Keeping a clean XP machine

Bill Marriott wjm at
Sat Mar 29 15:03:30 EDT 2008


> What would you suggest?

There is a completely free and extremely easy solution for you to have a 
testbed XP system that is always going to be clean:

1) Download Virtual PC 2007


2) Download the "Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image"


Virtual PC is software that will create a "computer within a computer." You 
can run Windows XP and even some Linux distributions within it. Not only 
that, but you can set an option such that changes to the system are not 
recorded to disk. You never have to re-load an image. Just quit Virtual PC 
and the next time you run it, the system is in factory condition again.

The IEACVPC Image is a *pre-activated* copy of Windows along with Internet 
Explorer. You can choose between Windows XP SP2 with IE6/IE7/IE8 or Windows 
Vista with IE7/IE8. The software is intended to make it easier for people to 
test out web pages under the various configurations, but it works extremely 
well for testing out other software.

Using these images enables you to run various configurations of Windows 
instantly, without the time-consuming process of backing up and restoring 
drives. Just choose which OS you want from a menu. If your machine is 
powerful enough, you can even run multiple virtual computers at once. Again, 
there is no cost for either of them.

You don't say whether you are using an Intel-based Mac, but if you are, you 
have the option of using either VMWare Fusion or Parallels as a "clean" 
testbed, and you can specify that these virtual machines do not have access 
to the Internet. I have not tried to run Virtual PC within VMWare yet, but 
that would be a delightfully geeky/fun project to try some day.

This software is so useful, I highly recommend it for anyone who builds 
software for distribution on Windows.

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