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Windows 7: VM but not XP mode

24 Feb 2010   #11

Windows 7

I had an idea, when looking at XP mode, it has two other files, which are .VMCX and .VMC both of which are configuration files and have the same filename as the .VHD file.

So, i basically copied those files in their current location, and gave it the filename of my old laptop file name (the filename of the .VHD).

Then I edited those files, and replaced the filename of the XP Mode, with the filename of my .VHD file.

Unfortunately it didnt work, although I get a different error now, the error I get it:

"Computer Name encountered an error when attempting to use one of its virtual hard disks"

any ideas about this new error, or we can think of a way around it? within those two config files, there are references to Primary and Secondary disks, but it is above my head.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2010   #12


XP Mode (original Windows Virtual PC XP mode) uses a base vhd, located in C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode. You can make copies of the XP Mode virtual machine, but they all use this base virtual disk. If you copy and modify the XP Mode vmc and vmcx files to be used with other virtual machines, you also need to delete all references to this base disk.

Copying existing XP Mode or any other virtual machine, you need to modify both vmcx and vmc files. This extract is from my tutorial Virtual XP Machine - Copy:

Every virtual hard drive (vhd) created with Virtual PC consists of three files if it is turned off, or of four files if it is hibernated or running. The file extensions for these files are:
  • .vhd = Virtual Machine virtual hard drive image
  • .vmc = Virtual Machine settings file
  • .vsv = Virtual Machine saved state file
  • .vmcx = Virtual Machine description and registration settings
The tutorial also shows what you have to change in these files when copying virtual machines.

Anyway: I have no XP computer home. To test Disk2vhd, I made a new vhd from my existing XP Mode. I then created a new virtual machine using this vhd, and I had absolutely no problems.

One thing to consider is the difference in hardware setup; maybe it lies behind this issue. Virtual machines use emulated hardware so all the drivers are different. For example, all Virtual PC machines emulate the simpliest of all GPU's, old S3 card.

I have not forgotten what you said earlier, but if you tested your vhd on VirtualBox, and if it worked, at least we could confirm there's nothing wrong with the vhd.

Still searching...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2010   #13

Windows 7

ill give Virtualbox a try when I get back to work tomorrow. Thanks so much for helping, it is appreciated. Ill let you know tomorrow what happens with that app.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Feb 2010   #14


I found this on
To use VHDs produced by Disk2vhd, create a VM with the desired characteristics and add the VHDs to the VM’s configuration as IDE disks. On first boot, a VM booting a captured copy of Windows will detect the VM’s hardware and automatically install drivers, if present in the image. If the required drivers are not present, install them via the Virtual PC or Hyper-V integration components. You can also attach to VHDs using the Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management or Diskpart utilities.
I guess it means I am completely wrong thinking your issue could be because of hardware difference.

Still searching... I'll try to find an XP machine tomorrow, to virtualize with Disk2vhd.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2010   #15


I just remembered something very important, two restrictions when mounting a vhd to Virtual PC:

First, you can only mount an IDE vhd. Second, and maybe more important: the maximum size of a Virtual PC virtual hard disk is 127 gigs. It's not the actual size of your vhd that matters, it is the original size of partition you virtualized with Disk2vhd.

So, if you had let's say 25 gigs of apps and files on that XP but if the partition was over 127 gigs, let's say 150 gigs, your image should be around 25 gigs but Virtual PC looks the maximum size of that disk (image), which equals with the size of the partition, in this example 150 gigs which is too big to mount to Virtual PC.

A friend of mine told me about this article just minutes ago when we were chatting: Fix Virtual Windows XP Mode VHD Cannot Install or Attach in Windows 7 Error My Digital Life

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2010   #16

Windows 7
I think you are on to something

I tried VirtualBox, and it worked, it booted to Windows, and after I logged in, it tried to install a few drivers, of which im not sure what they are.

Anyway, it worked.

I think you are on to something when you talk about the size, when i look at the volume in Virtualbox, it shows the size of the captured VHD file, which is about 55gb, BUT it also shows the full size of the volume, wich is 148gb.

So i think it is that latter part that is causing issues with Microsoft Virtual Machine.

It is odd that VirtualBox will work though, but then again Microsoft tends to have lower specs for their software, so it can be picky.

So, with that said, is there anyway to "shrink" the overall size? or have it report the size as smaller? or maybe another utility that grabs VDH's from hard drives, but can change the overall size? while I am happy that Virtualbox works, it isnt the nicest package to use, and Microsofts just "feels" better,. it is more like a remote desktop session.

thanks for all your hard work helping me, appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2010   #17


OK, now we are getting somewhere. I attach a vhd resizer application, unzip and install. The app is quite straight forward to use.

Don't forget to make a copy of the vhd before trying to resize it! I would use the fixed size option.


EDIT: Tested something, I thing using Disk Management in Win7 is a better alternative:

Attached Files
File Type: zip (170.7 KB, 53 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2010   #18

Windows 7

its really funny, that you edited your post and put try the Windows 7 shrink in Computer manager, as I remembered that I could attach my VHD file, and in the past I saw a shrink option (i looked that that waaaay before I started playing with the VHD file), and remembered it.

So, at this moment, i mounted the VHD file, and am using Windows 7 shrink option, and let it set itself to the max allowable shrink. it looks like it will take some time.

I will let you know what happens.

Thanks for hanging on with me, to get this resolved. Hopefully this will be the answer. I am going to download the tool you linked here, just in case there is an issue.

thanks again, and I will let you know what happens.

It is shrinking now, but whats odd, is that it doesnt show a progress bar, just the default Windows Busy rotating circle... but the hard drive light is sold, so i know it is working. I image this process if going to take quite a long time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2010   #19


It can take hours

This is very interesting to me, I'm quite interested in virtual computing. It's always nice to learn something new.

Let's hope you get it under the magical 127 gig mark!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #20

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this or not, but I believe the virtual machine has a disk limit size of 127/128GB. I ran into this problem and found that it had to obviously do with the partition size.

My solution to the problem was to boot the VHD using the free program VirtualBox, which does not have the same limitation, then booted from an ISO of another free program Gparted (for editing partitions) and shrank the partition size down below the limit. You can download an ISO to just mount as a virtual CDrom in the software and boot it up that way. After I shrank it, I tried it again in Microsoft's VM, and it worked. Look in the documentation and help files, but I'm pretty sure it's 127GB disk size max.

Hope that can help. I don't have time to read the previous replies, so if anyone already mentioned this, sorry....

[edit: yep, looks like this is the current discussion.... I think you're headed down the right path with the shrink]
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 VM but not XP mode

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