Running Ubuntu 9.10 on Windows Virtual PC (Win7)

I finally got around to installing Windows Virtual PC on my Windows 7 machine.  By no means am I recommending Windows Virtual PC for a heavy workload.  I’m a huge fan on VMware Workstation and run it (v6) on my laptop where my VM requirements are a little more robust.  I do have a need for some basic VM usuage at home so I though I would give Microsoft a shot.

My first two VMs were Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows XP Professional.  Those installs, being officially supported, went very smooth.  When it came to getting Ubuntu up and running that was a different story.  The first few attempts of Ubuntu were just downright frustrating.  My first mistake was giving Ubuntu what I felt was the bare minimum (not published minimums) of resources, an 8GB VHD and 512MB of RAM.  Upon reboot after the initial install the VM hung.  A quick power cycle of the VM highlighted my lack of resources with segmentation faults and a panic.

A quick bump to 1GB of RAM got me to the Ubuntu desktop.  I could see there was still a problem.  The system font was all rectangles.  Normally I would suspect a configuration problem or new app changing settings but on a fresh install it was an obvious issue.  Also, no apps would start at all.  In fact, after trying to open a few system property windows the VM crashed.  I figured 8GB of disk is pretty low so I decided on a fresh install with a 16GB VHD, giving the system a little more wiggle room for swap.

After the reinstall (I didn’t want to simples add another VHD) on the 16GB VHD I did notice a slight responsiveness increase but still has rectangle fonts and no apps would run.  A bump to 2GB of RAM finally got me up and running.  I must say I am very surprised by this given both my WinXP and Win7 machines seem quite happy with just 512MB of RAM.

I’m sure somewhere between 1Gb and 2GB there is a ‘will work’ setting but with RAM being cheap these days and my current system having 4GB I’m content to leave it alone for now.


Categories: Hypervisors, Virtualization

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