How to run Virtual PC machines in VMware Workstation

Virtual PC logoMicrosoft Virtual PC is virtualization software for Microsoft Windows. It is available for free to download on Microsoft websites and also is a part of Microsoft Windows 7 used to run Windows XP mode for compatibility with old applications.

Virtual PC is designed for common users of Windows. It contains only basic options for physical machine and operating system emulation.

VMware Workstation is virtualization software for advanced users with detailed settings of emulation as well as supports to run Unix and Unix based operating systems (Mac OS X, Linux).

Virtual PC uses its own virtual disk image format called Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd file extension) that stores file system, operating system data, users files and folders like on physical disk. VHD format is also used by Microsoft backup applications and Windows Server operating systems.

How to run Virtual PC virtual machine in VMware Workstation

Now we will introduce you how to easily open Virtual PC virtual machine in VMware Workstation version 8 and latter.

Start VMware Workstation. Go to the File menu → New Virtual Machine... option. VMware will open New Virtual Machine Wizard.

Select Custom (advanced) optionClick on Next button to open the next step of the wizard.

VMware Workstation Wizard
VMware Workstation 8 virtual machine wizard

In other step set Virtual Machine compatibility to Workstation 8 and click on Next button.

VMware Virtual Machine compatibilty settings
VMware Workstation 8 compatibility settings

Go through other wizard steps to set of operating system installation (set install OS later option), installed operating system on VHD, Virtual Machine name, processor type, memory size, network type etc. until you step on Select a Disk option.

VMware virtual hard disk settings
VMware Workstation 8 disk settings

Now select Use an existing virtual disk option > click on Next button. Click on Browse... button. In file type option above Open / Cancel buttons and select All files (*.*) option.

Vmware Workstation open .vhd files
VMware Workstation 8 select VHD disk

Browse to directory, where the VHD file is stored. Click on it and click on Open button.

Click on Next button to wizard summary window → Click on Finish button.

VMware Wizard summary window
VMware Workstation 8 summary window

Now your virtual machine with Virtual PC hard disk is prepared to use. Click on Power on this virtual machine option to run it.

How to convert Virtual PC to VMware Workstation

Conversion of Virtual PC virtual machine is useful for common users that have only basic knowledge about VMware and owners of older VMware Workstation releases.

Virtual PC machines can be easy converted to VMware with vCenter Converter Standalone. It is available on VMware website for free.

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

Download and install vCenter Converter Standalone. Start the application. To convert Virtual PC machine you will need Virtual Hard Disk file (.vhd file extension) and Virtual PC settings file (.vmc file extension).

Click on Convert Machine icon. Select source type on Backup image or third-party virtual machine. Click on Browse... button. In Open window browse to Virtual machine folder and select VMC file and click on Open button. Click Next button.

Vcenter Converter Standalone source system
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone select source system

Set the name of a new virtual machine, compatibility with VMware products and location on hard disk. Click Next button.

Vcenter Converter Standalone destination system
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone destination system

In Options you can customized virtual computer settings. After you finished the customizing, click Next button and on the last Summary step of wizard click Finish button.

Vcenter Converter Standalone system settings
VMware vCenter Converter Standalone options

Now wait until the conversion is finished. The converting time depends on size of Virtual PC machine and type of operating system.

Vcenter Converter Standalone System Summary

After the conversion task is completed, start VMware Workstation, or VMware Player and run new VMware virtual machine from location that you set bellow.

Related software and links:

VMware Player icon

VMware Player    Microsoft Windows platform
Program used to run multiple VMware virtual machines on PC

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone icon

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone    Microsoft Windows platform
Converter for virtual machines

VMware Workstation icon

VMware Workstation    Microsoft Windows platform
VMware Workstation is application used to create computer virtual machines in one hosting operating system

Windows Virtual PC (Microsoft Virtual PC) icon

Windows Virtual PC (Microsoft Virtual PC)    Microsoft Windows platform
A application used to run virtual computers on one workstation


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Related file extensions

vhd - Virtual Hard Disk file

vmc - Microsoft Virtual PC settings

vmdk - VMware virtual disk

vmx - VMware configuration data file

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