back to article Microsoft releases Vista virtualization

Microsoft has released a public beta of desktop virtualization software to run legacy Windows applications on Windows Vista. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) will let you run Windows XP and Windows 2000 applications on Windows Vista without the need for testing or migration, the company said. MED-V creates …


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  1. El Mono Grande
    Thumb Down

    One thing comes to mind:


    Thanks but no thanks, Johnny-come-lately. I'm already doing all of that.

  2. Waderider
    Paris Hilton

    Virtualization within Vista......., I can't think of a more frugal way to run an XP or 2000 compatible application! Quick, buy Vista, and the hardware capable of running both it and a virtual os.

    Alternatively, realize that it's a stupid idea and stick with XP/linux/OSX.

    Paris because sex sells, unlike Vista.........

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, right.

    So lemme get this straight. Microsoft want me to put my XP application on a VM inside a Visa box and they want to tell me that I don't need to test that first?

    Microsoft. This would be the company to whom virtualization barely existed until last year. This would be the company that can't give Vista away to pox ridden martians and yet are developing solutions where you can put applications that run on your perfectly workable Vista box just so they can claim more running punters.


  4. Tone


    A year ago - they bought connectix years ago and softricity in 2006??

  5. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Does any...

    virtual machine truly and effectively let guest OSs run without any limitations?

  6. Kanhef
    Gates Horns

    "without the need for testing"

    The comment should be obvious. And this is from Microsoft, which doubles the shock/amusement value.

  7. DJ


    Will they be offering a version for MasterCard as well as 'Visa'?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    not so fast...

    This looks like it may be something genuinely new and useful, more like a Windows on Windows version of VMware Fusion...

  9. Sureo
    Thumb Down

    Just what we need...

    another tech-solution without a problem.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Very odd concept!

    Take off XP to install Vista, with it's many faults, to enable running XP on the same machine so you have a usable OS??

    2 licenses for the user of 1 (as mentioned above)!

    I've seen Citrix working it's magic, I'd rather do that any day.

    Mines the one with the £5000 server for running citrix in it!

  11. Legless

    I've Been Doing This For Ages

    I run Microsoft Virtual PC inside VISTA and have done for at least 18 months - when I run VISTA at all that is.

    I'm stuck supporting an app that is welded to XP and won't run at all on VISTA so a virtual machine was the only way forward.

    And I do the same thing on my MAC - I run Virtual Box to run many configurations of XP.

    Can't see what's new here....

  12. David Kairns

    W H A T ? ? ?

    The faster they bury vista in a deep dark hole (and jump in after it?) the more likely it will become that they survive.

    Can MS create an honest solid pile of code devoid of overt and covert lock-in and other complete insanities? I think maybe not. I don't think they can even conceive of such a thing.

    I'll keep running my final MS code pile (Win2K) till it blows up, and then flip on over to currently in testing PCLOS, DSL, and WINE (lots of old programs I want to retain - Delorme maps for instance).

    Is Redmond on a big craggy unstable fault line? (wishful thinking).

  13. David Kairns
    Thumb Up

    Wait a Sec...

    Virtual Vista!!!

    Imagine running it, and then DON'T.

    Sign me UP.

  14. Robert E A Harvey
    Gates Horns


    And I suppose you have to pay for a licence for the XP? And where the black enamel will you get it, now that they only sell Vista?

    Do they think we are stupid, or something?

  15. CeeJay

    This is fantastic news!

    Since this needs no testing, we can lay off all our dev and OAT people and save a fortune on their salaries! Thanks Microsoft - innovative as usual.

    Oh and by the way; "Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack". "MDOP"? Seriously? You mean like Hansen?

    "Mmm-DOP, doo-wah-doo-mop, dooba-dooba-dooba, MDOP, doo-wah-doo" etc. Splendid.

  16. John

    the developer team was called


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a solution without a problem...

    It's a good way of easing companies (not individual users) towards letting go of XP.

    The biggest headache for corporates (at least the biggest headache for those corporates who refresh desktop hardware regularly) is application compatibility testing. Anthing that smooths that is a good thing, IME.

    Also: the advent of Windows 7 has probably sunk a fair few "upgrade to Vista" projects in larger organisations- I know I've abandoned all plans to take my offices anywhere near Vista. Win7 and Vista are close cousins- so not all the work done by enterprise customers to date is lost- and application compatibility testing is probably one of the later test stages in many projects.

    Is this a way of having cusomers who have already started upgrade projects stay in the loop and go early adopter on Win7, whilst encouraging everyone else to get going now Vista is pretty much dead?

    Finally: "The Windows you want"? Is that the new XP marketing slogan?

  18. Mark Talbot
    Jobs Halo


    This was apples solution for running macos9 apps on mac osx years ago. Nice that Microsoft are finally catching up with other company's.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't Virtual PC do this already?

    Hmm.. We've had Virtual Server, Virtual Server 2005 and now Virtual PC 2007. All of these worked well.

    I don't really care to entertain the cranks and anti ms children on here but honestly, I've been running vista for a long time. Current version is a 64 bit build and it's rock solid! I' also use Virtual PC 2007 and I use it to run XP development environments so that I keep my desktop and installed apps footprint relatively lean, then only install the dev tools in a virtual environment. it gives me loads of advantages and perhaps is one of the reasons my system is so stable.

    I'm not overly sure what advantages this "new" offering from ms is supposed to bring but I'll look it over and make an informed judgement before cursing it and dismissing out of hand without any actual knowledge of the product.

  20. Tom

    I'll take all they've got.

    There was me thinking that Vista ran aps about 30% slower than XP - but no, if I run my apps in Vista or the virtual XP I can see that they run slightly slower on the XP version. I'll get my chequebook...

  21. The Sceptic

    So bad MS can't get Vista fixed

    I've been running XP\2000 as a VM on Vista 64 now for about a year now - no doubt MS have been data mining and realised the volume of people doing the same.

    How bad does an OS have to be to require a mounted VM to run applications - Vista bad.

    Last weekend I had enough - scrapped my Vista 64 bit version (too many unresolved bugs) & am in the process of building a 32 bit Server 2003 to create my VMs on. I already am licensed for everything back to 3.1 so will not be purchasing any additional licenses & following this will be getting an Ubuntu laptop as I've had enough of the new MS license scam.

  22. N


    Backward compatibility used to be a good usp for Microsoft, but not any more. With hind sight they should have released it around the same time as Vista.

    Or was it knee jerk reaction to Vista hostility?

  23. P. Lee

    re: Just what we need...

    There is a use for it - MS partners who have to run vista when vista won't run their apps would find it useful. This is desktop stuff so it can be used when you have to be seen to be running vista.

    Otherwise, why would you take on a vista-only app which forces you to run vista when you have an XP only app which for some reason doesn't run with vista?

    If you have to have the pain of a migration and you're going the desktop virtualisation route, then go with the penguin as your base. At least you've got the option of exploring the FOSS route and associated cost-savings. Or you can just use citrix/rdp for centralised, secure desktops - xp or vista.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Tacit admission that Vista is not binary compatible with the previous windozes for marketing reasons to make you buy the new version. It's an odd situation when they have to circumvent their own self imposed, marketing based non-compatibility in order to sell product.

    Now if only it had been compatible in the first place, you wouldn't need to employ all those drones to make this work, test and release it. Paris because, well, Duh!

  25. RichyS
    Gates Horns

    Should have done this from day 1

    I think one of Vista's biggest problems in Microsoft's insistence on providing legacy support. This has pretty much locked in horrible Windows 'features' such as the Registry.

    Vista should have been a ground up re-architecting of Windows -- hell, they had enough time to do it. Legacy support could have been provided from day 1 by virtualisation.

    Instead, we end uo with a mess of an OS that attempts to be backwards compatible, yet still breaks most of your old apps. The legacy parts make it dog slow. And then MS decide to slow it down even more by putting a virtualisation layer on top of their hamstrung by legacy OS.


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward - 21:41 GMT

    No, there are always foibles and *any* software needs tested in the chosen VM. Be it graphics, hardware, whatever - the virtualisation will perform some kind of abstraction/translation and you have to be sure that your stuff still runs.

    If you are making deep-level/proprietary system calls (which can happen when using the likes of .Net, C++ etc), then these may not work.

    If it was as piss easy and MS seem to think, then we'd all just be firing MS Office, .Net apps, etc into Wine, running on Linux (or doing similar on OS X) and shoving two fingers up to MS and Vista.

    Having said first experience with Wine went swimmingly last night - so maybe there is hope.

  27. spegru


    Sun's Virtualbox already lets you run virtualisation within vista, and you can virtualise any other pc OS (such as XP but also Linux) within it.

    And as to saying no need for testing well, who would you trust more.........

    MS has missed the boat again

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Strategic Reasons

    Its a Strategic release for Microsoft. Lots of vendors will be pushing Vista desktops into organisations, lots of organisations will have in-house/external legacy apps that haven't been tested. VMWare fusion has a nice answer and solves that issue. Microsoft obviously don't like Organisations/Vendors pushing VMWare but without an alternative, it's a weak argument at best.

    This gives them the chance to get some users familiar with an MS based technology that they'll make bigger over the coming years, hopefully at least capturing some of the userbase and ensuring they don't spend cash with VMWare.

    Paris, because shes cheap, tacky and uses too much resource, just like Vista VM :)

  29. Thomas Bottrill


    "2 licenses for the user of 1 (as mentioned above)!"

    The Desktop Optimisation Pack is only available to Software Assurance customers. These customers will be using Vista Enterprise, which gives you the right to run a virtualised version of XP on the same machine for this very purpose. So you still only need one licence.

  30. James

    Well, it's useful for us....

    We've got legacy code - we've spent ages trying to get it to work in Vista with all the insanity of the User VirtualStore. In the end we abandoned any attempt to use any Windows special folders and used our own structures - much safer and more predictable than Microsofts structures with it's overheads of access control and permissions.

    Anyway, it'll allow all the US/Canada customers that jumped to Vista use the older versions of the software without Vista chaos following.......

  31. Andrew

    Not as mad as it sounds

    If this will allow a virtualised 32-bit XP full access to all my peripherals (which are unsupported on 64-bit Vista), I can see it being quite useful. e.g. Run the 32-bit scanner application in the VM but edit the results in 64-bit Photoshop.

    On the other hand, if it inherits all the limitations of Virtual PC then its doomed.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    ... cock it...

    ... fire on foot for buying Vista....

    ... cock it again...

    ... shoot your other foot waiting XP to run virtualized in Vista...

    ... cock it again...

    ... ask someone to shoot you in the head, (since you can´t bear the pain of having both of your legs and feet shot off and still hold the gun in your hands anymore), which is just as stupid as running XP virtualized in Vista when you could have run it straight of the hardware in the first place...

    However, it seems useful for those that bought notebooks that were locked-out on Vista. One year too late, though.

    Mine is the one with a copy of a book in the outer pocket entitled "1001 ways to evade sanity checks, sanatoriums, and the sort".

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    But Vista is supposed to run my legacy applications isn't it?

    I am all for using virtualisation to solve issues with legacy software but this should have been included from the word go - ie all the legacy windows crud (98, 2000, xp etc) should have been removed from vista and a virtualisation option included at release to solve legacy app issues.

    Several problems solved! Vista compat issues! Vista bloat! All that legacy crap noone wants, gone!

    This is how Apple did it. Congrats Microsoft for, as ever, eventually realising its best to copy Apple.

  34. Richard Harris

    How about...

    How about a Vista Emulator that you can run in XP? Oh yeah, I forgot. You change your desktop wallpaper, take half the memory out of the PC and get the missus to nag you for hours on end, to get the Vista experience in XP.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Obvious really

    This is just another Microsoft attack on VMwares' stock price. Every time they (M$) mention the word "virtual" in a press release, VMwares' stock drops. Rather than compete against VMware in the actual battlefield that Virtualization is becoming (where it will lose), Microsoft is going after the competition in an indirect manner.

    Force the company out through dodgy marketing campaigns and watch the stock price fall as "Wall Street Experts" and "analysts" jump on the doom and gloom Microsoft love bus.

  36. Harry

    Wouldn't it be easier (and faster!) ...

    ... to just carry on selling XP ???

  37. Tom

    @andrew - Doomed I say Doomed!

    No such luck - Fistula would have to be able to access the hardware to allow it to be passed to the VM.

  38. SteyBrae
    Thumb Up


    MED-V-Dev. Nice one John! - gotta new motor?

  39. The BigYin


    This is meant to ease the pain of moving to Vista is it? Well I can see a few people thinking

    "I need to buy a new Vista license just so I can run my XP-only stuff under a virtual platform. I wonder if I installed Linux and then VirtualBox, could I do the same thing and save myself a few buck on all those extra licenses?"

    OK, for corporate use VB needs a license (unless you don't need USB support, in which case use the free one) but you can be sure that quite a few IT bods are looking at the Vista/Windows 7 Pain-Train and wondering if there is an easier way.

    Not that Linux (or OS X) is the cure for all ills, but it may be good for some. And diversification in the market is good for all as it should start to force manufacturers and code-houses to follow standards which means greater portability, inter-operation and competition.

  40. Cameron Colley

    This might be news...

    ... If MS have found a way to expose graphics hardware to virtual machines. Though I understand that VMWare has this an upcoming, unsupported, feature.

    Think I'll stick with Virtualbox though.

  41. Jolyon

    re: I've Been Doing This For Ages - Legless

    How many machines are you doing this on in how many locations?

    If it is the sort of thing that people do then surely a set of tools for managing the doing of it is a Good Thing and not deserving of quite as much scorn as it has attracted.

    I like the idea of seamless apps delivered in a virtual environment launchable from the user start menu with the virtualisation transparent to them.

    Support of legacy applications is a pain - moving from Windows 3.11 -> NT4 -> XP would have been considerably easier with something like this available.

    Managing different Java versions or applications that have conflicting requirements for whatever reason will also be simplified by this.

    It's not going to make me push for a move to Vista mind.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    As per the front page

    "Microsoft’s introduced desktop virtualization software to run legacy Windows applications on Visa, minus the migration upgrades and testing headaches"

    No Amex or M/C? I call monopoly!

  43. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg makes a joke!

    The byline on the front page for this story says

    "Microsoft’s introduced desktop virtualization software to run legacy Windows applications on Visa, minus the migration upgrades and testing headaches"

    And I'm wondering do I really want to run Windows on my credit card - poor thing's had enough abuse over the years buying all those mandatory upgrades each new Win revision foists on me. What next ... "MacOS on Mastercard"?

    Well, it made me smile anyway...

  44. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down


    "I like the idea of seamless apps delivered in a virtual environment launchable from the user start menu with the virtualisation transparent to them."

    So do I. What could possibly go wrong?

    Meanwhile: Somewhere in the fathomless pits of Hell, Satan sends a minion off to dig out the "lessons learned" report on OS/2's "seamless" Windows app support, all the while chuckling to himself.

  45. Ewen Bruce

    Ignorance is bliss

    There seem to be equal levels of stupidity on both sides of the argument; from the MS haters who rubbish whatever they do, and from MS themselves with their over zealous marketing hype (who the **** deploys anything, anywhere, without testing it??).

    Med-V is the first iteration of a product based on technology MS acquired last year and it has a role in an overall desktop visualization solution. One of its benefits is the ability to 'hide' the fact that the legacy app is running in its own little bubble from the end-user and give them a seamless interface. Quiet clever actually. Then again, I've actually seen it working, so I suppose that means my opinion doesn't count......

  46. Steve Wehrle
    Thumb Down


    The main problem I have with Vista is that a lot of equipment I have, which worked fine with XP, doesn't work under Vista because Vista drivers aren't available. I can't see how running XP in a VM on Vista is going to make my experience of Vista any more pleasurable.

  47. Christian Berger

    How does Vista tie into that?

    I mean seriously. One of the points about virtualisation is that the host doesn't matter. So why not install some 64bit Ubuntu and run legacy applications under a virtual XP or W2000?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ignorance is bliss

    Doesn't alter the fact that it ought not be needed

  49. Kanhef
    Paris Hilton

    A possible use

    If you run a media player in virtualized XP, will that bypass Vista's insane DRM? Or, if you play music with a full-screen visualizer, will Vista consider that 'hi-def' content and refuse to display it?

  50. Fred
    Thumb Down

    More convoluted insecure bloatware

    This is just more crap thats not needed, and is evident that their P.R./sales department needs pruning.

  51. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Second quarter?

    1) Second quarter? As many have said, people have been virtualizing XP for years, even using Microsoft's own products (well, VirtualPC became theirs after they bought Connectix). Are they planning some MacOSX-style setup where the XP apps run seamlessly on the desktop (the way it did for OS9?), or is Microsoft just being slow to release?

    2) This seems to be a big problem for Microsoft. If someone is going to run their apps in a VM, it gives little reason to run on top of Vista rather than running on something else (OSX or Ubuntu for example.) XP will run on almost every virtual machine system I've ever seen... some like qemu emulate real hardware.. and it's old enough that XP supports it out-of-the-box... others (VMware, I'm looking at you) simulate idealized hardware but there's XP drivers for it.

  52. Christopher Martin

    Congratulations, Microsoft!

    They re-wrote Wine?

    ... I think somebody's late to their own party.

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