virtual-pc


Quicker way to create duplicate Virtual PC images?


I use Virtual PC to create fresh environments for testing my installer. But I must be doing something wrong because a VPC image with Vista or XP inside is taking around 15GB of disk space (that includes VS2005/S2008 installed in them).
To create a new copy for testing I copy and paste the folder that has the .vhd, .vmc and .vsv files inside. After using the new VPC image for testing I then delete that copied folder. This works but it takes a looong time to copy 15GB each time. Is there some faster/more efficent approach?
Use differencing/undo disks. This means when you shut down your VPC you'll be asked if you want to save changes, simply answer no and you'll be back to where you started.
Doesn't VirtualPC have a fake-write/snapshot mode? That way it should not write to your original disk at all unless you say so at the end of the session.
If it doesn't, you might seriously want to consider VMWare or VirtualBox as these do have this feature and it's REALLY useful for things like this.
Edit: it looks like VPC does have a feature like this called differencing disks. Have a look at this:
http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/articles/UseVirtualPCsDifferencingDisksToYourAdvantage.aspx
VPC has a so called undo disk. you create sg similar like "restore point" and in vpc you can roll back to that version. ideal for testing setups.
Sound like you need to use differencing virtual hard disks rather than creating a new copy every time.
Instructions here
Another option: you can use Microsoft's ImageX to store VHDs in WIM format. If you have multiple images you are constantly reusing, this is an incredible way to manage VMs. I have a slew of Windows XP and 2003 images I keep in compressed WIM format.
You can capture the VMs by mounting them in Windows PE and then capturing them to a network drive.
Also, you mentioned cut & paste, this is not the best way to be copying large amounts of data within windows. At least use xcopy, robocopy is even faster.
Also, another option if you are looking to duplicate the images for use on other real machines, you can convert the disk to a dynamically expanding disk which will reduce the size of the vdisk making it easier to copy. This also allows for a more rapid backup, which looks to be part of what your testing does by default. The problem with dynamic disks is they tend to be slightly slower performance wise than fixed-size disks.
However, if all you are doing is using it for testing on the same machine, see the answers above. Differencing is the way to go.

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