Click for MacWindows home
Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac Got an Intel Mac? Run all the Windows and Mac applications you need without switching between Windows and Mac OS X! New features include: 3D Graphics Support, SmartSelect, SnapShots and Security Manager to truly enjoy the best of both worlds.

Virtual PC 4 Special Report

Information and tips about the v.4 of PC emulator for Macintosh from Connectix

Updated July 18, 2005

On this page:

Send us your experiences with Virtual PC 4.

Other MacWindows emulator pages:

Other sites of interest:


One more source for the PC 4.0.2 Update. July 18, 2005 -- We've located another source for the old Virtual PC 4.0.2 and 5.0.4 updaters. As of this date, the link noted below no longer works.

Updates for Virtual PC 4 available on FTP site. September 15, 2004 -- Users of Virtual PC 4 can download the VPC 4.0.2 Updater and 0006 Additions update at this website. We've previously reported that a pair of web sites offer the VPC 5.0.4 update and several updates for VPC 2.1.

Virtual PC for OS X Test Drive 4.0.6 (beta). August 3, 2001 -- A new version of the OS X beta. The Read Me file says "changes were implemented in order to improve the performance and functionality of certain OSes when run in the Test Drive." Changes in the new version:

This is beta software, and there are known problems described in the Read Me file, so use at your own risk.

Virtual PC for OS X Test Drive 4.0.5 (beta). July 18, 2001 -- Virtual PC for Mac OS X Test Drive is a prerelease version of the PC emulator for Macs. (Current versions of Virtual PC 4.x won't run in OS X Classic mode.) This version requires Mac OS X 10.0.4 to run. Connectix has said that registered VPC owners will get a free download of VPC beta for OS X. Connectix didn't give a ship data for finished version, but the Test Drive version expires in January of next year. (Reader reports on VPC for OS X Beta are below.)

Virtual PC Additions 0006 released for multi resolutions on PowerBook G4. May 21, 2001 -- Connectix has posted Virtual PC Additions 0006. The update adds support for the 896x600 and 1152x768 video resolutions on the PowerBook G4 (Titanium). VPC Additions 0006 will run on both VPC 3.x and 4.x, but in order for the two new resolutions to work on the Titanium, you must use Virtual PC 4.0.2. (Additions, which are installed from Windows, provide the Mac-to-Windows integration features of Virtual PC.)

VPC 4.0.2 fixes bugs with Linux, NT, Win 2000

In mid-April 2001, Connectix posted Virtual PC 4.0.2, a free upgrade that fixes several of the problems reported in the Reader reports section below. The Readme file lists these fixes, as well as others:

Fixes for IEEE math when run on Windows 98 and Windows 95.

Virtual PC 4.0.1 updater

Virtual PC 4.01 updater, available in English, French, and and German versions, fixes minor bugs, some of which are described in the readme file:

Additionally, reader Victor Yanagida reports that his number 1 problem--certain Visual Basic apps giving an 'Object Variable Not Set' error--has been fixed. Guy Sanders says it fixes the Shared IP/NetWare conflict.

What's in Version 4

On December 5, Connectix released Virtual PC 4.0, a significant new version of the PC emulator for Macintosh. Many of the new features have never been implemented before in any PC emulation product. According to Connectix, the new features include:

Availability and versions:

Currenltly available:

Windows 2000 can also be purchased as a pre-installed OS Pack.

MacWindows has been looking at Virtual PC 4 running Window 98 SE on a Power Mac G4 (AGP) with 128 MB, OS 9.0.4. So far we can say that VPC 4 is probably the most significant upgrade ever to the PC emulator , though we did find some glitches. We also found some interesting items in the documentation.

See also the VPC 4 FAQ at the Connectix site.

OS Support

Connectix supports Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 and Red Hat Linux. Windows 2000 Server is compatible, but Connectix recommends against it. (We would agree that running a server in emulation is probably not a good way to support clients.) Linux implementations other than Red Hat are not supported.

Connectix specifically points out that Be OS and Sun Solaris are not compatible with VPC 4. Connectix no longer claims that Virtual PC will run any PC operating system, as it did with versions 1.x and 2.x.

If you're undecided on which OS to run, consider the amount of RAM Connectix recommends:

Operating system

Recommended RAM for VPC

Windows 95

48 MB

Windows 98

64 MB

Windows ME

96 MB

Windows NT

160 MB

Windows 2000

160 MB

Red Hat Linux

96 MB

Minor problem with Mac OS 9.1?

Page 122 of the manual seems to be point to a printing problem with the upcoming Mac OS 9.1. The FAQ speaks of "an issue known by Connectix and Apple" and recommends "Do not upgrade your Mac OS beyond 9.0.4 until Connectix resolves this issue."

The problem occurs (or will occur) with both VPC 3 and 4 with Epson Printer emulation, where black bands appear on the paper. It does not occur with a USB or network printer.

VPC 4 is not compatible with Mac OS X at this time, according to Connectix, and doesn't run in Classic mode. Virtual PC for OS X Test Drive is currently in beta and available for free.

New Feature: Multiple OSes

Virtual PC 4 adds the ability to run several instances of Windows and/or RedHat Linux at the same time, if you have enough RAM to support them. VPC 4 separates each instance of an operating system, which are called virtual machines. When you launch VPC 4, the first thing you see is the new "Virtual PC List" window listing the first virtual machine you've installed:

This window runs in addition to Windows. When you shut down Windows, the VPC List window remains, and you can then quit Virtual PC.

If you install other instances of Windows or Red Hat Linux, the VPC List windows expands to include them, whether they are running or not. You can name each virtual machine anything you want. Here's a screen shot from the VPC 4 manual:

From the VPC List, you can change the settings of individual virtual machines (memory, shared folders, etc.), as well as start, stop, or delete them. Three settings, PC Behavior, Video, and Sound, can be set globally for all virtual machines.

The ability to run Mac OS, Windows, and Linux on one computer is appealing, though this may not be useful for everyone. However, the VPC List appears to be an easy way to handle the configuration of multiple virtual machines, even if you're not running them at the same time.

New Feature: Self-expanding hard drive images (C: drive files)

The self-expanding hard drive images are a significant innovation that conserves hard drive space. In previous versions, and with all other emulators and compatibility cards, the PC hard drive images (the virtual C: and D: drives that are actually Macintosh files) are of fixed size. If you thought you needed 500 MB for Windows and your PC software, you would create a 500 MB disk image. However, if you were only using 350 MB, the drive image would contain 150 MB with nothing in it.

With Virtual PC 4, you no longer need to choose the size of your drive image. It takes up only as much space on your hard drive as it uses, and can expand as you use it. If you have the drive space, a drive image can expand up to 127 GB, which is much larger than allowed before. You no longer need to manual enlarge drive images manually.

Also new is support for FAT-32 formatted drive images in Windows 98 and Windows 2000.


Installation was very simple and painless, and as with previous versions, much easier than installing Windows on an actual PC. (We have the Windows 98 version.) A PC Setup Assistant guides you through some of the steps, but there isn't a lot you need to specify.


PC Assistant asks you a few questions about your setup, but gets most of the networking information from the Mac.

After installation and without any further configuring, we were able to immediately connect to the web from Win 98 using the Mac's DSL (PPPoE) connection. We simply launched Internet Explorer. Response was smooth. We were able to browse web sites that used Javascript and play web-based video using Windows Media Player with audio and video quality equivalent to viewing from the Mac side. However, we did run into a repeatable problem with a steaming video, as described in the next section.

We have not yet investigated local area networking.

New RAM issues

The amount of RAM you can use for Windows has been expanded to 512 MB for each virtual machine running.

RAM configuration has radically changed, and no longer works the way most Macintosh applications do. You not longer increase RAM allocation in Virtual PC's Get Info dialog box in the Finder. This allocation remains at a meager 7 MB (with virtual memory turned off). You now allocate RAM for each virtual machine using a slider bar in the settings window.

This is easier than before, but we ran into a problems. We noticed that the RAM allocation listed in the Finder's About this Computer Box get getting large and larger. In one case, the memory partition ballooned to consume all available RAM, freezing Windows.

This occurred when we try to view streaming video from the web site using Windows Media Player in a web browser. The Windows 98 memory was set to 64 MB, but the memory partition would balloon to 96 MB (the available memory). Windows would freeze and we get a VPC "out of memory" error message.

We were not able to shut down Windows, but we were able to quit Virtual PC. This occurred every time we tried it, whether virtual memory was turned off or on.

The ReadMe file shed some light on this problem.

Experiences with USB floppy drive

We were able to use an iMation USB SuperDrive floppy drive, though not completely successfully. The drive appeared in My Computer and Windows Explorer, and we were able to access it from the Run command in the Start menu.

However, we had trouble with the Windows Backup program, which is part of Windows. We attempted to backup a 5 MB file and segment it onto 4 floppy drives. Windows Backup had intermittent problems accessing the PC-formatted, reporting that they weren't formatted, even though we could access them from My Computer. Reformatting from Backup failed. After reformatting the diskettes from the Finder and attempting several more times to segment the drives, we gave up.

We don't know if the problem was related to USB or to Windows Backup.


Connectix claims that VPC 4 is up to twice as fast as VPC 3. (We're not sure if that is only on the Power Mac G4 due to better Altivec support, but we intend to find out from Connectix.)

We have not yet run any benchmarks or performance comparison tests to verify this. However, based purely on subjective observations, VPC 4 appears faster than VPC 3 and the most recent version of SoftWindows 98.

NOTE: The first item in Reader Reports below describes benchmark results on another site.

Tips from MacWindows and Connectix

Upgrading from Virtual PC 2.x/3.x to version 4.x

Upgrading to Virtual PC 4 is not a one-click process. There are three parts to a successful upgrade:

  1. Run the VPC 4 updater
  2. Upgrade the Windows drivers from the VPC 4
  3. Install the Virtual PC 4 Additions

Article 4384 in the Connectix Support Knowledge Database offers a detail description of the upgrade process. (Search for 4384 at the site.)

Failure to follow this procedure can cause a number of problems.

Install your own Windows or upgrading? Then install VPC Additions

If you are installing your own copy of Windows, OR upgrading to VPC 4, you will need to install the new VPC Additions from Windows. The Additions contain the integration components, including the ability to share folders with the Mac side and drag and drop file copying between Mac and Windows.

NOTE: if you purchase the full (non-update) version of VPC 4 with Windows, Additions are already preinstalled in Windows.

VPC Additions is located on a floppy disk image on the VPC update CD-ROM and on the Online version. (If you are upgrading to VPC 4, the Upgrader should place the Additions installer file on your Windows desktop.)

The additions files are located in: VPC4/EXTRAS/VPCADDITIONS/

You'll find three floppy disk images for different versions of Windows:

You Drag the correct Additions image to the floppy icon in VPC 4 to mount it in Windows. From the mounted floppy image, run the installer file. For instance, on the Windows NT version, you'd run the file called ntadditions.exe.

NOTE about Windows NT: Connectix told MacWindows that Virtual PC 4 Additions does support Windows NT, and that the manual and help files erroneously neglect to mention this.

If you are unable to access a shared Mac folder or disk from Windows NT or other supported OS in VPC 4, you probably need to install or update the Additions from VPC 4.

TIP: Advice from Connectix on how to shrink disk image size


Decemer 14, 2000

Robin Jackson had a problem with the size of the disk image, which is now auto-expanding:

The only issue I have is how to reduce the disk size on a Windows 98 partition. During software install etc it grew to 2.7Gb but having cleaned up and removed installers etc there is only 1.6Gb of used space but I can find no simple way to recover this and 'shrink' the disk partition down.

I have tried defragmenting and reclaiming empty space, no change. I tried a zeroing application but this simply GREW my disk partition until it ran out of real disk space and crashed.

Solution from Connectix:

Decemer 15, 2000
Eric Traut,
Vice President of Engineering

Virtual PC 4.0 allows users to reclaim disk space in dynamically-expanding drives using the Virtual Disk Assistant. Here is the general procedure:

1. Use a program like Norton Utilities to zero unused portions of the disk. (Most file systems don't zero the disk contents when files are deleted.)

2. Cleanly shut down Window (don't "save" the PC).

3. Open the Virtual Disk Assistant (VDA) in Virtual PC.

4. Choose the Examine/Modify option and specify the disk image you're using.

5. Choose the "Reclaim zeroed drive space" option.

The VDA will create a second drive image that contains only the portions of the original drive that aren't zeroed. Because a second copy is made, the operation is entirely safe; however, it requires enough Mac disk space to make a second copy of the drive's data.

Minor bug in 4.0

Another related note: Virtual PC 4.0 is supposed to warn users when their dynamically-expanding drives grow to the point where there is relatively little room left on their Mac hard drives. Due to a bug introduced late in the VPC 4 development cycle, this warning doesn't always appear. We will fix this bug in the next update.

Problems with CD-ROM access in Windows 98 1st Edition

Several readers reported problems with reading CD-ROMs with Windows 98 1st Edition, as noted in Connectix Knowledge Database Article 4384 (you can do a search for the article number).

The Connectix article provides a solution for getting Windows-in-VPC to recognize the CD-ROM drive.

2 GB limit on volumes with Windows 95, and any OS with Mac OS 8.5, 8.6

There are two reasons why you might not be able to create a Windows 95 disk image larger than 2 GB:

1.) FAT 16 limits disk size in Windows 95

The inability to create a volume bigger than 2 GB is a limitation of the original Windows 95. The FAT16 (16-bit) drive format of Windows 95 has a limit of 2 GB. Windows 95 OSR2 included support for FAT32 drives, which has a limit of 2 terabytes. (Windows 95 OSR2, also called "Win95c," was a later version of Windows 95 which Microsoft marketed only through computer resellers.)

Windows 98 and ME also use FAT32. Windows NT can use the NTFS disk format, which also can have 2-terabyte disks. Windows 2000 can use both FAT32 and NTFS.

(Thanks to Justin Blecher, Fred DeVault, Orjan Larsso for contributing, Connextix for confirming.)

2.) Mac OS 8.5, 8.6 also limit C: drive size

Mac OS 8.5 and 8.6 limit files to 2 GB in size. Since the Virtual PC C:\ and D:\ disk images are actually Macintosh files, no VPC disk image can be larger than 2 GB on a Mac running OS 8.5 and 8.6. Mac OS 9.x removes this limitation.

Trouble with Windows Media Player and Movie Maker

The VPC 4 Readme file shed some light on a problem we had with Windows Media Player and streaming video. Listed under the "Known Incompatibilities" section was this:

Windows Media Player (version 7) and Movie Maker (included with Windows ME) have system requirements that exceed the capabilities of Virtual PC.

Real Player is a better bet with Virtual PC 4.

Printing to a Hewlett Packard USB inkjet printer

When printing to a USB Hewlett Parkard inkjet printer, Virtual PC 3 and 4 require you to to print using the Hewlett-Packard supplied print driver .

Connectix also told us that you will get the best results with other some injet printers by using their native drivers as well.

USB Suppport

USB in VPC 4 only works if you run OS 9 or later, and is only supported in Windows 98, ME, 2000 and Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7 (not 6.1). VPC 4 has no USB support for Windows 95 or NT.

Red Hat Linux 6.2 a better bet than 7 for Virtual PC and for real PCs

December 28, 2000 -- Connectix has told MacWindows that problems with Red Hat Linux 7 make version 6.2 a better choice for Virtual PC. Connectix QA Manager Jeff Woolsey told us that Connectix tested Virtual PC 4 with Red Hat versions 6.1, 6.2., and 7, Red Hat 7 has problem installing in Virtual PC. Woolsey attributed this to problems with Red Hat Linux 7 that also occur with PC hardware.

Reader Scott Emry agrees:

There is a tendency for the installation process to fail during the setup phase of the installation. Both the GUI and Text base installers fail at the Packages Installation.

Version 6.2 of Red Hat Linux appears to work fine. May be related to the RAM allocation. Does not appear to be a VPC issue at this time.

Emry also pointed us to a user forum at Bugzilla discussing similar installation problems with Linux 7 on actual PC hardware.

Reader Reports


Mike Breeden of AccelerateYourMac told MacWindows that VPC4 is faster than previous version on Macs with G3 processors (iMac, iBook, PowerBook), and not just Power Mac G4s. He has an article with some tests here. He's also posted some tests results running Photoshop 5.5. Breeden notes:

Granted nobody would use VPC for Photoshop, but the results are interesting and real world rather than just benchmarks. The overall gain from VPC 4 over version 3 was nearly double.

Breeden also has some Connectix comments on AltiVec Performance and why Voodoo card support was removed.

How expand a disk

December 19, 2000
Robin Jackson has a warning on shrinking a VPC disk which point towards sticking to the Connectix-recommended method:

I tried zeroing with Norton Utilities as this worked perfectly. HOWEVER before I got hold of Norton I tried a shareware disk space zeroing tool and this actually GREW my disk space too the full size of the virtual disk (actually I did not have this much disk space and it crashed VPC).

Shared IP address not working with NetWare

January 9, 2000
Guy Sanders reports this problem with Novell NetWare networking:

We have experienced one major glitch that has required us to go back to VPC 3.0. In order to use VPC 4.0 on a Novell NetWare network, you are required to use a unique IP address. However, if you do this, you no longer have access to TCP/IP services on the Mac side. This is how VPC 1.0 and 2.0 worked. I have contacted Connectix but have not received a response. I am hoping a fix is on the way, otherwise we will have to stay with VPC 3.0.

January 9, 2000
Michael Turner

I noticed you posted a problem from Guy Sanders regarding NetWare networking and having to switch to "unique IP" address. I am experiencing the same problem using Windows file and print sharing. Shared IP & Windows Sharing worked fine under VPC 3 but after upgrading I'm having to switch to Unique IP in order to use my colleagues HP printer and access shared folders.

I have also had problem with VPC 4 gobbling up huge amounts of RAM when printing documents.

January 16, 2000
Michael Turner

Actually I've since noticed that this is apparently the way it is supposed to work as its documented in the manual. However it is a pain as I use both LAN and Internet sharing.

January 29, 2001
Guy Sanders

The [4.0.1] update has solved the Shared IP/Netware conflict. It now works like a charm. I was also impressed with the documentation for Transferring Windows 98 to a dynamically-expanding drive image. I followed step by step and I now have a 15.3 GB C Drive. This is a major improvement over the 1 GB drive that was full after I installed Office 2000. I have installed VPC 4.01 on a Beige G3 with 500mhz CPU and a FireWire Powerbook 400.

General positive impression, use of Miramar PC MacLAN

December 22, 2000
Joel Slade

I have a Pismo 400mhz PowerBook with 320mb RAM. It has an Airport card and links to my home network and cable modem service via a Lucent Orinoco Residential Gateway and an Linksys Router. I have looked at all three PC emulators on the Mac, settling on VPC3.

One problem I had was an inability to print. We have a HP DeskJet 870cse and a Brother Multifunction printer. The only way I was able to setup printing from the Mac to the HP DeskJet was to use PowerPrint for networks with it's external Ethernet print server.

I was able to print without incident from SoftWindows running Windows 95 and 98 using the included print server driver.

Virtual PC 3 has not been able to see the the PowerPrint Print Server. The only reliable way to find the Print Server was to install MacLAN Connect (Miramar) and add "Printer_Adapter" to the list of supported Printer Types (LaserWriter and DeskWriter were already listed). I was then able to add the DeskJet/PowerPrint combination as a network printer simply by clicking on the print server in Network Neighborhood and choosing the correct print driver in Windows 95 and 98.

I then tried Virtual PC 4. The upgrade went very well. The OS configurations I had set up with different virtual hard disks with Virtual PC 3 were immediately recognized (from the preferences). I really liked the windowing of the VPC 4 desktop.

In my brief experiments I think that VPC 4 IS faster than VPC 3 running the same OS from the same HD container.

My only failure was that MacLAN Connect did NOT see the PowerPrint Print Server. I have not tried to reinstall MacLAN Connect in VPC 4. When I ran Gator Pro, It saw the AppleTalk stack running in VPC, but did not see the PowerPrint Server.

VPC 3 running the same HD had no problems with MacLAN Connect. The latest version of VPC additions (from the VPC4 upgrade) were installed and were compatible with VPC 3.

Anyone have any suggestions on getting MacLAN Connect working better with VPC4 running Windows 98?

Problem with Ethernet upon upgrading to v4

December 22, 2000
Robert Raymond

Power Macintosh G3 Beige 192 MB OS 9.04 Virtual PC - Windows 98

On upgrading from 3.0 to 4.0 I lost my Ethernet connection along with the printer.

The printer is set as default, but does not show up in the PC settings. Under printer I show Mac Printer (default) and Mac printer (postscript). The printer is an Epson 740. When I try to print from either printer icon I get the error message 'The currently selected printer in the Chooser does not support postscript printing.' Also, the printer power on light keeps flashing and will print 8 lines of garbage when starting Virtual PC. 

I use both dial-up, for dialing into the main frame at work, and DSL for Internet connection. The TCP/IP properties are the same as 3.0, which worked without a problem. Under Network Settings I have enable Networking clicked and share Macintosh's IP address. No drop down box for 'Select Ethernet Port'.

Also, I have noticed that when I have Virtual PC running and I switch to another application, my icons on the finder disappear and reappear one at a time. I can not do anything else till all these icons appear.

QuickTime 5 PR2 runs better than QT 4 on VPC 3

December 27 -- Ronald Leroux reports that the beta of QuickTime 5 Preview Release 2 for Windows runs better on Virtual PC 3 than does QuickTime 4 for Windows:

I have installed QuickTime 5 PR2 for Windows on my Virtual PC 3. The playback of QT movies improved noticeably though they still stutters. With QT 4, the movies were unplayable. Kudos to Apple. Power Mac G3, 256 MB or RAM, Mac OS 9.0.4. Virtual PC 3 to 110 MB of RAM.

I am running Windows 98 SE. I also installed the ATI drivers from the Open GL 1.2.1 package. My VPC launches and quits faster than before.

Problem with MatLab

January 2, 2001
Steve Epstein

The latest release (R12) of The Mathworks' Matlab/Simulink technical computing software, which runs just fine with VPC 3.1.3, crashes at launch with VPC 4.0. The error message suggests a problem with the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine. Both Connectix and Mathworks have been informed.

I'm running Mac OS 9.0.4 on a B&W G3 and Windows 98 with both VPC 3 & 4.

Visual Basic Problem

January 2, 2001
Mark Cillis

I contacted tech support for VPC 4 because of having a program that relies on Visual Basic no longer running. I had created a new container and reinstalled the program with no problems, but it refused to run and couldn't even be uninstalled! Tech confirmed that there is a problem with some apps that require Visual Basic and this would be addressed in a future update.

Outlook 2000 Problem

January 2, 2001
Clif Buell

I have a PowerBook G3, 500 MHz, 256 RAM running Mac OS 9.04. I upgraded to VPC 4 with Win 98. When I launch Outlook 2000 it freezes. I have tried extensions on/off with no difference. Running VPC 3.0 I have no problems with Outlook.

I downloaded the upgrade... I did follow the instructions to install the Win 9x additions, although I am not sure how to tell that I got a "good" install.

I had pretty good success with VPC 3.0, except when driving a 20" external monitor, it would quit occasionally with a type 2 error. I also could not use the full screen feature. VPC 3.03 made it worst, so I returned to 3.0.

Game Report

January 2, 2001 --
Omri Parsons

Command and Conquer/RedAlert 95 latest version with the latest patch crashed on play screen. It worked fine on VPC 2.x except not being able to move around the screen...there isn't any way to use arrow keys in this game. One of the techs at Connectix thought there might be a know problem and he was unsure if it was solved in VPC 4

Tiberian Sun demo works fine but still unable to move around the screen....I have to use my arrow keys rather than the mouse.

VPC 4 is installed on the c: drive.

VPC 4 "dog slow" for DOS games

January 9, 2000
Allen Huffman

I used to play the 1995 PC game "Duke Nukem 3D" under VPC2 and VPC3 just fine. In fact, at the time I benchmarked it native on my 233 MHz Toshiba laptop against my 233 MHz original iMac. If I put VPC3 in 320x640 and ran the PC in 640x480, they ran at about the same speed -- needless to say, I was VERY impressed with VPC's performance.  

However, with VPC4 I find that Duke Nukem 3D now is unplayable. It gives frame updates taking SECONDS to happen, and is just dreadfully slow. I can't tell if the Windows side is much faster or slower, but the DOS game is it horrible and unusable. 

As it turns out, Duke Nukem 3D uses self-modifying code. A guy from Connectix told me they had previously put special support in VPC for that (and other) games. This support is no longer there, sadly. This does NOT explain why the Windows game CLUE won't play -- it crawls as well, and Windows apps can't do self modifying code legally.

Problem with printing from the Mac side after using VPC4 

January 16, 2001
Maury Sheck

After many hours of struggle I finally upgraded to Virtual PC 4 and created/transferred a Windows 98 expandable disc.

My current problem, is that whenever I use VPC 4, and then shut it down, it still seems to retain control over my printer port and then I can't print from my Mac (get the printer port in use message). I have to restart to be able to print again. Any ideas?

January 17, 2001
Stephen Reger

I just conducted a little test on my system (just got VPC 4.0 last week) and I have a solution. I'm running Windows 98 SE as well. Before leaving VPC, go to the USB settings and uncheck "USB Device from Epson" in the USB device list, you can still leave the check mark in front of "Enable USB." After doing this, quit VPC by either saving its state or shutting down (I chose to save its state).

Now, turn off the power to your printer. Wait about 30 seconds to a minute and then turn your printer back on. Go to the Chooser and select the printer icon and you should be good to go. I tested this using MS Word (Office 2001) and it worked fine.

My system: iMac Rev/A
Mac OS 9.0.4, Virtual PC 4.0 with Windows 98 SE
160 MB RAM (100 MB allocated to VPC)
Epson Stylus Color 740

No more Finder mounting of C: drives

January 16, 2001
Mike Turner

My new complaint about VPC 4 is the fact that I can no longer mount the hard drives from MacOS. This is a huge problem for me as I was using some VPC volumes to store PC originated data. This worked well as it preserved the long file names. I converted a couple to dynamically expanding and can no longer mount them in Mac OS. I suppose I now need to revert back to the VPC 3 format on these drives.

We looked into this, and Finder-mounting does seem to have been discontined with VPC 4. Although a Connectix VPC 4 FAQ claims Finder mounting is a feature, it isn't mentioned in the manual.

How to Synch a Palm in VPC 3 and 4


Christopher Rants, Majority Leader of the Iowa House of Representatives, wrote us with a problem he's having with Virtual PC 4:

I'm trying to live with my Mac in a Wintel environment. I've been using VPC for a while, and just upgraded to VPC 4.

Overall, nice improvement, with only one bad exception that has really cast a negative light on the whole deal. I've been unable to hot sync my Palm Pilot since upgrading from VPC 2.1.2 to VPC 4.

Supposedly this was going to be easier with USB support now built in (I'm on a PowerBook FireWire) but I've been completely unsuccessful. I know the Palm and the USB port work because I've been able to successfully hot sync on the Mac; but when I run VPC and try to hot sync, no go. VPC sees the installed drivers, it sees the USB connected, but no go when I hit the hot sync button.

NOTE: Representative Rants told us that the solutions below "solved my problem in 10 minutes." He added " I can't thank your readers enough."


January 19, 2001
John DeMillion:

With VPC 3.x and 4.x, you can't use Windows' USB support in VPC to do the synching. You have to instead go into the VPC Preferences (in VPC4, "Settings") and point a Windows COM port to the MacOS "serial" port that the Palm cradle's USB-to-Serial converter automatically creates. You then can sync to that COM port using the Windows HotSync program.

January 19, 2001
Vance Butler

I have been able to work this on my Wallstreet PB 233 without any problem. You do have to make sure you have serial ports properly identified and that your are using SERIAL connection not USB.

January 19, 2001
Mike Hulsey

Your reader is probably running into the problem where VPC deactivates the specific USB device when it launches, thus preventing simultaneous use in the Windows and Mac environments. The work around is to go into the VPC preferences, go to the USB settings, and uncheck the USB device used for your Palm (probably listed as "Serial Device", etc. depending on the Mac driver used to enable your sync device). Note that you still leave the "Enable USB" checked as this controls the overall USB functionality in VPC.

This will cause VPC to ignore the USB driver for the Palm connection, thus making it available on the Mac side.

Hotsynching via wireless infrared

January 19, 2001
Luis M. Raposo

I too have a FireWire PowerBook, and sync my Palm OS via VPC4.0.

However, I use the infrared port for synching. I set VPC4.0 to link Com1 to the laptop's infrared port. I also set the palm PDA to sync via the infrared.

When you are ready to sync, however, its best to have the finder in the foreground while the Palm is attempting to connect. Once connected, then bring VPC to the foreground to complete the synching.

I've been using the infrared synching with VPC 3.0 for a year now. VPC 4.0,however, is faster and maintains a more stable infrared connection.

Update on Palm synching via IrDA: don't use Palm Desktop 4

February 7, 2001
Luis M. Raposo

I just wanted to keep you informed about using VPC 4.0 and synching with Palm using the infrared port. I used the new Windows desktop application from Palm which is now at 4.0.

After I installed it, I could no longer sync my Palm using the infrared port. There is no acknowledgment by the HotSynch.

I was able to validate this by observing the infrared connection between the Palm and the PowerBook and by switching between installations of Palm desktop 3.0.3 vs. 4.0 versions.

I also tried various combinations between using COM1 and COM2 in the VPC, and I had the same problem.

Therefore, if there are users out there that want to sync their Palm via VPC using Infrared, then they should not use the new Palm Desktop 4.0 for Windows.

Synching a Pocket PC (Windows CE device) in VPC

Summary: The consensus amoung readers is that the only way to to synch a Windows CE, Pocket PC device with a Mac using Virtual PC is to use a USB-to-serial converter. VPC won't recognize the device with a straight USB connection.

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.

March 1, 2001
Jeff Owens

I'm just letting you know that I have a Casio E-125 that I sync and transfer info. Over all I don't have a problem. I could not use USB and Connectix said PDA's are not supported. But I got a serial cable from Casio and the Keyspan USB to serial/PDA adapter and everything works, most of the time. Here is the setup:

You have to make sure that the USB PDA adapter is connected in the Mac environment. Set the communication speed on the Casio to '57600 Default. I could not get it to work at '115200. Make sure the VPC is freshly booted. Comms doesn't seem to happen if you used Internet Explorer or other applications before connection. Start Activesynce. Connect the serial cable to the Casio. Now here is where I think I have it working. Activesync will try to connect but not find the Casio, it will ask you if you want to continue or disconnect. click disconnect and then try to connect again under the connect menu. I have found they will connect almost 100 percent after that.

Ipaq via USB doesn't work with Ipaq 3670

August 17, 2001
John Runkel wants to use Virtual PC to sync his IPAQ 3670:

I can't get my platinum G4 PowerBook to synch with my IPAC 3670 via USB. I've tried the newest stuff from Connectix and Microsoft (activesynch) but no luck.I use OS 9.1 and Virtual PC 4.02 with WDO98 (2000 seems to make no difference).

I'm forced into the IPAQ from work and don't want to give up the platinum PowerBook under any circumstances (ever) but I need to get the two to synch. I believe I'll be able to transfer my palm stuff just fine once I get initial recognition.

VPC with USB-to-serial does work with Ipaq 3670

August 27, 2001
V.J. Tedesco

I have an iPAQ3670 that I successfully synch with Virtual PC 4 on a G4 466/DA. You can't use USB; you must buy a serial cradle and connect it via a USB to serial adapter (such as Keyspan's). I'm not sure why USB doesn't work, but from my research on the web it seems to be a problem related to the USB implementation in VPC. I'd much prefer the speed of USB, so lets hope the next version of VPC fixes this glitch.

Syncing PowerBook with infrared works with Ipaq

September 14, 2001
Aziz Larbaoui t

You need to initiate a partnership between the iPAQ and the PowerBook via the infrared port using Virtual PC 3 or 4. Then synchronize via Ethernet using a PCMCIA card loaded in the iPAQ. This has been working great without any problem.

How to sync a Cassiopeia Windows CE device with serial connection

September 6, 2001
Michael Nicholson

I had the same problem with my Cassiopeia, an alternative Pocket PC (Windows CE) device. I have solved my problem with the Keyspan High Speed Serial adapter. Keyspan is going to release a new version soon, but how soon it will hit the shelves is unknown to me. The one available now is just fine.

The Cassiopeia is connected to the serial adapter with a SERIAL connector - since the cable I received with the device was a USB cable, I had to order the serial cable separately. You IPAQ configuration or options may vary, but you'll need a 9-pin serial connector for the Keyspan Serial adapter. The serial adapter is USB, so it'll plug right into the USB port.

I get it all to work by plugging in my Keyspan/Casio combination in first and then launching VPC (I'm also using Win 98). Of course, the Keyspan is configured to emulate a serial port in VPC. You don't need to install Keyspan on the VPC side, just the Mac side. When using the adapter in VPC, you should select the appropriate comm port - it's easy to identify within the VPC prefs. You might have to mess with the connection speed on your IPAQ (I can run my Cassiopeia at 56K communication). 

Operation is hit or miss. It can be frustrating. You might have an easier time than I do, but your device will sync up with persistence. Just make sure that you're trying to sync with the right comm port, and not with USB.

When I can't sync up, I have luck with disabling and then re-enabling the comm port through the sync software. Sometimes I've found that I need to trash the partnership information and then start up a new partnership. Once I had to do a soft-restart with my Cassiopeia.

A note, just in case you have not run into this kind of thing before... I thought that I could just backup everything on my Cassiopeia to a CompactFlash card. I was wrong. I found that I needed to use the sync software to backup the contacts and calendar information to MS Outlook on my VPC. If you don't sync those up regularly, you'll lose changes (or all of your information!) if you need to do a hard restart.

HP Jornada--USB doesn't work here either

September 6, 2001
Brian Doran

I have the same problem with HP Jornada, Active Sync 3.1, HP USB cable, VPC 3.03. Also downloaded patch for Win 98 second Edition - no success. VPC does not see the Jornada but will see other USB devices. Liable to crash though.

Printing problem with Mac OS 9.1

January 19, 2001 -- Connectix has disclosed a compatibility issues between Mac OS 9.1 and Virtual PC 4:

When 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 3.x also has this problem with OS 9.1, as well as one more: 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. (VPC 4 does not have this problem, according to Connectix.)

Problems with Windows NT and VPC Additions

March 29, 2001 -- Jonadab Torres is having problem with Windows NT on Virtual PC 4. Despite the fact that the Virtual PC 4 manual says that Windows NT is one of the operating systems that Virtual PC 4, Connectix is now telling him that VPC 4 does not support Windows NT, and that there is a problem with VPC Additions and Windows NT. Torres received this message from Connectix tech support:

In regards to the NT additions. This is a know issue. Our developers are working on a fix for this and it shall be posted on our Connectix website as soon as possible.

Torres describes the problem:

I just had another very length conversation with Jim (VPC 1st level tech support). He told me again that they in no way shape or form support Win NT and that any problem I might be having is not there problem. I tried to help him appreciate that I'm a support person also and that my questions are for 25 VPC users. This didn't seem to help, he just continued to say that he doesn't support Win NT.

The problem that I'm calling about is a long standing one for me. Even though I've just come to prove to my self what is causing it. After installing VPC Additions for NT I'm now having a problem. The system begins acting like I've depressed the right mouse button and I'm holding it down with out let up. When this happens the only thing I can do is move the mouse off the VPC screen and restart using the keyboard.

A Win NT Event that comes up when the right mouse button begins to stick.

In an attempt to correct the problem I switched this driver out with a standard Microsoft Driver, the problem went away but I lost the ability to move freely from the VPC window to the Mac desktop.

April 3, 2001 -- Connectix responds:

I would like to apologize to Jonadab for the experience he had with our 1st level technical support. It sounds very frustrating and we will attempt to make sure similar situations do not happen in the future. Virtual PC 4 is compatible with Windows NT.

The problem with the Windows NT mouse not performing correctly is actually caused by an incorrect assumption made by the Windows NT mouse driver. This issue has subsequently been corrected by Microsoft in the Windows 2000 mouse driver. (Note: The problem can occur with or without the Connectix Additions installed.)

The good news: Our Connectix engineers have found a solution for Windows NT users and a forthcoming update to Virtual PC will work-around the problem in the NT mouse driver.

Teresa Mahler
Virtual PC Product Manager

NOTE: The fix for this problem is now available as Virtual PC 4.0.2, according to Connectix.

Virtual PC 4 incompatible with MapInfo 3-D software

April 12, 2001 --
Norm Shea

I had been running 3.0 with great success and using a GIS program, MapInfo to create 3-D images of lake bottoms. When 4.0 came out and promised more speed I, of course, upgraded immediately.... I had some problems opening the 3-D images but I thought it was something with Windows. I tried some various diagnostics, I reinstalled MapInfo and eventually ended up reformatting my Windows virtual disk but to no avail. I finally relented and emailed technical support and what did I get back? "This is because VPC 4.0 does not support 3D..."

So now I'm back to Virtual PC 3.0 and things are working again. To Connectix's credit, they were pleasant and gave me my money back ever though it had been more than 30 days since the purchase.

VPC 4 problem and WebObjects 4.5: fixed with VPC 4.0.2

April 16, 2001 -- Darrell Wilkins reports that he can't get WebObjects 4.5 to run with Virtual PC 4 using Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000. He says:

You can install WebObjects 4.5 fine. Project builder and WebObjects builder appear to run OK. However as yet I have been unable to compile even the most simple project.

Apple are aware of the problem and don't appear to have an answer. Their official response is that it's an unsupported configuration which is fair enough, however it's suspected that it may be something that the VPC file system is doing.

April 20, 2001 -- A reader writes that inabilitiy of Virutual PC 4 to run WebObjects 4.5 is fixed in Virtual PC 4.0.2:

The problem was actually with Sun's JDK 1.1.8, and Connectix claims a Java compiler bug was fixed in 4.0.2, so my assumption is that it now works.

April 27, 2001-- Darrell Wilkins confirmed that 4.0.2 solves the problem: " I've tried it out and it does seem to have done the job."

BSD on Virtual PC

April 26, 2001 -- Peter Bartoli has created a web page describing how to run OpenBSD on Virtual PC. (OpenBSD is not officially support by Virtual PC.) Bartoli told MacWindows about the page:

This is the (admittedly not final) result of my work trying to accommodate this frequent business traveler's need for Mac OS, OpenBSD, and Windows while getting really sick of carrying two laptops.

Included are hard disk images, source patches, kernel config file, precompiled kernels and bins, and a discussion of known issues that keep me from throwing away the ugly boat anchor of a work-issue laptop I've been gifted with.

May 15, 2001 -- Paul Hoffman has a web page that describes how to install NetBSD 1.5 on Virtual PC 4.

Conflict with processor upgrades and Virtual PC 4, fixed with 4.0.2

April 27, 2001 -- Ted Masternak reported a conflict between the Sonnet processor upgrade extension and Virtual PC 4.0. He describes the problem:

The symptom of the conflict is that VPC crashes after Windows desktop is displayed and just before control is given to the user. Another window comes up with the RED Stop Hand..."Virtual PC has encountered an unexpected error" and "Please report this problem to Connectix technical support".

Masternak also reports that the recent free 4.0.2 upgrade fixes the problem.

Steven Kiepe reported a similar situation with the Newer Tech card and the software that enables the backside cache of the accelerators:

I have recently discovered through trial and error that my Newer Tech G4 ZIF processor upgrade will run VPC 4.02 if I use the PowerLogix G4 extension to set my backside cache to 1:2. The Newer Tech extension continues to cause the machine to lock up and the XLR8 and Sonnet extensions also fail. With the PowerLogix extension in place, VPC 4.02 does run at respectable speeds although it is prone to occasional crashes, especially when printing. Even so, this is a temporarily acceptable solution to an otherwise intolerable situation.

However, Kiepe says that "the problem returns whenever demanding applications are used (such as powerpoint 97)."

Win 2000 on VPC 4 can't see modem; fix may be coming

April 30, 2001 -- Ed Dyer reports that since upgrading Virtual PC 4 from version 3, Windows 2000 can no longer control the modem. He describes the problem:

Not only does Win2K fail to autodiscover my modem (control panels, modems, add) but an error pops up during autodiscovery: "You have unplugged or removed the following devices" and lists a "secondary IDE channel" and "CntxCorp CD-ROM". I have removed nothing of course.

Dyer reports that Connectix acknowledged the problem and is working on a fix:

The issue hasn't been resolved, but noted as an issue by VPC technicians. They report the problem will be solved in a VPC 4.2 (not 4.0.2) update later this summer.

Here's what didn't work:

After extensive testing with a tech support rep, I have reinstalled the Win2K image from my VPC 3 CD (custom install-image only) and have created a new configuration, run the VPC Win2K Additions.exe, made sure Com1 is set to internal modem, made sure networking is set to unique ip, and still no success.

I have a PowerBook G4 500 MHz/512 MB RAM. I am running a freshly installed OS 9.1. I have VPC 4.0.1 running Windows 2000 with 256 MB allocated to it (on Connectix' advice).

May 1, 2001

Another reader noted that the modem problem was erratic with Win 95 and 98:

I noticed that the serial emulation does not always communicate with my modem. I've managed to connect through dial-up networking a couple of times, but most of the time I get the message "Windows cannot establish a communication with your modem" on dialing. I am using Windows 95 and Windows 98 and I get the same message in both OSes.


May 1, 2001
Jim Lane

Wanted to send you a work around that I discovered. I was having the same problem, VPC 4.0x running Windows 2K on PowerBook 500, not autodiscovering the internal modem. Well I tried just about everything I could think of, selecting a different modem in windows, reinstalling VPC 4.0x, reinstalling Windows 2K, and then I decided to select the non-modem device check box,under PC Setting, COM 1 Port. It now works. I can use my internal PowerBook modem from within VPC to dial out when using Windows VPN client for access to my Corporate network.

I'm surprised that Connectix tech support didn't respond with this work around as I sent it to them after logging an this issue about a month ago.

One last word of warning. I believe (but haven't confirmed it) that under this set up when VPC is launch it will reserve the modem port and lock out the Mac side. I don't know what will happen if you already have a session underway on the Mac side or if you attempt to launch a modem session from the Mac side while VPC is running.

December 3, 2001
Ed also found another description of the workaround from Warwick Teale, who found it on the Connectix web site:

In the settings when you click on COM1 Port there is a check box for Non-modem device. The secret is to either check or uncheck that box. (If the box is unchecked you need to check it and if it is checked ... Uncheck the box.)

Fix on the way

December 3, 2001
Ed Dyer received an email from Connectix tech support confirming the problem and describing an fix in an upcoming upgrade:

I regret to inform you that our development team has reported an issue with Windows 2000 detecting modems in VPC 4.0. The problem is being addressed and a fix should be available in a VPC 4.2 patch. This patch will be posted on the Connectix web site ( when it is released in the next couple of months.

I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Mary Stoner
Connectix Technical Support


RedHat Linux 7.0/7.1 failure on VPC 4.02

May 8, 2001 -- Doron Eren told Connectix that he could not install RedHat Linux 7.0/7.1 on Virtual PC 4.0.2. Connectix replied that it was a known problem. Here is Eren's description of the problem:

I have tried several times to install RedHat Linux 7.1 (and 7.0) on my VPC. At the end of the installation, when the installer tries to write the system loader to the "hard disk" I get a fatal error every time, reporting that there is no such device as /etc/hda. attempts to create a boot floppy to a floppy read/write image also fail. This happens on Linux native partitions & DOS partitions, fixed and expandable. Am I missing something?

Eren said that Connectix replied with this:

Thank you for contacting Connectix Corporation. Unfortunately there are several known issues with Red Hat Linux 7.X. We are looking into the issues. Sorry for the inconvenience.

May 14, 2001
Chuck Culley

I get the same problem with Red Hat 7/7.1. Have tried several installs."

May 14, 2001
Derek Sorrells

I have tried several times to load Red Hat Linux 7.1 on VPC 4.0.2, and always get a boot loader error, and it will not boot. After that error, it says I need to make a boot disk, which it WILL NOT. The media is good (floppy) as well as the USB drive is fine.

Sent Connectix this question 3 days ago and am still waiting on a response.

Workaround: How to get RedHat Linux 7 installed on Virtual PC 4.

May 15, 2001 -- Manny Veloso has a simple workaround:

One tip: if you still have VPC 3, you can install Linux using VPC 3, then use the images under VPC 4. I did this successfully with RedHat 7 a while back.

Update on Red Hat Linux 7.1 and VPC 4.02 install problem.

August 8, 2001
Enrico D'Urso

As previously reported an obstacle exits preventing the use of Red Hat Linux with VPC 4.02. The installer generates a boot loader error which renders the VPC Linux installation unbootable. Let me recount my recent adventures with Red hat Linux 7.1, VPC 4.02 and a G4/466/256mb ram/OS 9.1.

Using the graphical installer and Disk Druid, I had partitioned a 2GB Linux drive container, as follows: "/boot" 64mb, "<swap>" 128mb and "/" rest of the drive. One needs only be on the alert for when the installer requests the 2cd CD. If you are on an extended coffee break, you risk that after some delay VPC then goes into a loop preventing the use of the 2cd CD. The install grinds to a halt.

Otherwise a pretty uneventful installation until the very end- where the real fun begins. The installer advises us to prepare a boot floppy as there is a boot loader error. Normally this is impossible to do on a G4 without a floppy drive, however we can create a virtual boot floppy quite easily from within VPC.

Startup the "Red Hat Linux PC", and you get a boot error message. Control-click on the floppy disk icon on the VPC tool bar and select to mount the boot.img file in the images directory of the Red Hat 7.1 CD #1. You must check the settings for the Linux PC to make sure floppy booting is allowed then restart the PC.

Now we are able to boot and we are presented with the very first screen from the installer. I typed Linux rescue and eventually got to a shell. With a limited knowledge of Linux and some very basic commands I proceeded. I typed the command "fsck /dev/hda5". Response: "/ was not cleanly unmounted, check forced". The system does some checking of blocks and structure etc. Typing the same command again and the response is "clean 68166/237120 files, 267946/473752 blocks"

With my limited understanding, I took this to mean that somehow although the boot partition could not be trusted for file integrity at least maybe now if the drive was unmounted cleanly... I could reuse the installer and selecting the "Upgrade option" replace any defective files.

This was an exciting moment. Success was at hand! I imagined dozens maybe even hundreds of thankful and appreciative VPC users. Users that had been stymied with this problem for months, having been virtually ignored by Connectix (aware of the problem since at least May). Why else would Connectix do this? It had to be because the problem affected only a very, very small number of users (Mac users at that).

I "logout" from the shell. This automatically forces a reboot. Back to the installer. I selected upgrade as my choice of system installation and the next screen confirms "Upgrading Red Hat Linux installation on partition /dev/hda5". Yes!

Unfortunately, the next message is "One or more of the filesystems for your Linux system was not unmounted cleanly. Please boot your Linux installation, let the filesystems be checked, and shut down cleanly to upgrade."

I have taken this as far as I can. Some progress has been made here. Within VPC using the virtual floppy we can access a Linux shell (apparently there's more than one). Someone with a more complete understanding of Linux commands and the filesystem may find the solution, especially since Connectix has been thus far been unwilling or unable to provide a fix.

Printing problems

Pringting problem with Mac OS 9.1

January 19, 2001 -- Connectix has disclosed a compatibility issues between Mac OS 9.1 and Virtual PC 4:

When 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 3.x also has this problem with OS 9.1, as well as one more: 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. (VPC 4 does not have this problem, according to Connectix.)

Virtual PC 4.0/4.0.2 printer problem w/Win 98

May 14, 2001
Shan Younker

I installed VPC 4.0 and am having a hard time getting the printer to work.

From my Mac I can go into the Chooser and set my inkjet printer up to use the printer port. I can print fine from the Mac without VPC running. As soon as I start VPC (before any Virtual Machines are running) the light on my printer starts flashing. At that point I quit out of VPC and try to use my printer from the Mac only. It will not work. When I go into the Chooser the printer has changed its port to the modem port. When I try to re-select the printer port I get an error message saying to turn off AppleTalk (it already is) or another application is using the printer port. I can't get my Mac to use the printer until I restart my computer. I have restarted my computer more times than I can count, zapped the PRAM, and reinstalled VPC, but none of these things have helped.

I'm still not printing from VPC 4, but I can use my VPC 3 and print just fine - as long as I don't run VPC 4 first. I just got around to installing the 4.02 update and the problem continues.

Tip for laser printing

May 18, 2001
Steven Lowy

I've printed from VPC 4.01 on the PC side to a LaserWriter Select 360 needing a work around for it. With my usual extension set it won't print.

I need to turn off the Mac side desktop print monitor and print spooler in order for it to print--requires a restart, of course. That was the workaround that Connectix gave me. I just have a separate extension set in Conflict Catcher to use if I need to print from the PC side.

VPC 4.0 problem with Windows XP Beta 2 installation

May 30, 2001
Kevo Thomson

I just thought I'd write to say that I wasted a few hours this weekend trying to install XP (Beta 2) over a Virtual PC 4 dynamic disc with Windows 98 SE installed.

It all goes swimmingly until the reboot process when I get the error: XP cannot be installed on this machine because the CPU does not support the following functions: CPUID (and I can't remember the other one to be honest).

June 4, 2001 4.0.2 does the trick
Steve Kulisek

Please suggest that Kevo upgrade to VPC 4.0.2, I had similar problems; once I upgraded to 4.0.2 I had no problems.

Connectix responds

June 11, 2001

Connectix has run Windows XP Beta 2 versions 2462 and earlier without any problems on both Virtual PC for Macintosh AND Virtual PC for Windows. We are currently in the process of testing the later Windows XP builds.

Teresa Mahler
Virtual PC Product Manager

TIP: configuring serial devices


Tip for configuring serial devices on VPC 3 doesn't work in VPC 4.

June 18, 2001 -- Ari Kissiloff is trying to use Virtual PC 4 on a PowerBook G4 to connect to global positioning service (GPS) device using a serial device configuration tip on our Virtual PC 3 special report page. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to get it to work in VPC 4

I've had some trouble getting it to connect to my Garmin GPS unit via a Keyspan USB PDA adapter. It can connect and talk, but some transfers start and then fail in the middle...

The "run before mindstorms" AppleScript does not come with VPC 4. I have also been unable to use the AppleScript he shows above successfully (the dtr tracks PC rts part - the non-modem device line is now a preference in serial settings). I think some of the AppleScript syntax has changed in 4 (I can't find a reverence to "active configuration" that would make it make sense in this script. The set dtr tracks PC rts is mentioned in VPC 4 AppleScript PDF file, but again I can't seem to get it to work.)


June 25, 2001
Ned Holbrook

The following script should do for VPC4 what the "run before Mindstorms" script did for VPC3:

tell application "Virtual PC™"
set virtualMachine to every virtual machine whose frontmost is true
set COM1 DTR tracks PC RTS of settings of virtualMachine to true
end tell

TIP: Using VPC with heart rate monitor software

July 16, 2001
William Cumler found a way to get software that records heart rates to work with Virtual PC 4:

Software: PC Coach Lite 3.0.8 (PC Only) - The company is working on a Mac version but seems to be having difficulty with the sound input via Soniclink.

Use: PC Coach Lite is used with the Polar Heart Rate monitors with Soniclink (mic) transfer capability. Soniclink downloads heart rate/time data to the program via a microphone enabling you to analyze workouts.

Issue: I've been attempting to use Soniclink feature with VPC 3.x and 4.x running Windows 98 for over a year without any luck. I recently upgraded to Win ME and on one of my expandable drives the Soniclink worked! I found different drivers had been installed on the two drive images. I tested various configurations with no luck repeating this feat on my other drive image.

My Solution: I finally downloaded the SoundBlaster 16 drivers from Creative Labs, installed them, and it worked! Sound mutations (skipping, low recording levels...) when using recorder - which did exist with my previous drive - were significantly reduced and Soniclink worked fine on all drives.

Seems this fixed not only Soniclink capability but also sound recording capability in VPC using Win ME. Playback also seems to be improved but cannot confirm by my test equipment (ears).

Reader reports on VPC for OS X Beta

We'd like to hear your experiences with VPC Test Drive. Send us your thoughts. For more on the OS X Beta, see Versions above.

VPC on OS X: slow and steady

July 19, 2001 -- Ben Austin reports that the beta Virtual PC for Mac OS X Test Drive (4.0.5) released yesterday is little more than an interesting demonstration:

I thought I'd let you know that downloaded the new VPC beta for OS X. It installed okay on my G4/450, and looks just like VPC 4.x. Unfortunately, it's too slow to be useful for anything. It takes forever to launch an application. Also, networking doesn't work in this version. On the other hand, it does seem to run without crashing.

July 20, 2001 -- Two readers named Smith responded to yesterday's first look reader report about Virtual PC Test Drive for Mac OS X. Greg Smith disagreed with yesterday's report of slow performance by saying "Actually, I thought it ran faster than the OS 9 version 4.x.

Matthew Smith found it somewhat slower:

I have been playing with VPC Test Drive. It seems steady, although VPC 4 was a bit faster, I believe. Also, I cannot get the networking to work... but supposedly it partially works if you use a shared IP. For now, I use the shared folders option to allow connection to the network shares. I mount the network share under Mac OS X, then share that as a drive letter in VPC!

July 23, 2001
Ronald Yoshimoto:

It took over 20 minutes to just get Windows 2000 loaded (i.e. seeing the Start on the screen). This was on my Pismo PowerBook G3 running at 500 MHz with 784 MB of memory. Why did they even release it?

Version 4.0.6 improves speed

(For a description of what's new with 4.0.6 for OS X beta, see the Versions section above. Keep in mind that VPC OS X Test Drive 4.0.6 is still beta software.)

August 3, 2001
Ronald Yoshimoto

The new 4.0.6 Test Drive on OS X loads Windows 2000 as fast as OS 9.1 on my Powerbook. It is a considerable improvement. Looking forward to what VPC will do under OS 10.1.

August 6, 2001 -- Several readers feel that 4.0.6 is still not fast. Dave Smarr admits that 4.0.6 has some improved speed, but says "it's still pretty slow." Robin Jackson agrees:

Running VPC [4.0.6] with Windows 98 it is still far too slow to even consider using. This is on a (wonderful) G4 Cube 450 MHz and 576 MB RAM.

How to install Mandrake Linux 8.0 on VPC for OS X

August 9, 2001
Saul Good

I've successfully installed Mandrake Linux 8.0 in Virtual PC 4.0.6 for Mac OS X. It was a nearly brainless install, with almost no troubles. The only trouble that I've had is with ejecting CD 1 to insert CD 2 extras during the install process, it will unmount but not eject. All I had to do was click cancel on the dialog box to complete the install process. Below are step-by-step instructions for installing Mandrake Linux into VPC Test Drive.There are screenshots here.

Make sure you have an idea about how you want to set up Linux. I have mine installed on a completely different virtual computer than my Win NT virtual computer. Have the Linux virtual disk created before you begin your installation.

1) Download the ISOs (PC format disk images) from the Mandrake web site (using a mirror is much better). You do not have to download both ISOs for the install to work.

2) Burn the images with Toast X (or Toast 5.0.1 if you're in OS 9). Do not mount the images with Disk Copy before you burn, if you do you will not be able to make a bootable CD.

3) IF YOU CANNOT BOOT FROM THE CD-ROM Make a floppy disk image and drag the image to the floppy icon onto the lower left hand corner of the screen. Format the disk by right clicking the floppy icon in the My Computer directory.

4) Boot VPC into Win 9x, NT, or 2000, insert the CDROM, then open the icon "My Computer", right click, go into the "dosutils" directory and double-click on the "rawwritewin" icon insert a blank floppy in the floppy drive select "D:\images\cdrom.img" in the "Image File" field (assuming that your CDROM drive is "D:", otherwise replace "D:" as needed) select "A:" in the "Floppy Drive" field then click on "Write".

5) Make sure both the floppy and CD-ROM disks are in their respective drives, and reboot.

6) Linux will practically install itself. Run through the recommended choices and you will have no problems. After you select the drive that you want to install onto, it will format and partition your drive. There is a lot of hand holding, and very little chance of making a mistake.

I was not able to eject the CD from the drive when it asked for CD 2 but that is not a problem. Press cancel to continue and install the extras at your convenience. When the install process ends, quit VPC and DO NOT save the state. You cannot eject the CD, so this step is necessary (for me at least). Re-launch Virtual PC and you're on your way. The entire process can take up to an hour on a G4-400, your results will vary depending on your setup.

Windows XP Professional on Virtual PC

Connectix is not yet officially supporting Windows XP on Virtual PC.

October 16, 2001
Randy Padawer

I've successfully upgraded my Virtual PC 4.0 with Windows 98 with a manufacturer's release copy of Windows XP Professional. It's VERY stable and perhaps even a bit faster than Windows 98. This surprised me, since I've found Virtual PC 4.0 with Windows 2000 to be a bit sluggish on my 450 MHz Blue and White G3. The only things that don't work:

1) Features associated with the VPC Additions (file drag and drop; shared mouse; and folder sharing);
2) Shutdown and restart. I can live without #1, but #2 is a bit inconvenient, necessitating "saving" the PC state every time rather than fully shutting it down. The upside of course is that saving and opening saved PC states is much faster than standard Windows XP shutdown and restart.

Incidentally, with respect to the VPC Additions features, I did try installing the VPC Additions for Windows 2000 (since Windows XP is based upon 2000), but that doesn't work. I eagerly await a VPC Additions for Windows XP file from Connectix whenever they're ready!

November 5, 2001
Randy Padawer

I'm happy to tell you both that the latest Microsoft online upgrades took care of the restart problem, I think. For whatever reason, I've not had any further problems shutting down and restarting.

Padawer is referring to

Connectix says VPC 4 bug prevents reliable Windows XP usage

November 2, 2001
Kurt Schmucker

Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency on our web site with regard to the Virtual PC additions for Windows XP and Virtual PC Mac. We have corrected our site.

You are also correct that additions are only a portion of what a Virtual PC Mac user needs to use Windows XP: they also need to be able to install the final release of Windows XP in Virtual PC. While we were able to install most of the beta versions of Windows XP, we have uncovered a Virtual PC bug that prevents reliable XP installation with the final release. We are busy working on a fix.

Kurt Schmucker
Director, Macintosh Products
Connectix Corporation

However several MacWindows readers continue to report successful installs of Windows XP.

More Win XP experiences

November 2, 2001
Ron Alcasid said he could install XP as well as the current version of VPC Additions.

FYI, I was able to install Windows XP Professional on Virtual PC for the Macintosh w/o incident. Then I downloaded the Additions for VPC for Windows, which is an ISO image and mounted it using Disk Copy. Then I copied the setup.exe and vpcfiles folders to a folder shared with VPC and ran the installer from within XP.

Trentent Tye has successfull run Windows XP and VPC Test Drive for OS X:

I'd say Connectix is lieing here or doesn't know how to install Windows XP for Virtual PC 4. I have it working in VPC Test Drive for Mac OS X 10.1. Performance is slow, but it works. I haven't tested any of the VPC packs yet, but if you want me to do so, please email me back. As well, if you want me to include screen shots, please tell me to send some.


November 5, 2001
Robert Tedder

I installed XP Professional into VPC 4 last night not actually checking first whether it should be possible. Certainly I was unable to run Win NT from the i386 folder booting from a W98 floppy but enlarged my existing Windows Me drive by 2 GB, used Partition Magic to split it and installed XP from within Me into the newly created 'D' drive.

XP Professional is slow, and despite allowing 200 MB RAM for that virtual machine, I see VPC 4 taking 230 MB of the iBook's resources. Looks OK in 1024x768! Truly, though, the Home edition would be better suited.

November 5, 2001
Trentent Tye tried using the VPC Additions for Windows 2000, without much success:

I've tested the Windows 2k Additions in Windows XP and the only thing that appears to work is the mouse driver. Drag and dropping files sort of work, VPC slows down and the mouse gets all choppy like a copy is taking place, but nothing happens. Shared folders don't work either.

| Top of This Page, Virtual PC 4 Special Report |

Other MacWindows Departments

| Product Solutions | News Archives | Site Map |
MacWindows Home |

Serving the cross-platform community since November 15, 1997.
This site created and maintained by

Copyright 2000-2005 John Rizzo. All rights reserved.