How to Backup a Virtual Server While Running

Using the right tools, creating a backup of a virtual server is quite simple and easy. With the right tool the VM doesn’t need to go offline or be paused and backups can proceed while the virtual server is running.

How to Back up Virtual Server While Running

Using BackupChain, our all-in-one backup solution, you can back up virtual servers with deduplication and compression and reduce the storage usage by up to 95% if you take regular backups. Deduplication eliminates content that repeats over and over between backups and thereby cuts out between 90 and 95% of the entire VM in future backup cycles.

Here are some great features of BackupChain which save you time and money:

  • Automatic Compression and Deduplication of VHDs saves 90+ percent of backup space
  • Granular Backup: back up folders inside the VM with BackupChain running on the host
  • Granular Restore: restore single files and folders from deduplicated backups within a minuate. No need to restore the entire VHD
  • Automatic clean up of old backups
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  • Solid backup engine. Run multiple tasks without logging on to your PC
  • Back up Virtual PCs over FTP using deduplication: Set up your own cloud backup for Virtual PC
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  • Backs up Hyper-V, Virtual PC, Microsoft Virtual Server, VMware Workstation, and VirtualBox
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Visit BackupChain today and put your 20 day trial to the test.

 

Where to Download Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3702

Virtual PC 2004: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4580

What is Virtual PC?

Windows Virtual PC, formerly called Microsoft Virtual PC until 2009 and Connectix Virtual PC (until 2003), is a virtualization software to run virtual machines and various 32-bit guest operating systems.

Virtual PC for Mac was developed by Connectix to allow PowerPC-based Mac operating systems to run Microsoft Windows in emulation mode. After the acquisition by Microsoft, the emulator was also part of the product “Microsoft Office professional for Mac”, but after the Apple switch to Intel processors it was discontinued after the changeover in 2006.

The version of Windows that is running as a virtual machine was later released as freeware by Microsoft, as well as the server variant that was started by Connectix called Virtual Server for Windows. In Windows 7 a new feature named “Windows XP Mode” became an optional part of the operating system and was based on Virtual PC in the background. Virtual PC no longer runs on Windows 8; it has been replaced by Hyper-V.

Virtual PC for OS/2, which was based on the version of Windows, was discontinued after the acquisition by Microsoft.

Virtual PC is limited to running only 16 and 32-bit operating systems.

 

History

Virtual PC was originally developed by Connectix as a solution to run 32 bit operating systems on Apple Macintosh systems with PowerPC processors. The hardware on an Intel PC had to be emulated in software and that claimed a significant portion of the computational power available. The usefulness of Virtual PC was hence limited to light PC programs so they could be easily run on an Apple Macintosh system with PowerPC processor.

Later on, a version designed as a virtual machine named Virtual PC was developed for x86 systems. This eliminated the need for an elaborate emulation of x86 machine language on the PowerPC platform, resulting in a significant speed advantage compared to the Mac version. With Virtual PC for Windows , various x86 operating systems (including OS/2) as guest systems can run under Windows as a host system.

In 2003, Microsoft acquired Connectix’s Virtual PC technology. Both parties agreed on the details of the takeover business but kept details in secrecy. Microsoft developed the PowerPC-based Mac version as well as the x86-based version of Windows Virtual PC under his own brand name. With Apple’s switch to Intel processors at the end of 2005, Microsoft stopped the development of the Mac version, version 7.

The Windows version was ported for Connectix by the German company Innotek Systemberatung GmbH on OS/2 as a host system. Beginning with the free version Windows Virtual PC 2004 SP1, OS/2 can still be installed as a guest.

 

InnoTek continued to work after the takeover by Microsoft on the Linux support for Virtual PC and Virtual Server and since 2004 and has been developing its own virtualization solution called VirtualBox, which, since 2007, is freely available. Contrary to the approach of Microsoft VirtualBox,it has been ported to the Intel-Mac platform. InnoTek was acquired in early 2008 by Sun Microsystems , which was purchased by Oracle in 2009.

In 2009, the Windows version was renamed to Windows Virtual PC, and integrated into Windows. Windows Explorer had a specialized viewer to manage virtual machines, similar to the printer manager in the Windows Explorer. On Windows 7 Ultimate, XP mode became available, which provides a prepared, registered, and activated Windows XP Professional installation and exposes installed programs via a specialized guest extension called RemoteApp in the start menu of the host system.

In Windows 8, Windows Virtual PC, also called Virtual PC 2007, and earlier versions can be installed but no longer start. Instead, the successor Hyper-V is included in the Server and Business editions of Windows. Better integration is offered and also the ability of Windows 8 to boot directly from a virtual disk image. The new format for disk images “VHDX” supports up to 16 TB, while the compatible VHD images size can be more than 2 TB.

 

Technical Details

Virtual PC is a complete PC virtualized or emulated. The program provides a virtual machine, within which a standard PC operating system can run. This makes it possible to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on one PC. 16 and 32-bit operating systems within a 32 and 64-bit host system can run as a guest.

Virtual PC emulates a standard PC with Pentium II processor under Mac OS on the PowerPC platform. The physical host system processor is virtualized on Windows and OS/2 on the IA32 platform. Virtual PC allows up to three hard drives, which are integrated into the VHD Format, a CD or DVD drive, memory of adjustable size (depending on the memory capacity of the host system), a 100-Mbps network interface card, a sound card, and a video card. Unfortunately it lacks support for PCI devices. USB is only supported by Virtual PC for Mac version 3.0 and Windows Virtual PC version 6.1.

Virtual PC provides essentially no way to pass physical partitions or drives to the guest system. A CD drive or an ISO image for the guest can be included only as a virtual optical drive.

 

Emulation

Virtual PC for Mac is only available for PowerPC-based Macs, but not for Mac computers with 68 processor (up to 1995) or with x86 processor (since 2006). Supported host systems (PowerPC has been supported since System 7.1.2) were the versions of Mac OS 7.5.5 to 9.2.2 and Mac OS X through 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5; it is not supported on other operating systems using the PowerPC platform.

 

The following hardware components are available for guest system emulation:

x86-CPU Pentium II

Intel chipset 440BX (Seattle)

ACPI support

S3 Trio 32/64-graphics card with 4 MB of memory

IDE-controller PIIX4 (82371AB/EB), up to three virtual Ultra ATA/33hard drives

A virtual ATAPI DVD-drive

High density-Floppy-Disk-Controller (1.44 MB)

Network card DEC 21041 (Fast Ethernet)

Sound card Sound Blaster 16 (ISA-PnP incl. Gameport)

Virtual PS/2-mouse and -keyboard

Serial interfaces

Parallel interface (Printer)

Virtual USB-1.1-OHCI controllers

 

The main marketing point of Virtual PC on the PowerPC-based Apple computers is running a Microsoft Windows, PC compatible DOS, or Linux operating system and thus bring a large number of programs to run on PowerPC Macs. A variety of x86 operating systems under Virtual PC for Mac are running, even though they are not officially supported. Tight integration with the host system is not possible due to the lack of Virtual PC host integration components.

Virtual PC for Mac was sold with pre-installed operating systems, including MS DOS with Windows 3.11, PC-DOS 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98 also (Second Edition), Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP (home and professional) and RedHat Linux 6.1. This brought the advantage of acquiring a license for each guest operating system automatically and eliminated the time-consuming installation of guest systems, which came already installed on a virtual hard disk image.

 

 

Virtual Machines

With the emulator as a starting point, a version running as VM was developed for Virtual PC, which was intended only for the Windows platform. There was also a version ported to OS/2, which was based on the Windows version.

 

The following hardware components are the guest system in the virtual machine:

32 bit CPU of the host system is virtualized

Intel chipset 440BX (Seattle)

ACPI support

S3 Trio 64-graphics card with 8 MB of memory

IDE-controller PIIX4 (82371AB/EB)

Network card DEC 21140 (Fast Ethernet)

Sound card Sound Blaster

Virtual PS/2-mouse and -keyboard

Serial interfaces

Virtual serial port for USB only via Virtual PC Additions (version 6.1)

 

No drivers were available for the sound card and the USB interface, because the emulated components do not act like real hardware in the guest system. The sound card works only with the specialized drivers contained in Virtual PC Additions, and it is only supported in Windows guests. The same is true for the virtual USB serial port, which can only be used via Virtual PC Additions.

Standard drivers may be used for the rest of the emulated hardware and these components may be used under a variety of other operating systems.

 

Virtual PC Additions

Virtual PC additions exist for MS-DOS, Windows 98 and Me, as well as for Windows NT 4.0. Drivers and programs for the integration of guest systems and the host system also support Windows 2000 and XP. They are the same in each version of Virtual PC, whether the emulator for Mac or virtual machine for Windows and OS/2.

 

Windows Virtual PC

Microsoft bought the company Connectix and its Virtual PC product in 2003 and integrated Virtual PC in its own product range. According to a Microsoft Manager, the adaptation of Virtual PC for Mac to the Intel platform would have been a large expense, and that’s why the product was dropped when Intel Macs were released.

In January 2004, Microsoft released the version 2004 and 5.3 respectively. This update was free for customers of Connectix Virtual PC 5. In December a Service Pack followed.

Microsoft has been providing a free version since July 12, 2006.

The new version of “Virtual PC 2007”, which also supports Windows Vista and is available since then also free of charge was released on February 19, 2007. However, is should be noted that not all versions are supported by Windows Vista. When installing and setting up the program on certain versions of Vista, it is reports that there is no support for these Vista versions. In May 2008, a Service Pack was introduced officially to support Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008.

Along with the launch of Windows 7 in the fall of 2009, “Virtual PC” in a new customized version was made available. It is now called “Windows Virtual PC” and was both visually as functionally better integrated into Windows. It is an optional Windows download and continues to be freely available. There is also a variant with Windows XP preinstalled that ships with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise under the name of “XP Mode”. Installed programs inside the VM are integrated in the Windows 7 start menu of the host, using the freely downloadable add-on RemoteApp for the Windows XP guest. The original system requirement for “Windows Virtual PC” included CPU support for hardware virtualization (AMD-V and Intel VT;) but was dropped in March 2010 with an update.

On Windows 7, “Windows Virtual PC” can function as a host operating system for: Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise.

Regarding the compatibility with guest operating systems, only 32-bit systems are supported. Support for 64-bit systems is not available. “Windows Virtual PC” is officially supporting the following Windows operating systems: Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) professional, Windows Vista Enterprise Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Vista Ultimate Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Vista Business Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise.

Virtual PC can no longer be used from Windows 8; however, Windows 8 allows VHD disk images to be used directly in the operating system as virtual drives. Using Windows 8 Pro, it is also possible to start Windows from a VDH disk image.

 

Usage

Virtual PC provides a flexible environment for software development and testing of different operating systems and configurations. A program may hence be tested on various Windows operating systems without the purchase of additional hardware. Virtual PC is ideal, for example, to test different versions of Internet Explorer on a single PC and test whether websites are compatible with both different versions of the browser. Programming and testing of network applications or client-server applications is also simplified by Virtual PC as it is giving the possibility to simulate a network traffic between multiple virtual computers.

In addition, a virtual PC can be used to test unknown programs without any risks on the host system. In the worst case, only the guest system is affected. Once tested, the program can then be installed on the “real” target system.

Virtual PC can be used on Windows XP 64-bit to install the 16-bit setup programs, which are no longer running the 64-bit Windows engine. Thus, it is possible to install old games and applications, which are available as 32-bit versions, but still use an old Installer.

Another focus of Virtual PC is on running Windows programs on a Mac. Virtual PC also runs various Linux distributions; yet, Microsoft provides no official support.

 

Linux as a guest system

Although not officially supported, many Linux distributions can be still installed without any major problems. Newer Linux kernels (2.6 and later) don’t recognize the AUX port (/ dev/psaux) in Virtual PC in many cases that is required for mouse control. There are several ways to resolve this problem. One of the easiest solutions is to enable the kernel parameters i8042.noloop and psmouse.proto = imps in the configuration of the Boot Manager to enter GRUB or LILO.

 

Version History

Virtual PC for Mac

 

Because the mainstream support of the latest version of Virtual PC for Mac ended on April 13, 2010, there is no support from Microsoft for this product anymore. Because even Apple has discontinued support for PowerPC-based Apple computers and operating systems, Virtual PC has turned into a kind of abandonware but its copyright is not affected.

 

Version 1

June 25, 1997 (Germany) The first version emulates a PC with Intel Pentium as a main processor components (including Protected Mode, MMU, FPU and MMXinstruction set extension), motherboard with Intel Triton chipset, two IDEchannels with two predetermined configurations for two hard drives and an ATAPICD-ROM-drive (by the owner), S3 928 PCI SVGAgraphics card with 1 or 2 MB VRAM, PCI-Ethernet expansion card with DEC 21041-chip, Sound Blaster Proexpansion card for audio, as well as all necessary components of the PC standard, about the integration of the Mac keyboard and mouse as a PC keyboard and PS/2mouse.

Virtual PC 1.0 requires Mac OS 7.5.5 and a PowerPC processor. It was sold, optionally with preconfigured (pre-installed) Windows 3.11 (with MS-DOS) or with Windows 95 and later also with PC-DOS with the official minimum requirements for the host system (Mac with PowerPC processor) based on the required computing power for the guest system. In addition the guest systems were supported Windows NT, OS/2, and OpenStep officially.

Version 2

1998. The emulated video card is now an S3 Trio 32/64 with up to 4 MB VRAM and provides UXGA resolution. In addition to general speed improvements – advertised were up to 40% increase – improved support for DirectX from Windows 95. Support for long file names, as well as between host and guest, and shared clipboard and drag- and –drop have also been added for Windows.

Virtual PC 2.0 was offered by Apple as an option when buying a Power Macintosh G3.

Version 2.1 was available in addition to PC-DOS and Windows 95 with Windows 98.

 

Sources

Wikipedia

Microsoft Websites