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Virtual PC is an emulator that was created by Connectix and later acquired by Microsoft, to allow PowerPC-based Macs to run PC software, including Microsoft Windows, within a virtual machine.

History[]

The software was first released in June 1997 as Connectix Virtual PC. It allowed Power Macintosh computers to emulate a PC to run DOS, OS/2, Windows, or OpenStep. Registered users of SoftWindows were offered a competitive rebate.[1]

Version 2 was released in 1998 and added support for Windows 98. Apple offered Virtual PC 2.0 with Windows 95 for free to purchasers of a Power Macintosh G3 computer.[2]

Version 3 was released in 1999 with improved performance and USB support for Mac OS 9 users running Windows 98.

Version 4 was released in 2001 with up to double the performance through support for the PowerPC G4 Velocity Engine. Disk images containing the Windows installation could be dynamically resized. Support for Windows 2000 was added; support for other operating systems could be added more easily through pre-configured OS Packs. This was also the first version to be ported to Windows to run on PCs.[3]

Version 5 was released in 2002 with support for Mac OS X 10.1 or later. Classic Mac OS was still supported for users of Mac OS 9.1 or later. Support for Windows XP was added with improved menu and text scrolling performance. Undoable disk images allowed users to back out of any problematic Windows session. Multiple Virtual PC sessions could also be networked together on the same computer.

Version 6 was briefly released for Mac users in 2003 before Connectix was acquired by Microsoft. Performance for Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later was increased along with improved compatibility for USB printers. Classic Mac OS was still supported for users of Mac OS 9.2.2 only.

Acquisition by Microsoft[]

Virtual PC was acquired by Microsoft in 2003. Its development and support staff, including Connectix's Chief Technical Officer Eric Traut, were transferred to Microsoft.[4] Version 7 was the final major release for Mac, and added support for the PowerPC G5 processor in four editions that were bundled with Windows 2000 or XP.[5] It was last updated to version 7.0.2 on June 21, 2005.[6] The introduction of Boot Camp with Intel-based Macs in 2006 had rendered emulation unnecessary at the time.[7] Microsoft announced on August 7 at the 2006 Worldwide Developers Conference that it would end development of Virtual PC for the Mac.[8]

The PC version was adapted into Windows Virtual PC to allow users of Windows 7 to run older software in "Windows XP Mode" (XPM), which was compared to the Classic environment in early versions of Mac OS X.[9] Virtual PC has since been replaced by the Hyper-V hypervisor for machine virtualization in Windows.[10]

Gallery[]

References[]

See also[]

  • Parallels, developer of virtualization software that filled the absence of Virtual PC for Mac.
  • QEMU, an open source machine emulator and virtualizer.

External links[]

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