Getting Vista on My Virtual Machine

As a part of testing the internal apps for Microsoft, we have to test them against all of the upcoming versions of their OS and Office. So, this means that I need to create an environment that contains Vista and Office 12. The concept isn’t all that strange, it really makes great sense. The company will eventually be switching over to this platform, so testing on it is pretty much a requirement, and it is.

As such, I’ve been tasked with creating a Virtual Machine using Virtual PC 2004 SP1. Again, the idea is easy enough and the steps needed are pretty straightforward. I get my copy of Vista from an internal share and I make my Virtual Machine from it. Well, this is where the first kink came into play. I had all of the files, but Virtual PC requires either a CD/DVD in your optical drive, a mounted ISO, or an ISO mounted using a tool like Daemon Tools. So, after realizing that I didn’t have a DVD burner at my disposal, I was onto making an ISO image. This proved to be much more difficult than necessary.

I had two tools that I could use to make the tool and the first one errored out for a reason I don’t understand. I mean, with an error message like “Generic error message”, you really have no clue. So, it was off to using a Microsoft tool to create the ISO via the command line. Great! This worked! Now, let’s mount that on the virtual machine. Oooh, yea, sorry buddy, we don’t think that’s a well formed ISO. Why? Well, because it’s not in 2K blocks. Doh. I don’t even know how to go about fixing that. So, off to get Daemon Tools.

After what seemed to be 4 restarts, Daemon Tools was installed. Finally. The image mounted and I thought I was ready to go. So, off to booting from the DVD Image… or so I thought. Ends up it doesn’t like to be booted from. So, I need an alternative. So, I grab a premade Vista Beta 2 Virtual Machine. It would be great if I was to test on this, my work would be done, but we’re required to test on a newer build. So, I start it up to re-install over it. But, it is in sysprep. Basically, it would need to install then I could wipe it. So, opting against watching an install of an OS that I’ll never need, I stop it and grab a Virtual Machine I made months ago and use that to start the install process. Perfect. Now, we’re in business.

So, about five hours after I’ve started I am finally installing Vista. I just hope that my virtual hard drive has enough space to hold the install. If it doesn’t, I guess I’ll need another alternative. Let’s hope my Office 12 install goes much better.