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General of Tangerines
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I'm taking networking classes were I'm learning how to use Windows Server 2003.

I need to install Windows 2003 on my PC so I can work on the assignments.

I don't want to wreck my PC where my duo Windows XP/Windows 98 SE works perfectly now.

I decide to go with emulation software to install Windows 2003.

There are two out there on the market: VMware and Virtual PC 2004.

Which one do you guys recommend for speed and compatibility?
 

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I've been using VMWare and it's working fine with various version of many popular OS.
The speed hit is very minimal (aside from the obvious memory sharing between the host and guest system).

Haven't had the chance to test Virtual PC but I hear it's fine too.
 

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Foundry/Foundation
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they're both good. I think VMWare is a little more advanced with network bridging and all that, whereas VirtualPC simply makes the virtual computer a new pc in your network.
VMWare sometimes does weird things to your sound card, but you can simply choose not to use that part; anyways, they're both good.... Depending on what you do one may be faster than the other. Lots of memory in your PC is definately a pro...
I have a slight preference for Virtual PC but both of them will do fine.
If you're ever gonna try Linux though, VMWare works better with that. Actually MS did even remove some Linux-specific stuff from Virtual PC when they took it over from Connectix. Silly, but true.
As BeNool says, VMware works under many popular Operating Systems; you can also run your image on a linux machine, etc. Of course, there's no Linux version of Virtual PC. There is a MAC one though (it originated on MAC).
One final note: Virtual PC works better with games ;) ...but you weren't looking for that.
 

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Prepare for Descent...
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Both programs are quite good so it'll be tough to decide which one to go for. For what you want to do with it, I'd go with VMWare because its networking capabilities are better than VPC imo (since in VMWare, you can create teams where only those virtual machines are "connected" to each other). My only issue with VMWare is the same with Samor's, where VMware takes control of the master volume control on the host and that gets annoying if you are playing music on the host already :p But luckily, you don't even to have sound enabled so you won't care about that issue.

Only upside to VPC that I can see is that it works better if you're running DOS (since it emulates better devices for audio/video)...

Bottom Line, go with VMWare.
 

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Okama Way!
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As others have said, the differance for the most part is minimal anyway, I haven't used VMware much but I hear it's fine.

Either way, when I took a networking course at college I was given a copy of VPC for free. If you get a chance to get a free copy of one then choose that, no point spending extra cash for very little gain. If not then you should probably use whichever software they are using in your class, that will allow you to do stuff with it at home and transfer it to class via flash drive, or vice-versa.
 

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RZetlin, i had to do the same thing last year for school. Teachers wanted us to install Win2003 for our network class. They suggested us to use VMWare and thats what we did. it worked perfectly.

ohhh and once Win2003 is installed in vmware, enable Hardware Acceleration in the windows 2003 installation. iirc its disabled by default...
 

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MS took over VPC? Man am I delayed... :D

VMWare. Much more powerful and much more stable. Things might have changed with MS around fiddling with VPC, but my money's on VMWare nonetheless.
 

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He's watching you.
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I tested both and i have to say that VMware is better by far.
 

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Emulation to the max!
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VMWare is far better but it may mess up your networking as it adds some network bridges for net connection which your pc may use instead of your onboard one. it did at least for me when i tried to play lan games. Eithier way your computer will run slow trying to run an operating system on an operating system not to mention you will only get a generic video card which means no 3D or directx or opengl applications will function properly (if at all). An unfourtunate problem with these kinds of programs.
 
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