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Getting Power and Performance from Your Virtual PC

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What are those icons on the bottom of the Virtual PC window? How can I make Windows run more efficiently on my Virtual PC? Is there any way to tune it? How do I exchange data between the iMac and the emulated PC? John Traenkenschuh has the answers.
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The first article of this series showed how quickly and easily you can set up Virtual PC on an iBook. I walked you through the basic requirements and steps, and concluded by running Windows XP and Internet Explorer—from a Mac. I was even able to view my work's email system. How cool is that?

But there's so much more to explore with this tool. For example, there are lots of ways to tune the performance of Virtual PC. Running the software as is, with no tuning, is okay for supporting one virtual instance on a computer with minimal RAM. But how do you support several running instances, each using the same network interface and other shared peripherals? This article shows the tricks needed to tune Virtual PC and the Windows XP operating system to get the most from your, systems.

Step 1: Keep Up with Updates

Virtual PC is the foundation for all other operating systems running on your iBook, so it's important to stay up to date. In part 1 of this series, we encountered some Virtual PC conflicts with Tiger. Several functions didn't work. This is not uncommon; in fact, one of the best habits you can get into is to check for updates regularly. And if you actually break down and install them—all the better.

Virtual PC for Mac updates come from the Mactopia section of Microsoft's web site. Going to the site, I note a $30 rebate until September 30, 2005. That's good news. But what interests me most is the big-letter notice "Virtual PC Update Now Available." How long I've waited for this!

The Apple Mac OS X software site also has this and other key updates available. A query in the search bubble is the best way to locate your update quickest.

Isn't this update installed through the Tiger System Update function? No, many software functions require manual updates or use of the vendor's separate update tool.

Having installed the latest update, we're ready to make XP run more efficiently.

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