Althea wants to know what the difference is between Virtual PC and Virtual Server, and when she would use one versus the other. The fundamental difference between Virtual PC and Virtual Server is that Virtual PC is designed for desktop (or "client" or "PC") operating systems and Virtual Server is designed for server operating systems. As a result, the usage scenarios for the two products are correspondingly different. There are a few feature differences as well. This article covers the major functional differences between the two products.
Supported operating systems
For Virtual PC, both the host operating system (the one you install Virtual PC itself on) and the guest operating systems (the ones running inside virtual machines) will be desktop operating systems. Supported host operating systems include Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Supported guest operating systems include these plus a number of others, such as Windows 98 and MS-DOS 6.22. See the Virtual PC documentation for a complete list.
For Virtual Server, the host operating system and the guest operating systems will be server operating systems. Supported host operating systems are Windows Server 2003 (Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions) and Windows Small Business Server (Standard and Premium Editions). Supported guest operating systems include these plus Windows 2000 Server, all editions except Enterprise as well as Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition SP6a. See the Virtual Server documentation for more information.
Usage scenarios for Virtual PC
Some primary usage scenarios for Virtual PC are:
These scenarios are described in detail in the white paper at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtualpc/evaluation/techoverview.mspx.
The uses that you can find for Virtual PC are limited only by your resourcefulness, though. For example, my co-worker Nehar has Virtual PC set up for his wife and kids to use for browsing the Internet. That way he doesn’t have to worry about anything they download because it won’t affect the host operating system. If the virtual machine get’s corrupted or infected, he can simply delete it and start over.
Usage scenarios for Virtual Server
Some primary usage scenarios for Virtual Server are:
Other differences between Virtual PC and Virtual Server
Virtual Server provides a few features that aren’t available in Virtual PC:
On the Virtual PC side, Virtual Server does not include an emulated sound card in its virtual machines, while Virtual PC does.
That about sums it up as far as important functional differences. I hope this answered your question, Althea.