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Virtual PC 6 Notes and Reports

Updated November 28, 2005

On this page:

with Virtual PC 6.

Other MacWindows emulator pages:

Virtual PC:

Windows on Intel Macs:


Other sites of interest:

Microsoft VPC/USB. June 11, 2004 -- We went trolling through the Microsoft Knowledge Base for information on using USB devices with Virtual PC and found several useful articles:

Microsoft Buys Virtual PC: says future is bright for VPC Mac.

February 21, 2003 -- Microsoft's purchase of Virtual PC from Connectix (see yesterday's story) may have been driven by the Virtual Server product still in beta, but Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (MBU) is glad to add Virtual PC to its product line.

Microsoft MBU's Tim McDonough, director of marketing and business development told MacWindows that there will be future new versions Virtual PC for Mac.

"Virtual PC is the perfect product to be part of Microsoft in the Macintosh Business Unit,"said McDonough. "Who would be better to guarantee a long term future for the product?"

Microsoft's plan is to not change anything about how Virtual PC is sold for the time being. Microsoft will retain the Virtual PC product name with the same pricing. Microsoft will continue to offer OS Packs, special versions of Windows prepackaged for Virtual PC. It will continue to offer Virtual PC bundled with Windows 98, 2000 Professional, XP Home, XP Professional and PC-DOS. "We'll look at the bundles and make decisions based on what customers want" said McDonough.

Virtual Server Customer Preview Program

Virtual Server will allow you to run multiple versions of Windows servers on one host PC. Microsoft is looking at it as a way to help transition users of NT 4 Server to Windows Server 2003. Connectix says that 100 users are currently beta testing Virtual Server, but Microsoft is planning a wider Customer Preview Program on April 15. (You can apply to join at a Connectix page.) Connectix also has a transition FAQ document with some information on Virtual Server and Virtual PC.

The transition period

McDonough said that it would take between three to six months to completely transfer the Virtual PC operations from Connectix to Microsoft. During this time, if a maintenance release of Virtual PC 6 were needed, it would be done by either Connectix or Microsoft, depending on how far the transition had moved along. McDonough said that it will take from 3 to 6 months for developers, product support, packaging, and other groups to migrate Microsoft. "Each one will transition to Microsoft at its own schedule."

An Associated Press story quoted Connectix vice president for Macintosh products Kurt Schmucker as saying that 30 out of 100 of Connectix employees would move to Microsoft. McDonough said that "These are people that were core to producing and shipping the product. We got everybody we need." The ex-Connectix employees will work in Microsoft's Silicon Valley office in Mountain View, which produces the Mac versions of Entourage, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, and the upcoming MSN for Mac OS X.

Connectix has set up a web page for fielding questions about the Microsoft acquisition during the transition period.

The Future of Connectix

We asked a Connectix representative what the company without VPC. "The bottom line is that we don't know what the future will bring after the six month transition period."

This is is not the first time that Connectix has sold off a major asset to a larger corporation. Connectix sold QuickCam to Logitech, and, after some legal maneuvering, sold Virtual Game Station (a Playstation emulator) to Sony.

"The founders of Connectix are entrepreneurs--one possibility is that they could very well reinvent the company in a new direction, and this is being actively discussed," said the Connectix rep. "Then again, another possibility is that the company goes away in late 2003. Today, we just don't know yet."

What's in VPC 6

With Virtual PC 6 for Mac, Connectix promises up to 25 percent speed increase in Mac OS X. Version 5, the first version that ran in Mac OS X, runs significantly slower in OS X than in Mac OS 9. (See our Virtual PC 5 Report page.) However, the performance improvements are mostly seen on newer Macs. Connectix told us that to see the full performance gains, the user needs Mac OS X 10.2.3, a Mac with an L3 cache, and a Mac with an NVIDIA Ge Force or ATI Radeon video card. These are cards that support Apple's Quartz Extreme graphics acceleration. Older Macs without an L3 cache or the specified graphics cards will see smaller performance gains.

VPC 6 also contains a number of new features, mostly for Mac OS X. We took a look at VPC 6 and found the following features to be significant:

The upgrade is not free: Virtual PC 6.0 Upgrade is US $99, or "special pricing" until March 31 2003 for people who purchased VPC 5 after Nov. 1 2002. For the full version, there are three bundles available, Virtual PC 6.0 with DOS (US $129) VPC 6 with Windows XP Home or Windows 98 (US $219), and VPC 6 with Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional (US $249). We recommend running VPC 6 with Windows 2000.

Requirements and performance on Macs not meeting requirements

Connectix have beefed up the hardware requirements for Mac OS X, now saying that VPC 6 requires a 500 MHz or faster G3 or G4. (For Mac OS 9, Connectix still says any G3 or G4 Mac.)

Connectix recommends an L3 cache, Mac OS X 10.2.3 or later, and the NVIDIA Ge Force or ATI Radeon video cards for support of Quartz Extreme acceleration.

We tried VPC 6 on a 350 MHz Power Mac G4. Performance seemed slightly faster than Version 5, though not by much. As with Version 5, Windows XP was unusably slow, while Windows 2000 ran acceptably.

If you've tried VPC 6 on a less-than-500 MHz Mac, we'd like to hear about your experiences.

Version History

VPC 6.0.1 fixes problems with G3 Macs. January 20, 2003 -- Virtual PC 6.0.1 for Mac is a free update to VPC 6.0 that fixes several problems. The fixes include:

Reader Reports

Performance Issues

December 20, 2002
Michael Robinson

I downloaded the VPC 6 upgrade on my Power Mac G4 without any problems. It seems somewhat faster than before, is still lower than in Mac OS X 9.

December 20, 2002
Several readers were miffed that an upgrade for the speed problems of VPC 5 costs US $99. Dan Foshee was one:

Sounds neat, although it rankles that I have to pay for what sounds like (to me) an incremental update that fixes things that should've been done before they released 5. Guess Apple is an innovator in so many areas...

December 20, 2002
Joseph Hu agrees:

Virtual PC 5 was unbearably slow in Mac OS X. Instead of getting a fix,we get a $100 upgrade.

December 28, 2002
Byron Han

VPC 6 seems substantially faster than VPC 5 on a iMac-800MHz running XP. The sound no longer is choppy.

December 28, 2002
Sandy Hawkins

On a 1 GHz PBTi / 10.2.3 / 1024 meg ram, it works fast enough to be useful.

Mac OS X 10.2.3 speeds performance of VPC

December 28, 2002
Vince Dolan

Yesterday I installed version 6 under 10.2.2 and it seemed quite a bit faster, snappy window drawing, program launching and menu responsiveness. This morning I just installed 10.2.3 and can say that it's now down right perky. Programs launch with little or no lag and Windows redraw instantly. (iBook 700 MHz 640 Mb running Win 2000 Pro 128 Mb)

December 28, 2002
Paul Cohen

I have a PB G4 1 GHz, recently purchased, running 10.2.3. I use VPC with Win 2000 for my office network. I just upgraded VPC 5 to 6. I can say that VPC 6 definitely boosts windows speed. I upgraded from Mac OS 10.2.2 with VPC 5, to Mac 10.2.3 and VPC 6. I did not test each separately.

VPC now starts up and shuts down quicker, and applications start up faster than ever. Win 2000 now runs faster on my machine, than on many of my office drones. I am VERY satisfied with this speed boost . I have experienced no crashes (Win or Mac) since installing each.

VPC 6 on older Macs

Several readers have reported useing Virtual PC 6 on Macs slower than the Connectix recommended minimum for Mac OS X (500 MHz).

January 24, 2003
Bob Brunk thought there was a speed improvement:

I have a 400 MHz Power Mac G4, 384 megs of RAM. For me, Windows 2000 ran unusably slow in VPC 5, but will actually run okay in VPC 6. Windows XP is okay, but definitely a resource hog. The IE browser runs well when I have no other apps running on my computer. Windows 98 moves pretty good, but always has, even in VPC 5.

Overall though, I noticed significant increase in speed in VPC 6. A big improvement as far as I'm concerned.

January 24, 2003
Peter Lindsay has an even older Mac (a Blue and White) right at 500 MHz, but found the speed increase to be marginal:

I am running VPC 6.0.1 on a Blue and White G3 upgraded to a 500 G4 with 1 GB of RAM. The performance of VPC 5 was just acceptable under OS 9 with Windows 98SE and unacceptable with Windows 2000 PRO. It was unusable under OS X 10.2.3

The upgrade to VPC 6.0.1 has made a marginal difference under OS X. I use VPC primarily to check web code in Internet Explorer on Windows and to access my companies VPN from home. The VPN is painfully slow, even with my DSL connection. This certainly has not improved from VPC 5 to 6.

For me, the single advantage of VPC is that I can run multiple copies of Windows with different versions of IE on each. There is no substitute for this function other than owning several PCs. Something that I am not inclined to do.

VPC problem with WinMX

This is a problem now listed on our VPC Conflicts page. It seems to occur specifically with Windows 98.

January 24, 2003
BC Kelly is using VPC 6 on a Power Mac Cube, mostly using an Internet file sharing program called WinMX. Performance is better, but he has one problem:

VPC 6 with Win 98 seems okay on my 450 MHz Cube. I have Mac OS X 10.2.3 with Gforce 32 meg video and 1 gig of RAM. Cranked the VPC memory to 512 meg, which appears to be the application's "max".

About all I use VPC for is to run WinMX, which seems fine, if not as good or even a little better, least compared to what it was in OS 9 (forget any comparison to OS X and VPC 5). Otherwise have nothing else to compare it to, so don't know what I may be missing. Oh yes, WMP video is still slow and choppy in VPC 6, even with 'networking' turned off. Had run fine in VPC 5 on OS 9, but seems to have a long ways to go to be "right" in OS X ( and again, forget it when using OS X with VPC 5, ugly). Also, use a Shared Folder to move the downloaded files from Win 98 over to a Mac Partition -- THAT part, the x-fer, is much smoother and faster now.

Have had one nagging problem which can't solve. Either Win 98 and /or WinMX freezes up after a period of time... What I'm doing is setting up WinMX to run on automatic, and then go to bed, work, whatever. Sometimes it'll run fine for 24 hrs or so, other times 12 hrs. I don't think it's made it much past 24 though. With OS 9 and VPC 5, it'd go for days and days without any hiccups.

May 7, 2003
Jørgen Tietze

I've had the same problem with Windows 98 and WinMX, but when I installed Windows XP or Windows 2000 there has been no problems (yet ;o) ). VPC6 running on a 1 GHz iMac.

May 20, 2003
Martí Blesa Millan

I had the same problem, running Win 98 SE on VPC and WinMX on my PowerBook 800. If I leave it running for a long period of time, the PowerBook crashes. If I force quite VPC, the only way to close it, then a lot of text appears over Finder, the same as if I were running the terminal whole screen under Finder.

Then I have to reboot, sometimes several times, until everything goes back to normal. The first time I reboot it might take 15 minutes or more to start up.

VPC 6.0 fixes problem with DAVE

December 28, 2002
Will Sokol reports that Virtual PC 6 eliminates a networking conflict with DAVE:

One point the Connectix did not emphasize that probably should be is VPC 6 now uses NAT as the method for sharing IP addresses with the Mac side. This eliminates a networking limitation that conflicted with DAVE due to NetBIOS limitations.

Certainly made the upgrade worth it for me. Now I can have DAVE and VPC running at the same time.

Virtual PC 6 conflict with Turbo Tax for Windows

Virtual PC 6.0 had a known problem that prevented users from installing or running TurboTax for Windows. VPC 6.0.1 corrected this problem.

January 22, 2003 -- Daniel Dobbert reports a problem printing TurboTax for Windows with Virtual PC 6. His solution:

I can run TurboTax Windows 2002 on VPC 6. Problem is printing which is solved by using print to PDF file and then print that file.

VPC 6 and Garmin GPS handhelds

Server readers report that the Garmin GPS device with the Garmin Windows software works in Virtual PC if the device has a serial port, which plugs into a serial-USB converter. However, native USB Garmin devices have problem. One reader below found that booting from Mac OS 9 to install the software resolved the problem.

Related Garmin with VPC is Microsoft Knowledge Base article 824637 Garmin USB Data Card Programmer Does Not Work Correctly on a Virtual Machine.

January 24, 2003
Christopher Duckworth reports that he can use Virtual PC 6 to connect to a Garmin GPS handheld device, which works only with Windows. His device had a serial port, which he connected with a USB adapter:

I am using a dual 1 GHz G4 running 10.2.3 and VP 6.0.1 with Windows XP. I have a Garmin GPSMap 76S, and, as you may know, Garmin does not support Macintosh. I added an Iogear USB-to-serial adapter, with downloaded Iogear software, and everything works fine, including some very long (15+ minutes) downloads to the handheld. I downloaded the Iogear software to the Windows desktop, and plugged in the adapter with Windows running. The New Hardware Wizard came up; I followed the instructions (pointing the Wizard to the Iogear folder manually), and everything worked out fine.


November 24, 2003
Vincent Cogliano says the problem started with

I have 17" PowerBook G4 it came with 10.2.2 or 4 I use MapSource program to link to my Garmin GPS and download and upload maps it worked fine until I have been updating OS X 10.2.8 now USB keeps unselecting, seems everyone is having the same problem, I put OS X 10.2.2 on another disk and original VPC 6, tried every thing and it worked fine, but I also have an Earthmate GPS from Delorme and that still won't work. This is new and never did get this to work, so I hope some updates from Apple or Microsoft comes soon. I think Apple did something with not releasing it to VPC.

September 24, 2004
Paul Ronney

I have a new Garmin eTrex Vista C (the color version) with the USB (not serial) connection. (No USB-to-serial adapter is needed). I could not get it to communicate with Virtual PC 6 / Mac OS X / Windows 2000 after many, many, many attempts. HOWEVER, I did get it to communicate with Virtual PC 4 / Mac OS 9.2 / Windows 1998 SE.

Even with exactly the same Windows 98 drive image, it wouldn't work under Virtual PC 5 or 6 running under Mac OS X. So we are talking about an OLD version of Virtual PC, and OLD version of the Mac OS. Now this is real progress!

I don't know if Windows 2000 will communicate with the eTrex under Virtual PC 4 / Mac OS 9.2 setup, I haven't tried that yet...

I had VPC 6 / Windows 2000 running for a long time on my old Garmin serial GPS with the Keyspan serial to USB converter and it worked fine except on very long file transfers (many megabytes of map data). But USB GPS devices seem to be a lot harder to interface.

One solution to the native USB Garmin problem: boot from Mac OS 9

Note that only Macs built before early 2003 and three can boot into Mac OS 9. More recent Macs can only boot into Mac OS X.

September 27, 2004
Paul Ronney found a fix for the problem of running USB Garmin GPS devices with VPC: boot from Mac OS 9 to install the software in VPC:

The trick is to restart your computer under OS 9. Even VPC 6 installed for OS X runs in Mac OS 9, so there is no problem, but trying to launch the Classic application as a window under OS X doesn't work; you just get a message that you have to restart your computer under OS 9.

Once you start MapSource in VPC running in OS 9, you may have to unplug and re-plug in your USB cable once or twice, but then it gets recognized and works with no problems whatsoever.

Using this method, the Garmin Vista C with the built-in USB will work with any version of VPC that I've tried (4, 5 or 6 including 6.1), and Windows 98 SE and 2000 Professional, the only versions I've tried so far. Bottom line: the problem is OS X, not the version of VPC or Windows.

March 25, 2005
Stuart Cheshire

I just bought a Garmin GPSMAP 76CS.

1. Serial connections with any Keyspan USB-to-serial device (I have several) all fail after 1-2MB. Not good for a device with 115 MB of storage!

2. The tiny IOGEAR GUC 232A USB-to-serial adapter, run as a native Windows USB device using its Windows driver within Virtual PC 6.1.1, worked first time.

3. However, transferring 115 MB of map data using serial takes *hours*. Next step, native USB. I tried many times, but like your other readers, I could not get this to work. Following the advice on you Web page I booted into OS 9.2.2 and ran VPC 6.1.1 there instead and... it worked perfectly first time. A 100 MB map transfer that would have taken overnight using serial, completed in just ten minutes! Thanks. Without your Web site, it would have never occurred to me to try OS 9.

Crashing and freezing with Windows 98; suggestion for improving performance

February 19, 2003
G. Feil

My VPC 6.0.1 crashes running Windows 98 SE after a few hours, no matter what. This is on Mac OS X 10.2.3, iMac 333 MHz. I believe I've also had crashes under OS 9 also but I hardly ever run VPC there.

In terms of performance, a 333 MHz G3 is definitely underpowered for VPC 6 on OS X, but still usable for many apps. To boost performance I use two utilities you might want to mention to your readers:

1) ProcessWizard on the OS X side to boost the Unix "nice" level of VPC to the max.

2) PrcView on the Win 98 side to boost the priority of the Windows app, in my case KaZaA.

These two things make a difference of up to a factor of two in download speeds. PrcView can cause problems though because a high-priority app can starve Windows Explorer, etc., out of almost all CPU time, so bumping several Win 98 processes is sometimes needed--including PrcView itself so you can get back in!

February 19, 2003
Michael Bennett:

Since I changed from VPC 5 to VPC 6.01 on my dual 1 MHz G4, 512M, running OS X 10.2.3, I've had Windows 98 crashes occurring once/week.

February 20, 2003
David Bivans

We use VPC 6 on 5 G4s, all with Win 98 to generate tax returns and other Win software. Since upgrading to VPC 6 about 50 percent of the time upon shutdown of the win 98, the whole G4 freezes!

February 26, 2003
Dorian Mattar reports that Windows 98 in Virtual PC 6 crashes Mac OS X:

I am running, OS X 10.2.3. My dual 1 GHz Power Mac G4 crashes even on wake up if VPC is running with Windows 98.

I called Apple and asked them to explain how an OS with "Protected Memory" can be brought down by Virtual PC. They did not have an answer other than saying that VPC 6 might not be compatible.

Is QuickTime the culprit?

February 24, 2003
Gilles Combe says he has found the culprit behind the problem of Windows 98 freezing or crashing in Virtual PC 6:

I had the same problems, and I solved it by uninstalling QuickTime! In fact, when I launched any component of QuickTime, Windows froze. After I uninstalled it, everything was fine.

If you're seeing crashing with VPC 6 and Windows 98 and have tired this, please let us know.

February 24, 2003
Gilles Combe

I had to remove QuickTime from Windows 98 with Mac OS X, using a new disk mount feature in VPC 6. I didn't succeed in removing QuickTime inside Windows because it froze each time. So I stopped the Virtual PC, double-clicked on the disk image, and it appeared on my desktop. I searched for every trace of QuickTime (3 folders, some files whose name began with QuickTime and some "qt" files (those who seemed to be from Apple). The most important files are the ones that launch at the start (in the task bar). I also removed the uninstaller from WISE, which didn't worked.

Then I restarted. And everything went fine!

The question that I ask myself is why QuickTime is in fault here. It did work in the past (in VPC 5).

In fact, I also removed Win Media Player, which uninstalled quickly and fine.

Reader says 10.2.8 fixed a VPC 5 crashing problem

October 27, 2003 --Steve Maratea reports having a problem with Virtual PC 5 crashing with Mac OS X 10.2.6. He says Mac OS X 10.2.8 fixed the problem:

Being a regular reader, I have not seen any comments regarding the compatibility of VPC 5.0.4 with OS 10.2.8. Like many other readers, I had the crash issue with VPC and 10.2.6. I have recently performed a clean install of 10.2.8 (on a QuickSilver Dual 1 GHz with 1.5 GB RAM) and then installed VPC 5.0.4. I've been using VPC regularly for over 2 weeks now (no OS X reboots required, as usual) with no crashes. In my case, the most recent Apple update solved the 10.2.6 kernel panic / crash issue when quitting VPC.

Using Virtual PC and ActiveSync for Pocket PC

February 21, 2003 -- Bruce Miller sent us an analysis of using the Windows program ActiveSync on Virtual PC for Mac to sync the handheld devices with Macs. He also makes come comparisons to PocketMac 2.0, a Mac OS X-native application for syncing to Pocket PCs.

With the dramatic fall in Pocket PC prices recently, that platform's features are becoming more attractive to Mac users, yet the specter of syncing and installing Windows-only software using the Mac platform makes only for the brave (or foolish) to venture into. Activesync already has a reputation, justly earned, as one of Window's crankiest applications, frustrating even veterans of the platform.

PocketMac shareware and soon-to-be released MissingSync for Pocket PC provide some integration of the Pocket PC for Mac, yet only a full Windows OS environment offers all the features of the wide array of software applications for the Pocket PC, including MP3 players, MPEG video and WMP movies, WiFi net access and other goodies the Palm platform yet features in mature offerings.

The obvious answer seems to be to use Virtual PC to run Activesync and Outlook natively in a Windows OS environment, yet getting useable or consistent USB connections to trigger the Activesync process can be elusive at best.

I have found, through trial and error, a process for getting VPC and Activesync to be totally reliable, allowing for daily Activesyncing and installation of a very large number of applications on my iPaq 3955 that matches what any native Windows user could achieve.

It is extremely simple, and is based on compensating for VPC's inherent slowness and what often appears to be frozen and unresponsive/failed actions. The key is to use several freeware utilities to monitor and display what is actually occurring in the background, following a very specific sequence of USB plugging/unplugging to "trigger" VPC's Window's OS to respond and activate Activesync and how to prepare the saved state to see the USB connection consistently.

Details and discussion are in Connectix' forum.

February 26, 2003
Roger Baerwolf

I have version 2.0 of Pocket Mac, as do a lot of other people you can find in the newsgroups on the PocketMac web site. I have not been able to get it to work satisfactorily. While I can sync, it is extremely slow and duplicates entries every time you sync.

ActiveSync [under Virtual PC] is not really a possibility since my company uses Entourage.

If you have an opinion on PocketMac vs. Virtual PC, we'd like to hear it.

VPC 6.0 Virtual Switch conflicts with AirPort Extreme

March 6, 2003
Raj Shah describes a problem with Virtual PC 6.0 and Apple's new AirPort Extreme wireless cards, which have been reported at the Connectix forums. Shah reports:

Connectix VPC 6.0 has a problem with the new AirPort Extreme cards. As you're aware, there are two network emulation modes for VPC - Shared Networking where the Windows instance essentially uses NAT and the Mac's Network connection, and Virtual Switch where the Windows instance is capable of contacting a DHCP server and getting an IP address.

Under VPC 6.0 with an Airport Extreme card installed, there is no way to configure Virtual Switch. VPC does not believe there is a valid Ethernet device installed on the machine. My 12" PowerBook has both built in Ethernet and an Airport Extreme, along side a Bluetooth device and a modem, and no device is configurable.

This doesn't mean you can't get network from the machine - Shared Networking still works, but there are performance implications. Connectix is aware of the problem, but has no ETA on a fix.

Font problems with Virtual PC 6

March 6, 2003
Mark Hoffmann reports a problem with displaying fonts in Windows 2000 on Virtual PC 6:

The following is a description of strange behavior noticed since installing VPC 6 on Jaguar, v 10.2.4. I used to run Win 2000 Pro with zero problems on VPC 5, which I later upgraded to VPC 6 (6.0.1). Emulation does indeed run much faster and overall the program seems to hog less processor time that VPC 5, so I'm a satisfied customer. BUT certain Windows fonts have mysteriously stopped appearing ever since upgrading to VPC 6. They come up blank in font lists (i.e. no character data, hence no font, even though the font file is there and is not empty), as if the Windows TrueType rasterizer couldn't make sense of the data. I have downloaded some of these fonts again (they are all standard MS fonts).

This does not cause any crashes, just garbles email messages and documents that use the affected fonts. A notable example is the American Airlines Timetable software, in which the flight lists are now invisible given that the font it uses is affected by this malady.

If you've seen this problem, please let us know .

TIP: Setting Up VPC with broadband ADSL

March 20, 2003 -- A reader who identified himself as Shooter sent this tip for getting Virtual PC to work with a broadband Internet connection.

After a desperate struggle with VPC when it didn't automatically detect my broadband, I found an answer. (I use Blueyonder from Telewest, but this will work for all ADSL connections too). Here is a step-by-step tutorial of how to configure it properly:

First, make sure VPC preferences are set to "Shared Networking" and "enable networking" is ticked. Now configure the Windows version you have to the following. I'm using Win 98 SE.

  1. Open Control Panels.
  2. Network
  3. TCP/IP PCI Ethernet DEC 21041 Based Adapter
  4. Properties
  5. IP Address (Obtain an IP address automatically should be ON)
  6. WINS Configuration (Use DHCP for WINS Resolution should be ON)
  7. Gateway (leave blank)
  8. Advanced (leave blank)
  9. NetBIOS (is de-highlighted on mine although 'I want to enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP' is still checked.)
  10. Bindings (Client for Microsoft Networks is ON)
  11. DNS Configuration (Disable DNS is ON)
  12. Apply and OK everything till all windows are gone, and you should be prompted by Windows or VPC to restart, then launch Internet Explorer when the desktop shows again after restart and test your connection by typing a simple web address such as and should should be up and running!

I'm using VPC 5 and 6 and it works on 4 too. Mac OS 9.22 and OSX 10.1.5. Hope this works for you as it did me. Send me a thank you if it did!

Suggestion for better VPC performance

February 24, 2003 --PC Magazine calls enditall2 "A true killer app" because is kills unnecessary processes running in Windows. (The free utility was written by PC Magazine Contributing Technical Editor Neil Rubenking. So what? Georg Feil suggests using it on Virtual PC for Mac to improve performance of the emulator. If you've tried this, please let us know what you think.

Turning off Windows virtual memory can make Windows run faster in VPC.

Our Virtual PC 5 Reports page notes that turning virtual memory off in Windows running Virtual PC speeds up performance. Previously, all of our reports where with Windows 98 and Virtual PC 5. However, we've now had reaports about Virtual PC 6, and other versions of Windows.

July 2, 2003
Peter Lindsay tried it with Windows 98 in Virtual PC 6.0.1, and found performance faster. He said " the difference is quite noticeable."

I am running VPC 6.0.1, Windows 98 - on a 550/G4 with OS X 10.2.6 and I tried turning off virtual memory in VPC to see if there was a difference. I assigned W98 320 MB of RAM (1 GB installed on the G4) and the difference is quite noticeable. W98 certainly starts up faster and feels a little more responsive overall. I wouldn't say that the difference is dramatic but certainly it is enough for me to leave virtual memory off. Now if I could only do this with W2000 Pro...

July 2, 2003
David Lawhon tried it with Windows XP running in Virtual PC 6.0.1. He found that Windows XP would boot 10 percent faster when virtual memory was turned off.

About running Virtual PC with Windows virtual memory off: I did a test under Virtual PC 6.0.1 with Windows XP Professional running under Mac OS X 10.2.6 (with all publicly-released Apple updates installed):

Test 1:

  • 384K allocated to VPC, with 16 MB video setting
  • In Windows, virtual memory is set at 384K minimum, 768K maximum
  • Started with Windows "off"--not a reboot
  • Time to a particular item appearing in the tray at startup: 7 minutes and 53 seconds

Test 2:

  • 384K allocated to VPC with 16 MB video setting
  • In Windows, virtual memory is off
  • Started with Windows "off"--not a reboot
  • Time to a particular item appearing in the tray at startup: 7 minutes and 10 seconds

So, in my test, turning Windows virtual memory off resulted in a 10 percent faster startup time.

Since these two tests are disk-intensive, it could be that there would be a greater increase in speed when using applications than in startup.

The lengthy startup time in both cases is partly due to Norton Systemworks 2003 installed for Win XP (that takes a long time to load) and the fact that all optional Windows XP components are installed.

There is a downside, of course--Turning off Windows virtual memory means that it has access to less memory than before and might give error messages as a result.

Here's a brief system config: PowerMac G4/733 (Digital Audio), ATI Radeon 8500 64 MB video card, 1 GB RAM, Classic installed but not running, no other OS X applications running at time of test (although background processes are running).

July 2, 2003
Paul Charlesworth tried it with Windows 2000 in Virtual PC 6, but found that "There appears to be little difference between Windows VM on or off when running Win 2000."

I thought I would send you some tests I ran with VPC 6. On the whole, I am really quite happy with the performance of VPC 6 on my 800 MHz G4 PowerBook. It is even acceptable on my 466 MHz G4 Tower. Both are running OS X 10.2.6 with 1 GB RAM. The version of Windows I am running is 2000. I have tried 98 SE and XP on the machine and 2000 is by far the most snappy of the operating systems. I highly recommend it to your readers.

Anyway, I was reading about the virtual memory and thought I would try it. Turning off VM in 2000 causes it get a little upset at restart because it complains that the file in missing. I ran a couple of PCPitstop tests with the following configurations:

1. Mac OS X - Windows 2000 Virtual Memory OFF

  • Raw Speed 815
  • Raw Video 1073
  • Raw Memory 1392
  • Disk-Small Files 154
  • Disk-Large Files 1.4

2. Mac OS X - Windows 2000 Virtual Memory ON

  • Raw Speed 1012
  • Raw Video 1060
  • Disk-Small Files 151
  • Disk-Large Files 1.7

3. Mac OS 9 - Windows 2000 Virtual Memory ON

  • Raw Speed 1070
  • Raw Video 1370
  • Disk-Small Files 170
  • Disk-Large Files 3.8

There appears to be little difference between Windows VM on or off when running Win 2000. It is clear that Mac OS 9 holds an edge over Mac OS X, but that is to be expected because of the multitasking slowing things down a little. If you go to PC PitStop ( the units and so on are all there. The CPU speed registers at around 540-560MHz.

July 2, 2003
David Toub

Did NOT work for me in Virtual PC 6. In fact, none of the applications would open in Windows 98!

TIP: Discontinuous selection in Windows

July 8, 2003
Stephen Keese sent us this tip for using a mouse to select multiple, nonconsecutive items in Virtual PC:

I ran into another problem with VPC 6: I could not do discontinuous selection from a list. I could select contiguous items using Shift-Click, but CTRL-Click or Command-Click would not work.

Again, nothing in the Help file or in the Connectix knowledge base mentioned the issue or solution. I called Tech Support again and found the answer.

As shipped, the CTRL-Click combination is assigned to the Windows mouse right click. It is necessary to change this in the VPC Settings: Mouse. I chose Shift-Click to be the equivalent of the right mouse click. I now can select discontinuous items from a list.

July 10, 2003
Dave Heap

I'm no longer a current VPC user, but I remember this problem. The problem with the suggested solution is that it disables contiguous items selection.

A little known feature of Windows is that Shift-F10 is a built-in keystroke equivalent to a right mouse click.

I can't remember exactly how I implemented the fix, but I think the procedure was to disable VPC's attempt emulate a right mouse click and then either program your mouse software to send Shift-F10 to VPC on a right click, or use Shift-F10 directly if you have a single button mouse.

The only issue is that if you use Shift-F10 the Windows Contextual Menu sometimes pops up in a strange position on the desktop (usually if you don't have a specific item selected - e.g. trying to call up Desktop Properties - it ignores the cursor position), but this is a Windows issue, not a VPC issue. If VPC allows you to program a keystroke combination such as Shift-F10 to a right click, this issue would be avoided. But I can't remember whether VPC allows you to do this (rather than just mouse click modifiers) .

Using Shift-F10 means you don't sacrifice any Windows functionality, as happens if you 'steal' one of the other modifiers.

July 22, 2003
Alain Toutant

There is no need to reconfigure the Ctrl-click or use shift-F10. The Option key is used to change back the control-click into a left-button-control-click. Same goes for shift-control.









This has worked since as long as I can remember (VPC6, VPC5, VPC4).

TIP: Virtual PC can cause "Firewall not available" on Jaguar

July 31, 2003 -- An anonymous reader sent in this report about Virtual PC's affect on the built-in firewall in Mac OS X 10.2:

Virtual PC can cause a "Firewall not available" message on Jaguar. I've run across the message: "Other firewall software is running on your computer" and "Firewall is not available" in conjunction with grayed out firewall settings several times over the last months, although in between everything appeared normal and I could edit my firewall settings and that without me running any firewall software I was aware of.

Turns out the culprit was Virtual PC (6.0, Win2K, shared networking); once I quit VPC (and restarted the System Preferences) I could edit my firewall settings, restarting VPC (and SP) the settings were grayed out again. A post on a newsgroup found by Google where the same behavior was described with W98 (though not with W95, both with shared networking) had pointed me to this solution. Apparently other software like CarraFix exhibit the same behavior.

VPC problems with USB in Mac OS X. September 8, 2003 -- Paul Keeble reports a problem with Virtual PC 6 and USB that only occurs with Mac OS X:

My daughter has a PC-only USB Agfa Digital Camera that we use VPC to download photos from. Try as I might I could not get VPC6 in X to recognise that camera. I got a detailed 'how to' from Connectix involving reinstalling VPC and Win 98 and a very precise order of installing the camera software and plugging it in... which didn't work (interestingly when I emailed back and told them so, the response was more or less: "Er, we know..."). In the end I booted up in OS 9, ran VPC from there and the camera worked fine first time... and faster. So I'm back to booting into OS 9... There is an issue with VPC6 and OS X's implementation of USB - admitted by Connectix Tech Support.

When Microsoft took over Virtual PC and released 6.1 I hoped at least the USB issue would be addressed, but it hasn't. Anyone had a similar experience, or, better still, found a way to fix it?

September 15, 2003 --
Troy May relates

Just saw the VPC article regarding USB devices. I have one friend whose bank requires that he use a USB smartcard reader. We've tried configuring this thing over and over again in VPC 6.1 (Windows 98) but it simply fails to stay selected in the VPC settings panel and is not visible to Win 98.

We set the smartcard reader up on a PC no problems at all as we thought it might have been a driver thing.

He was a very recent switcher from PC to Mac, bought a 15 inch PowerBook 800. Now he's forced to switch back in less than a week as he absolutely must be able to connect to his Citibank account to conduct business.

September 24, 2003
Jeff Franklin

I too have experienced the non-USB functionality of VPC 6. The ONLY thing I use VPC for is running a tiny little DOS app that brings edit lists into my Quantel Edit Box (a somewhat bizarre online editing system made in England and completely proprietary-hardware, OS and software all made by Quantel).

This DOS app connects the iMac to the Edit Box via RS-232. I use a Belkin RS-232 to USB converter and then USB into the iMac running OS X and VPC 5 or 6. I have both because 6 won't make the USB connection, 5 will. VPC 6 seems to know there is a USB device there, I can select it and it does seem to stay selected. However, the USB activity light never blinks when Windows launches. Of course 5 runs a slow as a turtle, but it does work. I was thinking about updating to 6.1 but if as I have read here it does not fix USB then I guess I'll keep using 5. The company did pay for 6, too bad it is useless to us.

Of course I had none of these problems when I was using VPC 3 on OS 9...


September 11, 2003
A reader who didn't give his name offered this suggestion:

Without knowing details, I'm betting the problem he's running into is that the device in question will appear in the USB settings panel, but the moment he closes it to make use of the device within Windows, the device 'unselects'.

I've seen this behavior with a number of devices and it seems to have started somewhere in the Mac OS X 10.2.3 timeframe. Microsoft should fix this, but my guess is that this is actually a result of an Apple bug. Reverting to earlier versions of OS X, or back to classic certainly helps.

PC only digital camera? I didn't know there was such a thing.

September 11, 2003
Richard Siegel mentions another PC only USB device that doesn't work in Virtual PC:

We use Sony Digital Voice Recorders with Memory Stick media, software for which is only available for Windows. Their software works fine in VPC 6.1 and Windows XP: Pro, but when the recorder is connected to the Mac, Windows fails to recognize that "new hardware" has been attached. The device mounts fine on the Mac desktop, but that's it. After spending an hour with MS support, the MS guys concluded that VPC 6.1 just doesn't offer very much USB support.

September 26, 2003
Sebastian Soyka

I haven't seen this mentioned yet, but VPC will only allow access to 1 USB device at a time. Make sure to deselect any other active USB device before a new one is selected.

Also, try playing with two of the options in the Scripts Menu (hidden by default, made visible by means of "Settings" option). Enabling Compatibility Mode is one possible solution. (I haven't tried it yet as I found no need to do so). Or, try changing Networking type (remember default setting, you'll get a warning that your system may go haywire if you change this). "Share Sockets" setting finally let me connect to the Internet from Windows through VPC on my Mac.

November 21, 2003
Saverio Paleni
Trento, Italy

I have seen the same problem on a client's G4. He wanted to access his bank account via an USB Gemplus Card Reader under VPC 6.1+MacOS X 10.2.6; VPC detects the reader, Windows 98 does not notice it, Add New Hardware adds nothing...

Restarting in MacOS 9.2.2 made everything working as expected. Not a perfect solution but something usable while waiting for an upgrade. Looks like the problem is MacOS X, rather than VPC.

If you've seen this problem, please let us know.

USB camera not working with Virtual PC

October 9, 2003
Neal Watzman reports another problem with Virtual PC and USB devices, this time a camera:

I've been trying to use a Logitech QuickCam 4000 webcam with VPC on my Macintosh PowerBook G4/1ghz. This is with Virtual PC 6 with Windows 98 under Mac OSX 10.2.6.

It appears that VPC will recognize the cam as it shows up in the USB Preference setting in Virtual PC. It also seems that Windows 98 recognizes the hardware, as I get the little dialog mentioning that "new hardware has been detected".

That's as far as it goes. I am unable to get the Logitech software to recognize that the camera is even there. Nor does any other software appear to work with the camera under Virtual PC.

I've verified that the camera works fine both on the Macintosh as well as on a regular PC.

June 10, 2004
Dave reports

I cannot get my Logitech QuickCam 4000 webcam to work with VPC 6.1. Have you figured out a way to get it to work? It works fine on my Mac and it recognized by VPC, but none of the Logitech software recognizes it.

If you've had experience with Virtual PC and a Logitech USB camera, please let us know.

VPC Incompatible with Polar Heart Rate monitor

November 24, 2003

I use a Polar Heart Rate monitor that connects to a PC with a USB device to download and upload data. I've tried everything I can think of to get it to connect to VPC and no luck. The VPC USB settings dialog will momentarily recognized it, then not, sometimes crash, etc. I've even tried to manually install it, nope nothing works.

I found further information on Polar's website that it won't work on VPC. According to them, it's not just a simple USB device.

Jaguar problem with sound

November 21, 2003 -- Another pair of readers reported problems with Virtual PC and Jaguar. Joubex Billiard is having problems with sound:

Virtual PC is very slow on Mac OS X 10.2.6, but my first problem is that I use it with Win 98, and with a software to learn English (it is not my mother tongue), and there are problems with the sound. Sometimes it says that the sound can not be initialized, and other times the sound is ugly with cuts every 5 seconds!

I have a PowerBook 12' G4 867 MHz with 684 MB of RAM.

If you've seen this problem, please let us know.

One person running 18 OS's on VPC.

November 21, 2003 -- Rudy Bernstein sent us this link to someone who is running over 18 different operating systems on Virtual PC, including Windows, Linux, Sun Unix, and OS/2.

Issues with Panther (Mac OS X 10.3.X)

VPC on Panther runs just fine for these folks

November 21, 2003
Andrew Montague

I'm using VPC 6.0.1 in Panther. I reinstalled the application after installing Panther and it works great.

November 21, 2003
Euclid Moon

I have Windows XP installed in VPC 6, and when I did the upgrade to Panther, there were no problems to report, but instead there is a subjective increase in performance. On a dual 1.25 G4, XP in VPC runs much better than under 10.2.8. It's actually pleasant to use!

November 21, 2003
Paul Vitello

I have been successfully using VPC 6 (without the dot 1 Microsoft update) on Panther now for a few days.

I had shut down the PC and backed up my PB before I ran the Panther upgrade. Windows booted fine and if anything Windows seems just a bit more responsive than before but definitely not any slower. I use VPC for many apps to survive in a corporate environment. Outlook on

Exchange servers, Net Meeting, Office and Adobe products for testing cross platform compatibility. I was also able to also access the typical servers on the Lan/Wan internally.

I have a Gen 1 17"PB running windows 2000. I allocate 384 ram 16 vid of the 1gig on my pb.

November 21, 2003
Bruno Gaufier's only problem is with digital cameras:

I Installed Panther yesterday, boot my Windows 2000 Pro in VPC 6.0 with no problems. It worked like a charm. I didn't reinstall VPC, but only had to reregister it.

It seems faster. Maybe it's just an illusion because Panther is clean. (That was not the case with Jaguar where I used to have 2 SQL Servers, a proxy, an IDS, apache and many more running in the background.) My Windows 2000 "home folder" (profile) is stored on the Mac and accessed via the network : No problems. USB stills work (Epson printer, scanner and a joystick)

However, Digital cameras don't work. (They also never worked with jaguar).

November 21, 2003
Mike Van Winkle

I'm running VPC 6.0 under Panther and haven't had any problems. QS DP800 w/1.5 gb ram, and PB17/1.33 w/1 gb. If anything, it seems much peppier than it did under Jaguar (10.2.6 and 10.2.7). I did an Archive/Install on both machines and everything still works perfectly.

Under VPC I've run Cool Edit Pro, Delphi, Photoshop, Illustrator, Xara 3D, PCAnywhere, Paintshop Pro, Animation Shop, etc., etc. I'm running Win2K Pro. It runs faster on the PowerBook, for example Cool Edit Pro 2.0 just jerks and sputters on the QuickSilver, but seems rock steady so far on the PowerBook.

Performance slowed down with Panther

We've heard from a lot of people who have seen good performance. These are just a few of the reports. If you've seen your VPC performance in Panther suddenly slow down, please let us know.

November 21, 2003
Ronald Leppke reports that his once-good performance is not not-so-good:

My PowerBook G4 17-inch 1.33 GHz (512 MB RAM) was working beautifully with VPC 6.1 and Windows XP until recently and possibly after the Panther upgrade. Now it is entirely worthless because it is very painfully slow. It typically takes minutes from the click to whatever is next. I have reinstalled XP three times so far and it is getting worse. I have tripled the RAM assigned to XP from what I had when it was fast with no speed gain whatever. I'm running Mac OS 10.3.1.

I tried Windows 2000 but it was no faster. I read someplace on MacWindows that there is a problem with my Airport Extreme card and VPC 6.1. I have given up but would appreciate any help to start trying again.

January 15, 2004
Lee Collier

I have upgraded to Panther and now VPC 6.1 is incredibly slow. It is running on a PowerBook G4/550. It almost seems like it has stopped and just sits there. Right now it is useless.

January 15, 2004
John Dougherty reports a 25 minute startup time:

I just upgraded from VPC 5 to VPC 6.1 on Panther 10.3.2. Windows XP Pro is PAINFULLY slow now. It takes about 25 minutes to just start up. Once in the desktop screen, it's just completely useless. I have to shut the computer down (in emulation, not my Mac) every time, just to get out of VPC. Any suggestions?

January 15, 2004
Brian Owens notes that adding RAM does not fix the problem:

My problem is the same as the one on the VPC 6 Notes web page (Ronald Leppke/ 11-21-03). I'm running VPC on a 17" PowerBook G4, except I have twice the memory (1Gb ram), and even if I give VPC a full 500 Mb RAM it doesn't change anything. I can wait a long time just to be able to signin after clicking my name. Once it's running, sometimes it's slow, sometimes verrrry slow.

I also found that the Virtual switch conflict with airport only happens if my Internet connection is closed when I start VPC. If it's open when it starts I rarely have a problem.

February 4, 2004
Michael Bonnette has some numbers:

I have a CodeWarrior palm OS project that went from approximately 11 minutes back down to 7.5 minutes. It seems like before Panther it was around 6 minutes but I don't have any data to support that number.

February 12, 2004
Robert Abatecola:

I upgraded to Panther and Virtual PC 6.1.1 recently. VPC is completely unusable. It took a Windows 2000 virtual machine over 2 hours to boot. Even Linux under VPC is too slow to be useful.

Fixes for slowdown: Security Update?

Several readers report that a recent Apple security update improves Virtual PC performance. However, one reader reported that a later security update made things worse.

January 28, 2004
John Dougherty reports that the recent Apple Security Update to Mac OS X 10.3 solved his problem with slow Virtual PC performance in Panther:

I upgraded my three computers with the security update and Airport update yesterday, and amazingly, the slowdowns with VPC 6.1 have vanished. I don't know which update was responsible, but all is well now. Recap- iMac 20", TiBook 667, G4 Cube 450, all with OS X Panther 10.3.2. Only the Cube worked before, but I hadn't updated to 10.3.2 on the Cube until today (I thought that may have been the culprit).

February 4, 2004
Dave Leary

Yes, I tried VPC again after the Apple Security Update and it is faster. Actually I should say it is less slow. No one is going to mistake this for even the slowest PC on the planet, but it may be usable again.

February 6, 2004
Paul daS had the opposite experience:

I installed the Security Update for 10.3 and noticed my VPC 6.0 performance decreased markedly.

After reading this thread and thinking that they may go hand in hand, I upgraded VPC to 6.1 and the performance deteriorated further. I'd like to roll both back. VPC 6.1 is now unusable for me. I'm a newbie (Dec) and would appreciate any help/directions or basic kicks in the head to set me straight.

Norton Antivirus: Another possible cause for slowdown in Panther

Most readers agree that disabling Norton Antivirus auto-protect fixes this problems.

January 22, 2004
Patrick Hoyer found that removing Norton Antivirus solved his Virtual PC slow-down problem:

I had the problem with Virtual PC 6.1 being so slow it was unusable. The slow down problem was not caused by Virtual PC, it was cause by Norton Anti-virus and it checking for Verisign certificates. This problem is discussed on the Symantec web site. I uninstalled Norton Anti-virus and the slowness disappeared. This problem is not just a Norton problem so I would check whatever antivirus software that installed to see if they also had the problem.

February 12, 2004

I saw a significant slowdown with Virtual PC after upgrading to Panther. I corrected the problem by turning Norton Antivirus' Auto-Protect to OFF. You can find the setting in System Preferences, at the top of the Norton Auto-Protect panel.

To see the problem, run the Activity Monitor (in Utilities) and select Show Activity Monitor in the Monitor menu. In the upper right corner pulldown menu, select show All Processes, then click on the "%CPU" title in the list, to sort the most CPU-intensive processes to the top. I noticed that for most Virtual PC activities, including startup from a saved state and running various Windows programs, Norton Antivirus would kick in and consume half the CPU. That is what made Virtual PC unacceptably slow.

Since disabling Norton Antivirus auto-protect, Virtual PC performance has returned to pre-Panther (excellent) levels.

I am running Mac OS 10.3.2, Windows 2000 (self-installed) on Virtual PC 6.0, and Norton Antivirus 9.0.1 on a 1 GHz Ti PowerBook.

February 16, 2004
Russell Fishman agrees that turning off Norton AntiVirus AutoProtect helps VPC and other Mac apps:

With reference to your article on, I think your anonymous reader is having similar issues to me... I'm running Norton AntiVirus 9.01 and Personal Firewall 3.02 against Mac OS X 10.3.2, and I was shocked to find that the AutoProtect process was using almost 40 percent of my 1.25 Ghz PowerBook G4's processor! I had thought that my Mac had been somewhat sluggish lately. Turning the AutoProtect feature off has restored my G4 to it's former glory. I guess there's a bug in there. I've submitted a case to Symantec, so let's see what they do to resolve the issue.

February 16, 2004
Mark Einreinhof is not running Panther, but noticed something odd about Norton Antivirus:

Regarding the slow down with Norton Auto-protect : I noticed this using the "top" command in a shell window in Terminal. Real Time Protect was jumping between 65-to-95 percent CPU usage on my 17" PowerBook running Jaguar. I also noticed that turning off the Real Time Protect brought the CPU usage back down to normal. I decided to leave my laptop on over night and see if this Real Time Protect needed to run its course. Sure enough, the next day, CPU usage was normal and my laptop has been fine ever since then.

February 16, 2004
Ronald Atkinson notes that NAV in Windows (as opposed to in OS X) has no effect:

I've followed this thread for a while since I have the exact same problem. I have some Windows 2000 disk images, both with and without the corporate version of Norton Antivirus, and disabling it has no affect for me.

Granted the corporate version is different than the consumer version, but my disk images without it still ran very slow. Just today I took an image and installed antivirus on it, and there was no difference other than the normal changes that occur when antivirus software is running.

The change is so minor that it's barely noticeable. Disabling it may help some people, however it makes no difference for me, plus my images without any antivirus as slow.

A recent update to Panther did help as some have reported, however it's still not as fast as it was with Jaguar.

I have a 15-inch aluminum 1.25 GHz PowerBook G4 (the latest that's out I believe) and my VPC images in both Windows 2000 Professional and FreeBSD 5.2 with 196 MB or RAM all report a 299 MHz CPU. I have an old 300 MHz Dell laptop laying around with 96 MB of RAM and it's significantly faster than my Virtual PC images are.

May 18, 2004
Ryan McLean

It was great to read the posts about slow running VPC. It took about 2-3 hours just to boot Windows 2k on my 12" 1 GHz PowerBook. Turning off the Norton Autoscan and rebooting fixed the problem.

If you've been experiencing the Virtual PC slowdown with Panther, please let us know if turning off Norton Antivirus Auto-Protect helps your situation.

Other fixes to Panther slowdown problems

January 28, 2004
Kevin Montgomery stopped running a piece of software:

I too found Virtual PC 6.1 to be unbelievably slow! For me, the problem turned out to be an installation of Henwen I was running to monitor my Internet activity for anything nasty. Once I stopped running Henwen, Virtual PC's speed picked up immediately.

February 16, 2004
Eric Schweitzer saw Safari as the the problem:

I've also seen a dramatic slow down in Virtual PC 5.0.5 using 10.3.2. I did find the problem is cured by a restart (not just logging out). After much troubleshooting, I determined that Safari seems to be causing the problem.

If you start with a clean system, VPC runs fine. If you run Safari, the system is somehow "poisoned" and VPC slows to a crawl. (Two hours to start Windows is about what I'm seeing as well.) Quitting Safari has no effect, the system must be restarted.

I thought the problem was with VPC 5 and ordered the upgrade to version 6. It looks like VPC 6 has the same issue.

I'm not running Norton or any other virus protection software on this system.

May 11, 2004
Geoff Williams has a workaround that is interesting in that it defines a symptom to look for:

I'm running 10.3 panther and have VPC 5.0.4. This can run at a crawl or at a good speed. What I found made the difference is the CPU usage of 'kernel-tas' especially whilst VPC is starting up.

You can monitor this in Terminal with the command: top -o cpu

If you see that the CPU usage for "kernel_tas" exceeds that of "Virtual PC," save the PC, quit VPC, and restart the Mac and VPC. All will be OK.

Having to restart is a is a bit of a nuisance, though. You can do a save whilst it is loading a program or whatever and it just restarts where it left off.

May 28, 2004
Hans Derycke recommends shutting off VPC's Mac integration features:

I had the same issue with VPC under Panther as reported on the MacWindows Virtual PC 6 page, and I solved it by switching off some of the OSX-VPC integration. Here's how:
  1. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel.
  2. Open Administrative Tools
  3. Open Services
  4. Double-click the Virtual PC Services Application. Change the Startup type to Manual. Hit OK, and restart Windows.

    I haven't found much of a downside to switching this off. It disables the shared clipboard, so that for me, Windows and OS X now have separate clipboards. That means that in Windows, Control-X, C, and V work with the Windows clipboard. However, I can still use Cmd-X,C, and V to copy from OS X to Windows (not the other way, though).

    The other thing is that I can't drag-and drop files between OS X and Windows. I use a shared folder to get around that problem.

May 28, 2004
Tendro Ramaharitra had success by installing VPC on an external hard drive:

I ran Win XP corporate edition on my Virtual PC, with drive image on my internal Hard drive. I read the article at MacWindows, although turning off Norton auto protection does not have an effect. It was really slow !

Couple weeks ago, I bought an external Hard drive running on my FireWire 800, I installed the new PC Drive image on it and somehow it became so fast. I takes 1 min 25 sec to boot windows (it used to be about 7 min). My machine is a PowerBook G4 15.2" with 1 GB RAM.

If you've tried any of these,

Panther Printing problems

Several readers report that upgrading to Panther disabled printing in Virtual PC 6. One reader said that upgrading to 10.3.2 fixed the problem.

November 3, 2003
Michael Bennett

Panther is preventing me from getting documents to print (with the generic laser driver) from VPC 6.1. Under identical conditions (same version of VPC, same printer, same output), OS X 10.2.8 worked well and Panther wouldn't print.

November 3, 2003
Doug Kinzey also has a printing problem, but found a less-than-ideal workaround:

I'm using (pre-Microsoft) Virtual PC 6 XP Home Edition under Panther on a TiBook and so far am pleased with the performance. The only problem I have had is I wasn't able to print to an MS-networked printer that I could use previous to the Panther upgrade. I still print to this printer successfully through TCP/IP on the Mac side.

I changed my security settings inside Windows at about the same time as the Panther upgrade. My printing problem disappeared when I reset my Windows security settings to the default ones--Now I don't have a Windows firewall.

November 21, 2003
A reader named Andrew:

Another experience with printing problems with VPC 6. I am running Windows 2000 with an Apple LaserWriter Pro 600 connected via an AppleTalk connector, and I cannot get the printer to receive print jobs.

Sounds like they are not getting out of VPC - something in Panther is blocking the connection?

November 21, 2003
Steve Catania:

I couldn't get my Epson 740 to print using VPC in emulation mode on my new iMac using the default Epson 3260 driver. First I started trying it with Windows 2000 and called MS VPC support. When that wouldn't work, we tried loading the printer directly to Windows, but 2000 doesn't support that printer. I then reloaded VPC with Windows XP. Emulation printing still wouldn't work. I ended up having to make my 740 the default printer when using VPC and having to close out of VPC to restore Mac printing.

Since my wife's eMac works in emulation mode using Jaguar 10.2.6, I'm in no hurry to upgrade her to Panther.

November 21, 2003
Joe Shultz:

Since I upgraded my Aluminum PB15 to Panther, I can no longer print from VPC 6.1. My Mac apps all print just fine. I have an HP LaserJet 4M Plus on my Ethernet network. I could print from VPC before the upgrade.

Microsoft seemed to know about it, but didn't have a fix. Not, surprisingly, they blamed it on Apple.

November 21, 2003
Andre Lauzon:

I have also the same problem. I went through different forums, and nobody is discussing this problem. I hope somebody finds a solution soon.

November 21, 2003
Michael Leckman has a workaround:

I have been running AutoCAD on VPC since OS X and it is quite usable - except printing did not work at all. I have found an excellent work around, though, by printing to PDF and dragging the file to the Mac desktop. For processors of 1 GHz or higher, design professionals should have no hesitation at all using Mac's for AutoCAD.

(1 GHz PowerBook G4 w/768 MB RAM)

January 15, 2004
Bill Malgieri is another reader who can't print from Virtual PC 6 since upgrading Mac OS X to v10.3:

I upgraded 3 computers to Panther all of them running VPC and can no longer print from any of them. MS support charges $245 per incident for phone support and the email support doesn't work.

Fix in 10.2.3?

January 15, 2004
Andre Lauzon said that Mac OS X 10.3.2 returned the ability to print from VPC 6

I can confirm that in my case, after updating to 10.3.2, I can now print from Virtual PC 6.0 to a HP laserjet on our mix network of Unix and Windows.

January 19, 2004
Wes Jones

After upgrading to 10.3.2, I tried printing and it worked. I have 2 computers connected to 2 printers (Brother 1470N and Epson C82) through a router.

January 19, 2004
Frank Levine

I've upgraded to 10.3.2 and it fixed my print problem with my HP CP 1160.

This is on a stock Power Mac G4, single 1.25 GHz, 768 MB of RAM, combo drive. I've made no changes or other "enhancements" other than upgrading from the preinstalled "Jaguar" to "Panther" (via Apple's Up To Date program) and the subsequent online software updates. I have the Software update applet run once weekly.

January 19, 2004
Leslie Godchaux

I can confirm that in my case, after updating to 10.3.2, I can now print from Virtual PC 6.0 to a HP LaserJet 1200 on a airport network.

January 19, 2004
Michael Bennett: "Yup, the VPC print problem was solved by the upgrade to 10.3.2."

January 19, 2004
Andrew Dinsdale: "I can confirm that updating to 10.2.3 fixes the printing problem with VPC6+."

January 19, 2004
Glenn Peterson:

I upgraded to 10.3.2 and still am unable to print in VPC. Hopefully one of the two companies will be able to fix the problem.

January 19, 2004
Guy still has the problem, but offers a workaround, and reports an AirPort problem:

I'm running the latest version of both VPC and Max OS X. I have a HP LaserJet 2100m at home and LaserJet 2100 at work. I was able to get the 2100 to work by adding a card and Postscript DIMM - that makes it Mac compatible. The 2100m at home is already compatible with the Mac.

What I have noticed is that when I move from one environment to the other I always have to pull up the printer control panel, go to properties and manually select the virtual port I would like to print from. Also, I have to go to the menu item - Window->Virtual PC List->Settings, then select USB, and click/enable the device I want VPC to recognize.

If people try this it may help. Also, I have noticed that VPC does not recognize my printer at home via AirPort. It does recognize the printer however if I have it physically connected to the Mac directly instead of wirelessly.

January 28, 2004
Glenn Peterson

Just wanted to let you know that I checked the solution that Guy reported[directly above] and it worked for me. I had always had to check the USB settings via VPC every time I wanted to print but never had to check the port that was used. I looked in printer properties and sure enough it was using the LPT port. I changed it to USB and I'm printing like crazy.

If you've seen this problem, please let us know.

Reader problem with Virtual PC, Panther, and dual monitors

January 25, 2004 -- Shawn Beecher reports a problem with Virtual PC running Mac OS X 10.3 and two monitors:

I just upgraded to Panther. I am extremely pleased with it thus far. Until I tried going Full screen. It seems to only want to go full screen on my 21" Apple Studio Display. Because back in Jaguar, as long as my windowed PC was in my LCD 17" monitor it would go full screen in the LCD screen and adjust no matter what. Now It just Mirrors in BOTH and goes full screen in the 21 incher and its all disproportionate in the 17 incher.

I'll more than likely have to revert back to Jaguar 10.2.6. Since this was the best my computer has ever ran. I have run into more problems in Panther with my DV capture and Audio Sync.

PowerMac G3 350/ upgraded to G4 550; Mac OS X (10.3.x); 896 megs, FCP editing Station

Other specs:

ATI RADEON 7000 PCI in 33mhz pci slot -17 incher
ATI RAGE 128(OEM) in 66mhz pci slot- 21 incher
External EZquest Boa Firewire DVD Combo attached
External EZquest 80 gig Firewire HD attached
Panther 10.3.2

If any ideas please help, seeing that it is detrimental to my mental health.

If you have an idea, please let us know.

Suggestions from readers

January 28, 2004
Matthew Smith recommends looking for graphics drivers:

I know that ATI has some driver software available on their website that supports their retail version cards. There may be something of use there. I would definitely check that out before going back to 10.2.6. There is a ROM update for the Radeon 7000 and there are some ATI display utilities that work with the panther drivers that might come in handy. Go to the support section of ATI's website and search for drivers.

January 28, 2004
Derek Gordon successfully uses two monitors with VPC:

I have a dual monitor setup as well, and do not have the same problem. He should probably look at the VPC preferences, there is an option for Full Screen Mode Preferences, He prob. has it set to Don't adjust.

January 28, 2004
Paul Vitello offered several tips:

I have been running dual monitors since 10.3 released. It does work on both but the can be tricky. I pamper VPC as I would anything Windows that you don't want to disrupt or to just "blow up." I have it working consistently on 17" PowerBook and 22" Apple Cinema Display.

Occasionally the full screen won't resize to the full screen In that case I find that shutting down the PC and restarting will fix this -- I also I quit VPC and restart it. Most all of the time, however, I do a save state.

In windowed mode, when dragging from the 22" to the 17" you have to move the window "out of view" (to the left-off the screen), then drag the VPC window open (or larger). The window should "snap" the entire screen width at that point.

At any point you can hit the Apple + Enter" keys and you should go to full screen mode. This works most of the time but occasionally it will not expand the Windows desktop to the extent of the screen-- instead, the PC will remain the same size as the windowed version and I'll end up with a black boarder around it making up any difference in screen space. When that happens I reboot the PC (quitting VPC after) then start VPC and then start the PC. That always fixes that particular issue. I don't think that quitting VPC is necessary but it only takes another second and seems more thorough.

Serial number problem with VPC 6.1 upgrade

January 12, 2004
T. Boyko reports having problem he attributes to a bad serial number when upgrading to Virtual PC 6.1:

I upgraded from VPC 6.0 to 6.1 and deeply regretted it. I'm running a Quicksilver 733 with OS X 10.2.8 and stupidly upgraded to VPC 6.1 when everything was working just fine--slow, but fine. During the upgrade the installer refused to accept my serial number (an original OEM SN) from 6.0. The Next arrow would not activate so the install could not be completed. Oddly enough, VPC would still load and run even though the warning stated "VPC will not start."

Although it was annoying, I continued to use it and would go through the aborted install process each time. Eventually, VPC refused to start entirely.

Of course, it was just when I needed it for an obscure client's proprietary software that it crashed. I then tried everything I could think of to bring it back to life--deleting reference files, deleting the entire program and reloading, but there's a file hidden somewhere which forces VPC to confirm the SND prior to loading (my OEM SND would now not work with any version). I went to Microsoft's site and was informed I could get an answer for $99.

Frustrated and irritated, I called up a friend of mine and had him e-mail me his SN number and it worked! VPC 6.1 is now working again as if nothing had changed. Apparently there are SN numbers out there that will not work with the upgrade. The two numbers were only a few digits different so I don't know what the deal is.

January 15, 2004
Simon Eddisons

I have the same problem and now my VPC is stuck in an inoperable mode as the upgrade will not accept my legit serial number (v6) non-OEM.

January 15, 2004
Clarence Grimm simply reverted to 6.0:

I also experienced the SN# problem in moving from 6.0 to 6.1. VPC continued to work for awhile then stopped completely. I reinstalled with the same issues and same results. My fix was to run VPC 6.0 and live with no upgrade. I've been working fine since.

January 15, 2004
Eric Winemiller thought the problem was in the cut and past of the serial number:

I had a similar problem, but I think it's related to the dialog that accepts the serial number. Being a large number, I cut and paste the number from one source and had the exact same problem mentioned on your page. I later tried again, but this time cut and paste the serial number from the same original source, just saved in a different format and it worked. I can't remember the specifics, but it was something like the first time I tried it, I copied from the saved HTML file or email from the original purchase. The second time it was cut and paste from a text file I saved with the serial number. Even though visually it was the same in the dialog, something extra was there messing up the serial number check.

January 15, 2004
A reader named "SJ" thought the problem had to do with pirated serial numbers:

I believe that MS blocked all the known pirated 6.0 serial numbers for the 6.1 upgrade. This could be why users can't upgrade, since VPC was heavily pirated in the Connectix days.

January 15, 2004
Michel Hébert solved his serial number problem, which had to do with international versions:

Here are some hints for French Canadian Users of VPC 6.1. Maybe it applies to other international users.

This afternoon, I took the software at the office and tried to install it on my eMac, just in case the problem was with my home laptop. However, the same problems described in my first message were still there.

After getting back home, I was preparing to put the software away and return it to Microsoft but decided to give it a final try. Following your message, I modified my User name for a "US stylish" one (without the accented character) and got through that first small frustration. Thanks to Bernard Rey for the hint on that one.

Then, when I was back to the MS Windows XP Home registration window, I thought there was something fishy with the first letters of the first line on the keyboard (QW) as well as AZ letters... Then lightning struck me!

The solution is the problem... I had received a French (Europe) version of the software and not a French Canadian (North America) version. It's simply an AZERTY vs a QWERTY keyboard issue.

It was not easy because the "Keyboard Palette"(?) or "Palette de character" command of OS X was dimmed. So, I had to figure out where the Q-W-A-Z letters are on an AZERTY keyboard. Once that was done, I entered my 25-digit Product Key number and VPC is now finally installed on my laptop.

If you 've seen this problem, please let us know.

VPC and Topo map software

January 19, 2004
Alan Ross reports that National Geographic Back Roads Explorer is incompatible with Virtual PC 6.1:

I bought VPC 6.1 so I could run National Geographic "Back Roads Explorer" software, and after much time on the phone with Microsoft and the software company learned that it is not compatible. It acts as if it installs properly but won't launch.

Does anyone know if the Delorme Topo USA will run on VPC?

January 25, 2004
James Mackay says that Mapinfo does work:

I can confirm that Mapinfo is compatible with Virtual PC - specifically version 7.5 of Mapinfo and Virtual PC 6.1 with Windows 2000 running on Panther (10.3.2).

January 25, 2004
Dave Curry reports that another alternative partially works:

I agree that DeLorme Topo USA 4 "works" but I have been unable to get it to recognize my GPS unit using the TOPO software. I have tried every method. It just doesn't see the unit. So yes it works, but one major use of the software is missing.

I tried using USB-to-serial adapter via the two ways that are available in Virtual PC. Either installing the Keyspan drivers in Windows, (didn't work) or trying to get Virtual PC to run the USB recognition.

One Fix: use Mac OS X native software

January 28, 2004 -- Peter Luke responded to reports of problems with Windows topo map software running in Virtual PC to say that there is now a native Mac OS X version of National Geographic TOPO (which means you wouldn't need Virtual PC.) "I have the version covering SE United States and it runs very well on my iBook, " said Luke.

TIP: Virtual PC 6 and OS 10.3.3 using USB serial adapters

April 20, 2004
Ed Grau

Along with many other users, I too could not get my Keyspan USB-to-Serial adapter to work. However doing a little experimenting and purely by accident, I discovered that if you have the Keyspan connected to the USB port before you start VPC, it seems to work OK, even though the Keyspan software says there is no device present.

I'm running Windows 200 Pro. I have not tried this method with Windows XP.

NOTE: As well as having the Keyspan connected to the USB port on the Mac, it was also connected to a live serial device on the other side. I had to hit my return key several times but it started communicating OK.

Also, after shutting down VPC in the "Save State" mode, and restarting with the Keyspan adapter connected, it was still working. I experimented and disconnected the Keyspan adapter and restarted VPC. I got a message the adapter was missing and then it would not work at all after reattaching with VPC still running. Again, restarting VPC with the Keyspan adapter already connected will allow it work.

OS X Security Update slows VPC -- cutting USB helps. May 4, 2004 -- Hasani Hunter reports that the latest Mac OS X security update slowed Virtual PC to a crawl, but that disabling USB in VPC has helped:

For some odd reason, after the last security update, VPC is unusable. It took me over 4 HOURS to install windows server 2003 and well over 3 HOURS to install windows 2000 Pro... I installed the latest FreeBSD 5.2.1 and even that took at least hour and a half even though it usually takes me no more than 10 minutes on a regular PC.

It is completely unusable. In fact VPC seems to be taking up at least 60 percent of my CPU doing nothing. Otherwise, for regular use, the CPU is completely pegged out at 100 percent.

However, after I disabled USB (in VPC) and VPC seems a lot faster now.

If you've seen this problem or the USB speedup trick, .

May 11, 2004
Eric Winemiller

It does seem much slower, but from the things I do it appears to be related to disk access. Boot up is terrible slow and so is launching applications, but once the app is loaded performance seems to be close to what it was. Turning USB off did not seem to have any effect.

July 19, 2004
John West

Turning off USB had no perceptible improvement. If anything this latest version with all the patches seems to run slower now that the Connectix version.(PowerBook G4 867 with 640 MB RAM)

Win XP SP2 on VPC: no panacea

August 30, 2004
Bruce Miller

After hearing comments that installing SP2 on Windows XP speeds it up in VPC 6, I decided to try it out on a backup copy drive image of XP Home SP1 with no updates and security patches installed and a minimal application install. I know XP on VPC well, having used it extensively before wisely switching over to Win 2000.

I had done everything possible before trying to extract more speed from XP, including the usual classic modes, simple windows, anti-animations, etc., but also including digging into the Services, editing some registry files and even buying XP-Lite (not worth it, trust me).

Getting SP2 requires first installing a new update version, enabling auto update, and all security patches and critical updates before getting allowed access to downloading SP2. Those was 15 items at 18 MB and a restart.

Then SP2 became available via auto update (I tried to avoid it, but its locked down well) and proceeded to download a 90 MB update file (without cable/DSL it would be probably best to wait for MS to make CD versions to be widely available free, shortly).

After verifying, archiving, installing, cleaning up, etc., the install took over two hours running VPC with a G3 900 MHz 1 GB RAM, nothing else open. Wizards tried to keep one aware that something was always happening, but there are several very long pauses appearing hung, even showing the VPC HD icon and OS X menu bar CPU and drive activity indicators idle (must be using RAM). One might be tempted to abort, but it always picked up soon enough and pegged the CPU back at the usual 100 percent use indication.

This is a major upgrade, more like going from 10.2 to 10.3. Many hundreds of DLL, exe, and other files are replaced and it takes a long time to archive, verify, install and run them as the wizards usually shows.

At restart, the XP splashscreen hung with no activity and I reluctantly had to force a hard turnoff to exit. I had recalled hearing an OS X restart after SP2 (?!) was a good idea, did so, and when XP was launched it started normally (without "improper shutdown" and fs check). It stayed at pre-desktop for a very long time, then revealed the new Security firewall options screen.

Nothing else has appeared changed, even WMPlayer stayed at version 10 beta.

Unfortunately, my experience is that any speed benefits seem minimal, if at all. I use little Heart Beat task timing application in Windows, and it showed virtually the same exact scores pre and post SP2. But the drive image which was around 2.5 GB ballooned almost a whole GB in size, so there's a lot more under the hood, certainly.

September 22, 2004
Martin Jacobs could not install Service Pack 2 on Windows XP running in Virtual PC. Here are excepts from his report:

After a couple of hours downloading and an hour on the telephone, my attempt to install SP2 ended in failure...I had to undo my installation of SP2. The [Microsoft]technician I spoke to thought there was a problem with data corruption in the download, which may have been caused by a firewall. I have since asked for SP2 to be posted by CD to get round this issue.

Although we have several 'native' Windows machines in the office, I was running Microsoft Virtual PC 6.1 with Windows XP Professional on my Mac...My problem was that after the installation of SP2, the Virtual PC would hang during its 'boot up'. The rest of the OS X apps on my machine would continue to work perfectly.

...I ran the SP2 installation from the Windows automatic update program, so I assumed it would have been smart enough to deal with getting the right data and doing the correct installation. I have had no problem doing the same kind of thing with Mac OS X in exactly the same environment with the same firewalls etc...

The final outcome is that I have undone the SP2 installation in VPC on my Mac. I have since learned that at least one of the programs in our office may have issues with SP2, so I will be reluctant to 'upgrade' any of our Windows systems to SP2 in the near future.

September 27, 2004
An anonymous reader said that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP has a problem with 800 Mbits-per-second FireWire (1394b):

Microsoft has decided to limit any S800 host to S100 speed in Windows XP SP2. The rumor mill and some stuff mentioned on the Internet is that they did this to support CAT5 which can only run at S100 and that they may have done this for compatibility with older 1394a devices [400 Mbits-per-second FireWire] that only run at S100 like Digital Camcorders. The Windows XP SP2 issue is HOST related.

If you attach a FireWire 800 device to a FireWire 400 host, it will run at S400 speed. If you attach a FireWire 800 or FireWire 400 device to a FireWire 800 host, both will run at S100 speed.

Both Oxford and Initio are working firmware patches for their 1394b chips used in 1394b enclosures to overcome this problem. The initio firmware update is available for the 2430 chip, the Oxford firmware update for the 922 and 912 chips is still in final testing and should be released shortly. The firmware updates will basically force S800 when the host only wants to run at S100.

We did some Googling and found a reference to this at Tom's Hardware Guide:

Microsoft maintains its Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes drivers for IEEE 1394b. But according to our tests using the Release Candidate 2 prior to the Service Pack 2's launch earlier this month, a 1394b device's speed dips to a measly 100 Mbit/s.

September 27, 2004
Tony Grivell describes two problems with Virtual PC 6. The first is a problem with XP Service Pack, in which he had a similar problem we reported last week. (Most readers report not having the problem.) Grivell managed to fix the problem, which he describes:

I have had a similar experience to Martin Jacobs on Sept 22. That is, the SP2 install (from a local copy that has been successfully used by others here) went apparently well, but the system hung during the reboot. I did a simple restart, which seemed to work (if suggestively slower) except that the Palm HotSync manager failed to initialize (2 reboots). Then my attempt to reinstall the entire Palm Desktop software (to reinstall the HotSync manager) failed as it was initializing. At that stage I returned to an XP restore point immediately before the XP attempt, and all is now fine again).

In retrospect, maybe I should have tried one more thing before rolling back - a reinstall of the VPC Additions.

Grivell also notes that Virtual PC 6.0.1 is faster than version 6.1.1.

I am using XP Pro with VPC 6.01 under OS X 10.3.5 on a 867 MHz PowerBook with 640 MB RAM. Soon after upgrading to VPC 6.1.1 my VPC became so slow as to be of no use at all - after many weeks of frustrated attempts to locate the problem, I reinstalled 6.01 (the last non-Microsoft version) and Win XP - and so far have been reasonable satisfied wit the result.

VPC 6.1, Tiger 10.4.3 problem and fix

November 28 , 2005
Mardi Kennedy reports that the old Virtual PC stopped working when the Mac was updated to Tiger 10.4.3. Kennedy fixed the problem by installing the
VPC 6.1.1 updater, which is still available from Microsoft.

Virtual PC 6.1 has been working well for me from OS X 10.3.x to 10.4.2. I installed 10.4.3 and lost all useful VPC/ XP functionality.

Got to the XP desktop and clicked my shortcut to Windows Explorer. Nothing. Went to the Start menu to access My Computer. Nothing. In other words, I have an initial display but no actual functionality. Can't get into other Control Panel items etc.

I solved the problem by installing the VPC 6.1.1 updater.


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