Check Out The New Virtualization Technology By Microsoft

Check Out The New Virtualization Technology By Microsoft 

Windows Virtual PC (VPC or WVP) Beta is the latest virtualization technology by Microsoft that facilitates users to run multiple virtual systems like Windows XP Mode or XPM in a virtual machine from the desktop of Windows 7. You can run applications on the virtual environment with just one click directly from host system desktop. 

Key features of WVP 

  • Allows you to launch various applications installed on the XPM virtual machine from the desktop of Windows 7 OS, as though you have installed them on Windows 7 itself.
  • Offers a simplified, easy-to-use user interface that is integrated with Windows Explorer in Window 7.
  • Allows sharing of drives, clipboards, printer between the virtual machine and Windows 7.
  • Allows you to access USB devices such as Scanners, Printers, Flash sticks, memory sticks, digital cameras, external hard drives, etc. which are connected to the host system directly from the virtual machines.

XPM, also known as Virtual Windows XP or VXP is a basically a virtual machine that is installed with X86 (32-bit) XP Professional SP3 preloaded on virtual hard disk. This is why various XP productivity applications can directly be installed and run from Windows 7 system. It does so by utilizing virtualization technology i.e. WVP which provides a virtual XP environment on Windows 7. 

The set up installers for WVP and XPM can be downloaded from Microsoft Download Center. The WVP Beta version 6.1.7084.0 (32-bit and 64-bit) download is available in all Win 7 languages including Arabic, English, Simplified Chinese (China), French, Traditional Chinese (Taiwan), Japanese, German, Spanish and Korean. 

The download for XPM beta Version 1.1.7112.1 is available for 32-bit (x86) XPM as well as 64-bit (x64) XPM in the above mentioned Windows 7 languages. 

You need to note that WVP and XPM require a CPU having AMD-V feature or Intel Virtualization Technology. This feature needs to be enabled in BIOS settings. You may use SecurAble to verify whether your CPU supports hardware-assisted virtualization. 

You can install WVP on various editions of Windows 7 such as Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise as Host PC. The supported guest OS include XP Professional SP3, Vista Enterprise SP1, Vista Ultimate SP1, Win 7 Professional, Win 7 Enterprise and Win 7 Ultimate. 

Download  Windows XP Mode 32-bit (x86) Beta 

Version: 1.1.7112.1 

English
Arabic
Simplified Chinese (PRC)
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
French

German
Japanese

Korean
Spanish

Download  Windows XP Mode 32-bit (x86) Beta

Version: 1.1.7112.1

English
Arabic
Simplified Chinese (PRC)
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
French

German
Japanese
Korean

Spanish

How-to configure WeP 800 DX in Linux (via VMWare)

This isn’t exactly the straight forward method but then there isn’t one either.

I believe you are fortunate enough to have a dot matrix but unfortunate enough to own a Wep 800 DX (80 Column) dot matrix printer. Let me tell you, there is no *.ppd (printer driver) that works with this model. You can check the Linux Open Printing database, it lists all WeP models printer drivers as Paperweight (meaning, no support).

Hence the only way to stick to (linux && your_dot_matrix_printer) is to make use of virtualization: VMware shall answer your prayers.

Considering you have a dual boot system, you can use tutorial written by Mohammad Azimi.

Let me summarise it for you, there are just 2 parts to it.

  1. Get Vmware on your Linux system
    which involves…
    – you should get vmware up and running
    – Create a new vmware virtual machine and guide it to use your existing partition /disk of windows installation. (Read the tutorial carefully, for you must know whether you have 2 disks with one of them running windows or just 1 disk running both windows and linux).
  2. Set up a new hardware profile
    which involves…
    -Booting into your physical windows partition and creating a new hardware profile for vmware
    -Installing SCSI drivers (azimi provides the link to download them on the tutorial).
  3. Adding a parallel port to the virtual machine running your existing windows partition, which I will tell you how to at the end of this post.

FYI: When I did this myself, my existing windows although loaded up in vmware and it never stayed put, meaning it shutdown once loaded! So thinking back on all the things (read: abuse) I had made that installation of windows go through, I figured it’s worth a try to install a fresh copy and that worked! The freshly installed windows loaded fine in vmware recognized all the vmware virtual hardware.

TIP: Even if you didn’t face my problem I’d suggest you to keep the windows start up to minimum if you want windows to run fast within vmware. Because if you are having a gazillion startup items and 512MB memory of which 256 your host linux system uses, then you might as well give up the hope of running up MS Word and completely forget about the printing part.

So it’s advisable if you have 1gig of RAM and 512 of it alloted for the virtual machine.

Ok so now how-to add printer to vmware windows.

Step 1: Edit the settings of the virtual machine, add a new parallel port. Remove the text “Auto Detect” and put in “/dev/lp0”.

If you try running the virtual machine now, vmware is going to complain that such does not exist. Apparently, there is not dev/parport0 (atleast not in OpenSUSE 10.3), but fear not you can create it.

Step 2: Do “sudo mknod /dev/parport0 c 99 0 -m 666” in the terminal and and.. not so quick foo! also do “sudo /sbin/rmmod lp”.

Step 3: Now boot up the virtual machine, windows should recognize the parallel port and install the necessary drivers.

Step 4: Once in windows, Go to Start>Printers and Faxes>Add new Printer. Follow the screen instructions, it might complain that it couldn’t find the printer, never mind, proceed ahead and provide it the path to your wep windows printer driver, and of course you can take it from here I believe 😉

Since keeping running vmware all the time can be taxing on the CPU (those with 1Gig of RAM), Save your stuff and access if via word or some other word processor in your windows and then print away 😀

TIP: Since VMWare complains of parport0 not found every time you run it (after every reboot that is), you can create it automatically without sweat. Do a “sudo vi /etc/init.d/boot.local” and add “mknod /dev/parport0 c 99 0 -m 666”. That will solve the parport0 problem.