Thursday, September 25, 2008

Virtual PC for the PC

I remember the first time I saw Virtual PC for the Mac - probably 10 years ago. An Apple rep came to the Board Office, plugged his Mac into our network and ran several Microsoft Office applications simultaneously and snappily. He even found one of our network printers and fired off a document to it. All this in a rabidly Windows environment. Magic!

I had a similarly satisfying experience this afternoon, downloading Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 onto my PC and running the disk image with Internet Explorer 6 bundled with it. When launched, I get a window with Windows in it and its own virtual hard drive with its own Program Files and plug-ins. The only non-authentic part of the experience is that the default desktop is not teletubby land. I am using it to test the CLIPS website on IE6, while I have IE7 installed on my non-virtual machine. I have been using javascript to allow CLIPS to have a draggable screen resizing widget and getting familiar with some of the cross-browser compatibility issues that that entails. It should go live shortly.

I wonder whether it would be safer to surf the web with the virtual copy of Windows, avoiding any viruses or nasties that way.

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