility. Tony Martin says that earlier this year he reported it to Connectix, which reproduced and confirmed that it was an incompatibility. Mike Slaven reports that he and 4 others he knows have also had the problem.

ColdFUsion Studio conflict with VPC

July 7, 2000 -- Helmut Doll has an experience with Virtual PC 3.0.3 and ColdFusion Studio 4.5.1 which sounds similar to the one with HomeSite 4.5:

It crashes on startup with a general page fault (I think that's hat it was.) Version 4.0 runs without problems.

Trouble running X-Window client under VPC 3

July 7, 2000 --Terry Brady reports being unable to use two different Windows 98 X Window clients under Virtual PC 3.0:

I just saw today's post about trouble running HomeSite under VPC and it reminded me of an issue I encountered last week.

Trying to use the XWin32 package under VPC 3.0 simply failed to connect to one of our linux servers, yet running it on the single NT box here worked fine. I have no idea what the problem is, but MI/X (a Mac OS X-Windows client package) also failed, which may indicate it's a problem with Open Transport or something other than VPC... hard to say.

Tips on getting X Window to work; problem with 3-button mouse

July 11, 2000
Matt Bieneman

If there is a problem with Open Transport or VPC networking, then it would affect all X-Windows servers. I have found that that is not true. Possibly Mr. Brady has not tried using a fixed IP address for Windows.

I have been using Exceed version 6.2 under Windows 98 with Virtual PC since I purchased my PowerBook in March. It works fine as a X-Windows server, but you cannot start an XDMCP session unless you have a separate IP address for Windows, rather than using DHCP or NAT. When you do that, it works fine except for the usual multi-button mouse problems:

Virtual PC is too dumb to realize that I have a three-button mouse. It insists that I have a one-button mouse, and emulates the second button by pretending that I have pressed the control key. It has no way whatsoever to use the third button. This makes it impossible to use the Exceed third-button emulation, since I can't press two buttons at once as I would with a real PC-compatible. Connectix apparently has no understanding of this problem, judging by their useless response. (I have a similar problem with VISIO: I have to change the Virtual PC setup to pretend that I am pressing shift with the second button, because in VISIO you need to press control with a mouse button.)

In spite of the mouse problems and the need for two fixed IP addresses, it is totally cool running X-Windows programs on a PowerBook over an AirPort network.

More tips for using X Window with Virtual PC

July 11, 2000
Paul Lambert.

First, a correction of nomenclature. The programs they mention are "X servers" in the common naming of things. The truly correct name is: "X11R6 Display Server".

The server is the side with the actual monitor and the person sittingin front of it. The client is the side with the program running. It seems backwards in many ways, as most people think of the 'server' as where the work gets done. But if you think of it as a 'display server' and not a 'program server', which is exactly the right way to think of it, it makes more sense.

In any case, it seems pretty silly to me to even bother to run something like MI/X under VPC, since there is a Mac version as well, and it is free software.

The problems he describes could be network problems, but if that were the case, they'd be seen by other applications. However, what is probably the _real_ case is that it's either a firewall issue, a configuration issue, or something similar. X11 isn't a simple thing to set up for most people... it takes a great deal of thought.

Because the program with the actual display (i.e. MI/X, for example) is the _server_, it has to _accept_ a connection, not make one. The machine on the other end, the Linux or Solaris or FreeBSD or other UNIX box, connects to the display server. So if incoming connections aren't allowed or are blocked in any way, this will fail.

Some X11 display servers will allow you to automatically 'rlogin' or 'rsh' to a remote host and run a program to connect back. This is a convenience feature and has nothing to do with X11. Many sites disable these features (rsh and rlogin) on their UNIX servers because of security reasons: these protocols were designed in the day when everyone trusted everyone else, and so they're horribly insecure.

I'd recommend the person in question make sure they can log into the remote host, first of all, and then set their DISPLAY environment variable correctly to point to the IP of their X Display Server and the correct screen number thereon. Then, a program such as 'xdpyinfo' will tell you if it can connect to the server without actually bringing up a window--convenient for troubleshooting.

Personally, I would run MacX or MI/X on the Mac side, though, since there is no functionality really gained by running a Windows X Display Server under emulation.

(By the way, for those readers who have the book Macintosh Windows Integration, these and other X Window topics are covered in Chapter 17.)

Incompatibility with Intel Email Postscards

July 10, 2000 -- Tom Chiara reports that Virtual PC 3 won't run Intel Email Postcards, a utility in the Intel PC Camera Pro Pack and PC Camera Pack that lets you add video and photos in e-mail. Chira says Connectix tech support has confirmed the incompatibility, and that there is no fix yet or workaround yet. If you know of one, please let us know.

Confirmed Workaround

July 11, 2000 -- Tom Chiara found a workaround to this problem--a solution that could apply to some of the other VPC incompatibilities readers have been reporting recently.

The workaround is simple: run the Postcard from the Virtual PC C drive; Running on the C: drive is a requirement for this software. Both Chiara and Connectix Technical Support, which verified the conflict, had been running the software on "shared drives." To get it to work, Chiara simply copied the Postcard .exe file to the Windows desktop on C: and ran it from there.

This restriction may also apply to other Windows software.

A positive experience with Italian software

Sandro Bilbeisi
July 14, 2000

I am Sandro Bilbeisi , a software developer and system integrator based in Rome, Italy.

I've successfully managed to run Windows NT Workstation 4 (Service packs up to 6) with ColdFusion Application Server and ColdFusion Studio 4 - 4.5.1 on Virtual PC 3->3.0.3. I actually use this setup!

(I've just bought a Compaq portable and a Dell PC, but I was using the above mentioned VPC setup for weeks).

Furthermore , I've had no problems using an Epson 760 USB inkjet printer (it works beautifully) - you just need to move some USB libraries, its all described at the Connectix website.

Surprisingly, I've also managed to use the Logitech (ex Connectix) QuickCamVC. It appears to work better under VPC than straight on my iMac. I Wonder why.

I am using Virtual PC 3.03 on an iMac DV SE (latest firmware v2.4), 128 Mb RAM, MacOS 9.0.4 Italian, QuickTime 4.1.2 Italian and just about every OS component is up to date. The Epson driver is the latest Italian one (v6.3) and the QuickCam drivers are also the freshest from Logitech FTP site.

TIP: Running Napster 2.0 beta in Virtual PC 3.03

July 19, 2000
Gilles Raymond

Fully compatible. It works perfectly but you need a few workarounds, thanks to Eric Garneau for the tips and instructions he provided me with :
  1. On the MacOS side, deactivate TCP/IP (Control Panels, TCP/IP, Edit Menu, User Mode, Advanced, Options, OK)
  2. Launch Virtual PC
  3. Go to the Preferences Window
  4. Select Networking. TCP/IP Settings: Select Use unique IP address.
  5. Restart Windows
  6. Launch Napster... You'll be able to upload and download everything! Without this workaround, you can only download... like Macster)

    It works for me. Great.

Virtual private networks and Virtual PC

August 2, 2000 -- Walt French reports of a problem with Virtual PC and Virtual Private networks:

My corporate network access is through a "PowerVPN" tunneling system provided by InfoExpress, Inc. I can access our secure server but if I mistype an address I get "disconnected" messages that I never recover from. The s/w eventually crashes Win98 with a GPF (somewhere in WinSock?).

Connectix tech support says "Some [VPN systems] work; some don't."

On August 10, Connectix, QA Manager Jeff Woolsey, responded by saying that this should work:

We've set up and tested this configuration and it worked immediately with Virtual PC's default setup. No special setup was necessary other that installing and configuring the client. We also tested "mistyping" the address as Mr. French described (both with Shared IP and using Unique IP Addresses) and again, it worked as expected. An error came up and we continued by retyping and tunneling in successfully.

Woolsey also recommends using the virtual private network (VPN) client that ships with Windows 98 works with Virtual PC:

We use VPN quite a bit when we're on the road or to tunnel in from and we use the built-in Microsoft VPC Client that comes with Windows 98. This client also works very well with Virtual PC and it's included with Win 98 for free.

In the future, I'll try and make sure that Tech Support has better info on this.

August 4, 2000 -- Mike Schienle has a web page describing how to establish a vitual private network connection using Unix and Windows running on a Mac. He uses Virtual PC and Windows security software to make the connection, then redirects the output to Tenon's MachTen, in which he uses UNIX X-Window programs. Sounds like a creative solution.

New Tips for Virtual PC.

August 11, 2000 -- Connectix QA Manager Jeff Woolsey has sent us over half a dozen new tips for using Virtual PC. We've posted them on our Emulators Tips page. These include:

TIP: VPC on PowerBook, 2000 keys. August 18, 2000 -- Reader Victor Y. send in a tip for using the Windows Insert and Delete keyboard functions in Virtual PC on a PowerBook G3 (Pismo), which doesn't have these keys. He discovered undocumented keyboard equivalents:

Delete = (Fn + Period key)
Insert = (Fn + M key)

A complete description is on our Emulator Tips page.

TIP: How to get Windows Me installed on VPC.

July 31, 2000 -- Shane Anderson (the "List Dad" of Mac EvangeList ) reports that he has tried to install a prerelease version of Windows Millennium Edition on Virtual PC, but receives an error message that he doesn't have a processor at least 150MHz.

A confirmation and workaround are listed below.

Conformation and explanation

August 31, 2000 -- Jay Weiss had the same problem with the Windows Me golden master under Virtual PC 3.0.3a, and

The problem lies with the fact that Windows Me MUST run on a machine with a speed of 150 MHz or greater. VPC 3 (as well as its older cousins) does NOT return the processor speed. The Windows Me installer errors out with a dialog that you must have at least a 150 MHz Pentium to install and then quits.

Connectix informs me that there is no workaround for this and eventually VPC should work with Windows Me, but they can not comment on unannounced products.

However, I have found that if you run the installer a "whole-bunch-of-times" then you can get the installer to work and install it, but I would not suggest it. It took me up to 35 tries (30 seconds each time) to get it to work. BTW - this is using the disk to install over Windows 98. If you try to install Windows Me from DOS it takes almost 4 minutes (on a 500 MHz G3) to get to the point where it tells you to give it up.

Workaround

September 1, 2000 -- Michael Kuntscher sent use a workaround:

Simply make a shortcut to the setup.exe file, open the Properties on it and add "-nm" without the quotation marks to turn off the setup apps processor test. (Modify the run line to read "setup.exe -nm". ) It will then install and work fine. Just make sure to have lots of hard disk image space...I've done it and Windows Me runs just as well as Windows 98 does.

September 11, 2000 Robert Vasquez explains it this way:

I haven't tried this yet, but it should be possible to run the Millennium installer under VPC by using the /nm switch, which leaves out the hardware speed check. Enter the command Setup /nm in the Run command or add it to a shortcut to the Setup.exe program.

November 7, 2000 It also worked for Rhys Moult:

I tried your sugestions and they worked. As I was installing a full version of Windows ME I found it worked if you typed in "setup.exe/-nm" at the dos prompt for e:

Installing Windows Me on VPC on an Italian system--Problems with video drivers

September 19, 2000 -- Sven Gustafsson was able to install Windows Me on Virtual PC using the workaround to bypass the speed test we've reported. However, on his Italian Mac OS system, he ran into other problems with video drivers:

He says:

In particular, the S3 Video Drivers and the Video Display Drivers cause VPC (or Windows ME) not to quit and display the blinking cursor in the lower right part of the DOS screen appearing just when the VPC window should disappear (returning to the Finder); the Windows Support Files (only those of the 3.0.3A update), on the other hand, cause Windows ME to crash with a "blue screen of death."

By installing all the additions except the aforementioned, everything works quite well, just as in Windows 98; only, the lack of the updated video drivers limits the screen resolution to thousands of colors - not a major problem!

Gustafsson uses a Power Mac G4 AGP 450 MHz with 128 MB RAM, of which 83 000 KB are allocated to VPC, and Italian Mac OS 9.0.4.

VPC with Linux doesn't support bootable disk images. September 7, 2000 -- Reb Guthrie

I bought VPC 3.0 bundled w/ Linux as an inexpensive way to get VPC ($45 w/rebate from Red Hat). I actually wanted VPC to use Win 98, which I owned separately.

With a custom install, I installed only the VPC app and skipped Linux. I then consulted VPC tech support for a way to make a bootable Windows diskette (image). They directed me to an article on their site that told me how to make a bootable disk from Windows, then make it a disk image via Disk Copy, etc.

It turns out that the VPC version w/ Linux does NOT include a component that allows it to recognize other bootable disks (or disk image files). A second call to tech support confirmed this, saying this component is lacking in the Linux version only, due to do licensing, etc.

They said I could use the ''Install Other OSs'' component from VPC 2.0, which I have. Although this would allow me to install Win 98, they said I'd be missing the shared drag and drop and other features. The ''best'' alternative was to exchange the VPC/Linux package I'd bought for a DOS bundle, though it's a hassle and I'd loose the rebate, making it more expensive...

Lesson: contrary to the way Connectix markets/positions VPC, you can't seamlessly move to different OSs -- if you start w/ the Linux bundle.

September 11, 2000 -- However, Raymond Yuan reports that he uses Mac disk images to do this:

I too have bought VPC with RedHat Linux, but managed to install my own copy of Window 98 SE. VPC (Linux) _does_ indeed recognize and boot off disk images! It works with Aladdin Shrinkwrap and Apple's Disk Copy formats.

The "Install Other OSs" component is noticeably absent in VPC 3.0. The drag and drop and volume sharing features can be found under the "Extras" folder of the "Virtual PC" folder. OR it can also be downloaded off the web (as Connectix posted an update to 3.03A.

Using VPC with Windows CE

Problem:

September 7, 2000 --
Mark Srebnik

I have used VPC for the last year to sync a Casio WinCE Palm-size PC using a serial port.

Recently, I bought the new Compaq iPaq 3630 PocketPC and tried synching using the USB cradle (and MS ActiveSync3.1). VPC 3.0.3 saw that there was something there but could only identify it as an 'unknown device'. After several phone calls with Compaq and Connectix, Compaq said they're using the latest USB protocols and that probably VPC was using older USB protocols and therefore couldn't recognize iPaq.

So the only way I could sync my iPaq was to get the slower serial cradle.

Possible solution:

NOTE: Mark Srebnik tried the follow suggestion and reports that it does not work. (See below).

September 13, 2000
Jacob Kotzubei

I thought I would pass along the following from Compaq's FAQ for the iPaq on its website in the hope that it may help (would love to know the result as I have an iPaq on back order and would like to sync in the same manner as Mark):

Q: I can't get my 3600 to connect to my PC by USB. What could be wrong?

A: There are many reasons that a USB connection might not function properly. Check the following: 

a) To support an ActiveSync connection using USB, your host PC must be running Windows 98 or Windows 2000. Microsoft does not support an ActiveSync USB connection under Windows 95 or Windows NT.

b) ActiveSync version 3.1 (Build 9439) must be installed on your host PC before the 3600 is connected for the first time. If the 3600 is connected to the PC first, it will not be recognized properly, and will be listed as an unknown USB device. If ActiveSync is installed first, when the 3600 is connected for the first time it will be recognized properly, and will be listed under the "Windows CE USB Devices" heading in Device Manager.

c) If the 3600 was connected to the PC before ActiveSync was installed, you must uninstall the 3600's USB device record in Device Manager (Go to Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs). After the device is removed, and ActiveSync is installed, reconnect the 3600. It will be recognized properly and listed under the "Windows CE USB Devices" heading.

d) The version of ActiveSync installed on the host PC must be version 3.1 (Build 9439) or later. This version (or later) is on the Microsoft CD shipped in the box with the 3600. If you are using a previous version, you must upgrade. You can download a upgrade at microsoft.com.

Why it doesn't work:

September 17, 2000
Mark Srebnik

Well, it doesn't work. As mentioned previously, the problem is (I'm quite sure) with VPC.

When you go in to VPC Preferences and click on USB it doesn't recognize iPaq. It knows that something is there but lists it as an 'Unknown Device'.

However, in Win98 Device Drivers I can see iPaq shown there as 'Compaq Aero USB' that's why as the Compaq tech support guy said, the problem is with VPC. He said that Compaq is using newer USB protocol than VPC.

A solution that works

February 6, 2001
In response to previous reader reports on the inability of Virtual PC to synch with Pocket PC handheld devices, David Calco wrote to say that he has succeeded on his PowerBook running OS 9.0.4.

The only reason I use it [Virtual PC 3.0 with Windows 98] is to synch with my Pocket PC (Casio Cassiopeia E-115) and misc. "PC only" apps. MS ActiveSync (whatever version's most recent) is loaded into Win 98 in Virtual PC.

The Pocket PC sits in its cradle: serial (DB9 connection) into a Keyspan "USB PDA Adapter) into the USB port on the pack of the PowerBook.

It is consistently wacky, requiring numerous control panels to be set carefully:

  • Mac OS: Keyspan control panel, VPC Preferences
  • Win 98: port speed settings, ActiveSync settings
  • Pocket PC: connection/speed settings

It's a pain and what I really want is for someone to write an app that allows synchronization of Win CE 3/Pocket PC with Microsoft Entourage in Office 2001 for Mac and to include all the file explore/transfer, AvantGo synch type of capabilities as well. This would eliminate the whole Virtual PC hassle.

It's difficult for me, I admit it. I cut my teeth on PC's, but now Mac OS is my preferred workspace, but the Cassiopeia has total web access, 65,000+ colors, MP3, MPEG, etc., and gazillions of add-ons. If it could synch with Entourage then it would be even better than the "old days" a few years ago when I used Outlook 98 on a PC.

Another way to move files

May 9, 2001
Robert Kawaratani

I noticed that you didn't have the easiest way to transfer files, especially large files between Macs, WinCE, etc. listed. Use a ATA flash memory card. That's how I transfer very large, >40 MB files to my HP200lx (well, that's a DOS machine but Japanese users do the same for Jornada 680's, 720's, 548's as well). I have a USB PC card reader attached to one of the USB ports on my G4. The main reason that I switched back to the HP200lx from a Newton 2000 was that I got frustrated with the poor and slow file transfers from my Mac compared to using a flash memory card to transfer stuff using PC card slots on Windows and Mac laptops to the HP200lx.

Another USB device that won't work: Garmin GPS units

September 14, 2000
Roger Lilly

I have been using VPC 3.03 to download maps, routes and waypoints and do firmware upgrades to my Garmin GPS units (Color Map and III+). It has worked very well using the serial port with the exception of occasional map download quitting some time during the process.

Garmin has recently released a USB programer for downloading maps directly to the memory modules (the GPS unit is not used at all during this process). Download speed are about a factor of 50 times greater than using the serial port.

Although VPC 3.03 using OS 9 supports USB, it fails with the Garmin unit. The Garmin USB driver does install, and the MapSource program does recognize the presence of the programer. However, upon attempting a download a failure occurs during the initialization process. Checking the Win 98 system control panel reveals the Garmin USB driver is no longer loaded. Unplugging and then plugging the USB programmer into the USB bus reloads the Garmin USB driver.

System: 350 MHz B&W, OS 9.04, VPC 3.03 Win 98

TIP: Configuring serial devices in Virtual PC

September 17, 2000 --Gregory Smith sent us a tip for configuring Virtual PC to use devices connected to older Macs' serial port. He credits John Feinberg for the tip.

There's an AppleScript called "Run before Lego Mindstorms" in the Virtual PC>Extras>More Scripts folder that gives you "virtual" control the pins of a serial port. The script is this:

With a little editing, Feinberg was able to run it from the Virtual PC Scripts menu.

Feinberg also used this tip with a serial device on a USB Mac with via a USB-serial adapter. (The serial device was a Polar Advantage Plus for downloading heart rate, speed, altitude from heart rate monitor/bike computer.) It worked with the Keyspan USB serial adapter (which provides two Mac serial ports. However, it did not work with a Belkin USB-PC serial (9-pin PC serial port) adapter.

Gregory Smith adds "I might also add that it worked with my uConnect USB->serial but not surprisingly it did not work with my Palm Connect."

VPC problem with AddWeb 3.

September 1, 2000 -- Glenn Hunt tries to run a demo of AddWeb 3 on Virtual PC, but gets an error message: "this program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down." He can run it on a PC, but not on a Power Mac G3 with "adequate RAM" and OS 8.6.

November 29, 2000 -- David Lawhon responded getting the same error message with AddWeb in Windows 98 and Windows ME:

I recently purchased AddWeb 4, and it gives the same error [as version 3] when run under Virtual PC 3.0.3 with Windows 98 2nd edition on a PowerMac G3 with 64MB memory allocated to the PC environment under OS 9.0.4

If you try to run AddWeb 4 under Virtual PC 3.0.3 with Windows ME (same system config), then it gives a different error--that the program "has caused an error in <unknown> and will now close."

The mentioned problems appear in two areas: One, the AutoRun installer crashes immediately; two, if you skip using AutoRun and click the AddWeb application on the CD, then the program will install, but it still quits when you try to execute it from the hard drive.

CD/DVD driver in iTunes driver helps VPC 3

January 16, 2001 -- Ronald Leroux reports that the new Apple CD/DVD driver in iTunes helps Virtual PC play at least one game:

The new driver in iTunes 1.4.3 allows me to play Star Trek: Hidden Evil on Virtual PC 3.0. ST:HE would not run because it could not see the CD with the version of the driver supplied with Mac OS 9.04 (v1.3.7 ?). So a lot more software will now be usable thanks to Apple (and Connectix.)

I have installed Mac OS 9.1 Update on my G3 B&W, but I have not noticed any speed increase. It is however more responsive.

Mac OS 9.1 compatibility problems with Virtual PC

January 24, 2001 -- Connectix has disclosed some compatibility issues between Mac OS 9.1 and Virtual PC. For Virtual PC 3.x, there are two minor problems:

  1. After upgrading (not a clean install) from Mac OS 9.0 to Mac OS 9.l the Virtual PC Application gives an error that "it has been moved." The fix is to reinstall Virtual PC 3.x.
  2. Printing to a serial printer (on older Macs--not USB) produces black and white bars on the printout. This occurs with Epson emulation. There is no known fix (other than using PostScript emulation or printing to a network printer.) Connectix says it is working on a fix.

Virtual PC 4 only has the second problem, printing to serial printers using Epson emulation.

January 30, 2001
David C. Stewart

I am running an iMac DV SE networked through an AsanteTalk box to a 6100, an 575 and a DeskWriter 600 using AppleTalk. I could print to the printer before I upgraded to OS 9.1 and the black strip of frustration appeared when I went to print an important document. Fortunately I can still print it from the 6100/DOS compatible which is running on OS 8.1 until they issue the bug fix.

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