Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog


A Virtual PC Puzzler for You

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Sweet!This question was asked recently of our team, and it was just interesting enough of a question to see if someone reading this blog might like to play with this scenario on their own. 

Yes.. you are finally being encouraged to “try this at home”.

Here’s the question:
Can you create a virtual machine Windows Server 2003 guest being hosted in a Windows XP Virtual PC installation, and make the host XP machine a member of a domain running on the Windows 2003 Server?

Hint: Some have suggested to use a loopback adapter installed on the XP machine as the common link between them… although I don’t see why the physical adapter on on the XP machine wouldn’t work just as well.

It was discussed by a few people who said it couldn’t be done, but I’m not so sure.  And before I tried it I thought I’d toss it out here and see if someone wants to give it a whirl and share their experience with us.


  • a major problem would be joining the domain as when u have to reboot the xp machine u will lose the server as well so on reboot you will be unable to log onto the domain unless you could start this as a service pre xp logon.. thoughts...

  • The only way we did this was to have 2 images running on the same machine, e.g we had a client image with Outlook 2003 installed and a server image with Exchange and AD running on it. You do need fairly high specification PC to run two images at the same time but it can be done. Also I agree with John, the server would have to be running for you to log onto the domain...

  • Hmmm, I'm sure I've done this scenario using Virtual Server, but this sounds like fun. Running it up now, post back in a few hours.

  • Well I've just finished, and the tested answer is "YES". I've blogged a few notes here for you:
    (I do hope I got the scenario right)

  • The developers that posted this question internally are as usual, acting like developers. They think they need to stuff all of that server stuff in a VM and keep it isolated and away from their pure WinXP compile environment. Silly boyz.

    They asked if it would work. Of course I said it would (not giving away the details). As you can see, people are pretty creative on this little problem. And as you can see, they are performing some pretty unnatural acts.

    There is a simpler solution...

  • yeah agree with andrew. but to make it simpler. you can make xp load vitual pc as a service at boot time saving the need for the local admin logon at all just have to wait a min for it to start up.

  • Run the VM as a service . . .

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