Darth Reed

Now that I have a place to put my quasi-technical babble over at MSDN, the space is reserved for me to spew my political bile and enjoy all things sci-fi. Heh.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Don't get me wrong, I love Virtual PC, but...

Don't get me wrong, I love Virtual PC, but it has issues. The whole point of virtualization is to abstract the hardware out of the equation and enable you to move images around. There are a couple of gotchas in Virtual PC 2004 with that. In creating an image for a BizTalk development environment, I ran into one of these naughty little critters...

After installing the Windows Server 2003, all the spiffy BizTalk prerequisites, Visual Studio .NET 2003, etc, I sysprep-ed the image so that each developer would have to use his own personal MSDN Universal license keys for Windows and Office 2003; sysprep calls all of the other installers (for SQL Server 2000, BizTalk, the service packs, etc) after mini-setup is done because SQL Server and BizTalk do *NOT* rename well. C'est la guerre. All that was good and tested nicely on my Toshiba Tecra M3 (note the Centrino processor) many times.

Then I copied the image to the Dell micro-workstation P4 PCs that the developers will be using... and *KABOOM*. BSOD. I haven't seen a blue screen of death in a long time. They suck. I hope that they at least change the color with Vista, but I digress. The core of the error is someting wacky about an invalid operation or instruction and intelppm.sys and unloaded, blah, blah, blah. After hours of setup time, I'm starting to get irritated.

Turns out that somebody in Redmond in or near the Virtual PC team blogged about a related but this past Monday. Ain't synchronicity grand? At least Google indexes HIS blog properly... See Virtual PC Guy's WebLog : Problems with Intelppm.sys and processr.sys under Virtual PC / Virtual Server.

In order to get around this "special feature," I had to copy an un-sysprep-ed image to a P4, disable the intelppm driver in the registry and then sysprep the image. (Apparently something in sysprep reactivates the feature because it didn't work when I disabled the driver and sysprep-ed on the Centrino before copying to the P4.) One man's bug is another man's feature. Heh. But with help from the Virtual PC Guy, we got it a-werkin'!!

Strike one!

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