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Implementing PC Security
Installing and Using Virtual PC
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One of the problems of learning about computer is that you’ll
often want to experiment with: new software, Windows
updates, security programs, volatile web sites, etc.
Experimenting can cause problems with your computer. This is
not a good thing if you need your computer to get work done on
a daily basis.
Ideally, you’d have a spare computer that you could experiment on. Most people don’t though
and even if they did, installing programs and then uninstalling them can be quite time
consuming. Even after uninstalling, you can’t be 100% sure there are no remnants of the
program that might affect later tests. It’s these remnants that cause computers to bog down after
a while.
The solution to this problem is Microsoft Virtual PC. This program does exactly as its title
suggests: it creates a virtual PC on another PC—a PC within a PC. The virtual PC is 100% self
contained—any changes you make to the virtual PC do not affect the host PC and vice versa.
Even more convenient, you can copy (backup) a virtual PC to another location. Virtual PC also
allows you to delete all changes to a virtual PC when you close the virtual PC, restoring it to the
state it was in when launched the virtual PC.
The downside is that each virtual PC takes up a pretty big chunk of hard drive space (a bare
bones Windows XP virtual PC uses 1.5 GB of space) and a big chunk of RAM. The virtual PC
and host PC must share the available RAM. You’ll need a pretty large hard drive and plenty of
RAM to use virtual PC effectively.
Get a copy of the most recent version of Virtual PC
a. Available on the Networking lab server (Smokey) or
b. Download from,
i. Click on System Tools
ii. Scroll to locate Virtual PC.
Virtual PC installation is straight forward. If you need instructions, follow the link to Unit 1
– Virtual PC Installation.doc on the course web site
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Launch the Microsoft Virtual PC program from the Start menu.
The first time your run Virtual PC, the New Virtual Machine Wizard appears to help you
create a new virtual machine. If it doesn’t appear, click the
button in the Virtual
PC Console. Click the
button to begin creating the machine.
In the next dialog box, simply click the
option is selected).
button (ensure Create a virtual machine
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Enter a name for your virtual machine. Windows XP will automatically create a new folder
called My Virtual Machines in your My Documents folder. If you don’t want your virtual
machine stored in this folder, click the
button and designate where you’d like the
virtual machine files stored.
I normally include the operating systems name that will be installed on the virtual machine.
Click the
button to continue.
Select the operating system you will be installing on the virtual machine (if it’s not already
selected), then click the
Designate the amount of RAM that will be allocated to the virtual machine. Don’t forget, the
virtual machine will be sharing the host PC’s RAM. It’s often best to use the recommended
amount of RAM. If that’s what you want to do, simply click the
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If you choose the Adjusting the RAM option a slider will appear that allows you to
designate the amount RAM to allocate to the virtual machine. I recommend you always
allocate less than 50% of your computer’s RAM to the virtual machine. Move the slider
until the amount of RAM allocated is what you want, then click the
Tip: If you can afford the space, I recommend using at least 512MB RAM for Windows XP
and at least 1GB RAM for Windows Vista.
Choose the A new virtual hard disk option. All virtual machines need access to one virtual
hard disk to store the operating system, program files and data files. This virtual hard disk is
actually one big file on your host computer. One virtual hard disk can be used by multiple
machines (using different machine options) or one virtual machine could be tied to multiple
virtual hard disks. We won’t be using these features. Click the
button to
Virtual PC will store the virtual hard disk in the same folder as your virtual machine (My
Virtual Machines in My Documents). Virtual PC will make a new folder in My Virtual
Machines with the name you designated for the machine earlier. If you don’t want the hard
drive stored in the same location as the machine, click the
button to designate the
desired location. Click the
button to continue.
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Take a screen snapshot (Tip: make the host machine active before taking the snapshot). The
New Virtual Machine Wizard should appear similar to the image in step 10 below. Crop the
screen snapshot to show only the New Virtual Machine Wizard window.
Paste the screen snap below this line.
10. Click the
button to complete the creation of the new virtual machine and its
corresponding virtual hard drive.
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Like any computer, the virtual machine requires an operating system to run. In order to complete
this part of the lab, you will need a certified copy of an operating system.
Do not insert the operating system CD/DVD into the drive until instructed to do so.
Tip: Don’t use any other programs on the host machine when the OS is installing—it
significantly slows the install process. Make sure the Virtual PC window is the active window.
If necessary, start Virtual PC
In the Virtual PC Console window, select the virtual machine you wish to install the
operating system on. Then click the
button (or simply double-click virtual
machine name).
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Because there is no operating system installed, the following error message will appear.
Tip: If message appears that TFTP has timed out (before the message below), press Ctrl-C to
bypass the error.
Insert the operating system CD into the CD/DVD drive and let it come up to speed. Press the
Enter key on the keyboard.
Tip: If you are using a virtual CD, an ISO file, click CD on the VPC menu and choose
Capture ISO Image.
The operating system setup process should begin in the Virtual PC window.
Trouble? If the setup process doesn’t start in the Virtual PC window, but in the host PC
environment instead:
 Cancel the host PC installation process
 Click the Virtual PC window
 Press the Enter key on the keyboard again
Install the operating system as you normally would on a host PC.
Tip: Use the NTFS Quick Format option to speed up the process
When asked for your name, enter Student
Enter MSTC for Organization
DO NOT enter an Administrator password
Set the appropriate time zone
For Networking, choose Typical Settings and leave the work group set to
DO NOT turn on Automatic Updates
Connect to the Internet using a local area network
DO NOT register with Microsoft
Again, enter Student for Your Name
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When the installation is complete, take a screen snapshot (Tip: make the host machine active
before taking the snapshot) that shows your virtual machine window and the host window.
Paste the screen snap below this line.
Submit this lab to your instructor.
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