MS Virtual PC vs VirutalBox

Working on ubuntu running on top of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 started giving me lot of problems. Some of them are:
1. Need lots of tweaking during installation of ubuntu in virtual pc to provide even basic mouse integration. Need to enter additional parameters (i8042.noloop) during boot up and then need to configure some system settings to make the mouse work in ubuntu running under virtual pc.
2. No smooth mouse integration. You need to click inside the virtual operating system for the mouse to be effective inside and need to press “Right Alt” key to come out of virtual os.
3. No mouse scrolling support at all.
4. In a nutshell, virtual pc bothers least about linux environments. No addons, nothing. ( Please correct me if I’m wrong here. Thank you)

So, I started looking for alternatives.

I didn’t give much focus to VirtualBox until i read the news about Sun’s acquisition about VirtualBox. I respect Sun and their products. So i thought of giving VirtualBox a try.

- Installing ubuntu was smooth.
- No need to tweak any boot options like i did while installing ubuntu on top of virtual pc 2007.
- However i needed to press “Right Ctrl” key to come out of virtual box, initially.
- But, once i installed the “add-ons” for linux, i was amazed at the seamless mouse integration. I could click the firefox icon in windows xp and also on ubuntu on virtualbox (to and fro) without pressing any keys.
- I could scroll my mouse like i can scroll on xp.
- Excellent user interface.

However i have some concerns:

- very small resolution size (800 x 600 against my laptop resolution of 1280 x 780)

(NOTE: I managed to fix this problem. I’ve narrated about it here.
- need add-ons to provide usb support.

But overall, I feel that virtualbox is much better than Virtual PC 2007.
I regret for spending much time meddling around with Virtual PC 2007.
The fault is with me, I shouldn’t have tried a Microsoft product at first place.

Read more about virtualization/virtualbox here.

15 comments to MS Virtual PC vs VirutalBox

  • Arturo

    Hi James, I’m also very please with the configuraiton of Ubutnu on my Virutalobox. I’m having the same problem, very small resolution. Please let me know if you manage to increase it. Likewise, I will let you know if I find how to get a better one. Thanks, Arturo

  • James Selvakumar

    Hi arturo,
    Yup, i’m still figuring it out on how to increase the screen resolution of ubuntu running on virtualbox.

    I’ll surely blog about it, if i come across any solution.

  • miwabba

    James, if you use Firefox, it will help to correct those very common spelling errors you make (configuraiton, Ubutnu, Virutalobox) which might be an insignificant detail on a personal blog but none the less makes it harder to read for others.

  • One feature that virtualbox have, that I don’t really see it in other product is seamless mode. Which make it a very interesting piece of software

  • James Selvakumar

    Hi miwabba,
    Thank you very much for pointing out the mistakes. I will try to correct that in my future posts. (I use firefox only but didn’t spend much time in the suggestions it offered to correct the spelling mistakes)
    Any way, thank you very much.

  • James Selvakumar

    Hi sweemeng,
    Yes, I like the “seamless” mode in virtualbox very much. In fact, i would say that it is one of the feature which made me to switch to virtualbox.

  • [...] MS Virtual PC vs VirutalBox « James Selvakumar’s Blog Interesting, mouse support in VirtualBox works for Linux. Virtual PC it doesn’t. (tags: virtualization lazycoder) [...]

  • Klemen

    virtualbox is much easier to use, you cen share files with primary computers easly, and what is more important you dont need to fuck, with reading cd/dvd and usb devices, like in virtual pc.I spent 4hours yust to figure it out how you share files.Stupid

  • Chris

    Don’t diss Virtual PC just because it’s a MS product. Keep in mind VirtualBox is only for home/personal use, so violating the license is not a difficult thing to do.

    On technical details, network bridge (all OSes) & USB support (Windows) is quite seamless in Virtual PC compared to VirtualBox. As you say, VirtualBox’s mouse integration is good in Linux OSes.

  • JKD

    I didnt know MS VPC has USB Support..Could you clarify on that please?
    Thank you!


  • Kasim Hansia

    For a better resolution in Ubuntu after installing VirtualBox add-ons, do the following

    1. Backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf by using the following command
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

    Then edit the xorg.conf using nano, pico, vi or gedit so that it looks like the following below

    Section “Device”
    Identifier “Configured Video Device”
    Driver “vesa”
    Option “UseFBDev” “true”

    Section “Monitor”
    Identifier “Configured Monitor”
    Option “DPMS”
    HorizSync 30-70
    VertRefresh 50-160

    Section “Screen”
    Identifier “Default Screen”
    Monitor “Configured Monitor”
    Device “Configured Video Device”
    DefaultDepth 16
    SubSection “Display”
    Depth 16
    Modes “1024×768″ “800×600″


    When you try to configure your display/screen resolution, it’ll give you more resolution options.


  • Latee Brown

    I have been using Virtual PC 2007 for over a year now and from what I know it has ‘mouse integration’, you install the ‘Integrated mouse’ and the features that allow you to access USB devices after you have installed your support Guest OS by selection from the Menu: Action > Install or Update Virtual Machine Additions

    You can find more information in the Help Topics, here is some info:

    Virtual Machine Additions includes the following features:

    Drag and drop
    Folder sharing
    ‘Integrated mouse’
    Optimized video drivers
    Time synchronization
    Clipboard sharing
    Improved operating system performance
    ‘Dynamic resizing of the virtual machine window, which automatically adjusts the size of the guest operating system desktop’…

    See ‘Using removable media, drives, and other devices’ in the Help Topics for accessing USB devices; it is done by using shared folders.

    Anyway, I thought some of you might like to know, otherwise I am sorry for waisting your time.

  • F3ca

    The screen resolution can be anything after you installed “add-ons”, and set the virtual box configuration correctly. (Preferences–>display).

    After this you can _resize_ the virtualbox’s window.

  • [...] edition. You might be able to get Linux running on Virtual PC if you are a geek. But many report problems and it is not officially supported. VirtualBox on the other hand isn’t that choosy about the [...]

  • Boy

    Actually, although virtualbox is better virtual pc 2007 is also good. I recommend using virtual pc 2007 because virtualbox slows down my pc.

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