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x86 Windows CE bootable VHD images for Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1


Applies To

  • Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, SP1
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, SP1
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2


Microsoft Virtual PC provides a scalable solution designed to facilitate the initialisation and operation of multiple operating systems on top of a single base PC/operating system configuration. HPC:Factor has generated bootable versions of a number of Windows CE versions for use against Virtual PC using pre-compiled CEPC images provided by the Microsoft Corporation.

This article discusses the availability of redistributable versions of these Virtual PC images made available in the form of Virtual PC Virtual Hard Disk files (VHD) files.


More Info

HPC:Factor has created a set of sample x86 Virtual PC operating system image for use under Virtual PC 2004 SP1 and Virtual Server 2005/2005 R2. These images can be downloaded immediately from CESDS0119 or use on a compatible Virtual PC enabled PC.

WARNING: These Windows CE platform images are the property of the Microsoft Corporation. No warranty is provided by HPC:Factor or Microsoft for their use or operation. Reverse engineering and de-compilation of the HPC:Factor VHD files or Microsoft Windows CE images is expressly prohibited.

Before attempting to use the Virtual PC images you must ensure that your PC meets the minimum system requirements needed for Virtual PC.

  • Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86); Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • Athlon XP or higher AMD processor, Intel Pentium III or Pentium 4 Recommended
  • 1 GHz or higher recommended
  • 512MB RAM (of which 96MB must be available to the system for each active VPC image)

The Virtual PC Images are based upon the boot environment provided by Caldera OpenDOS/DR-DOS.


In order to setup and configure one of the Virtual PC environments please follow the steps outlined below. Please note that these steps are for use with Virtual PC 2004 SP1. Instructions are not provided for configuring Virtual Server 2005/2005 R2. Users of Virtual Server should consult with the on-line documentation for more information about installing and configuring Virtual Machines.

  1. Download one of the bootable images from CESDS0119
  2. Create a new folder under your Virtual PC VHD store (Virtual PC working directory), usually \My Documents\My Virtual Machines\<%machine name%>\ for the Virtual PC e.g.
    \My Documents\My Virtual Machines\<%machine name%>\
  3. Accept the EULA and inflate the image to the new folder beneath the Virtual PC working directory
  4. Start Microsoft Virtual PC 2004
  5. From the Virtual PC Console click New...
  6. Click Next and then Create a New Virtual Machine
  7. Enter a friendly name to identify the Virtual PC e.g.
    Windows CE .net 4.0 x86
  8. Click Next and Next again to accept the default operating system selection of Other
  9. You can accept the default RAM allocation or lower the setting to 96MB. Setting the RAM quota below 32MB is not recommended.
  10. Click next. Specify that you wish to use an Existing virtual hard disk and then click Next again
  11. Browse for and select the inflated Virtual Hard Disk file from the download package. Do not enable Undo Disks. Click Next to continue
  12. Click Finish to complete the Wizard

You can now booth the Virtual PC. The HPC:Factor distribution package will automatically boot through to the Windows CE environment.

Known problems

  • Virtual PC Additions are not available for Windows CE. Consequently performance optimisations and interoperability enhancements are not available, including cursor integration. To exit from the captive cursor mode, under default settings press and release the right ALT (ALT Gr) key on the keyboard.
  • The Windows CE 4.0 release's are designed for users who have a touch screen enabled PC - for example a Windows XP tablet PC. Visual cursor presence does not exist under the CEPC images, however cursor functionality is enabled.
  • Information cannot be retained after shutdown
  • Virtual PC does not understand the Windows CE suspend command. As a result clicking Start, Standby will not initiate a shutdown sequence on the Ritual PC. To exit or reboot the image use the file menu.
  • HPC2000's display drivers do not support the VESA standard vitalised S3 Trio 32/64 of Virtual PC. As a result, users will only be able to operate the device at the below average resolution of 320x200. This is a known problem in Windows CE 3.0. The HPC:Factor image has attempted to compensate by pixel doubling the display size for some configurations.
  • The Vitalised DEC 21140A 10/100 network adapter in Virtual PC is not properly supported by the Windows CE driver layer. Although documented as being supported, functional pass through support between the pre-boot loader processes and Windows CE itself was never implemented in the x86 image system. As a result, the Virtual PC Network card will not function under the images provided by HPC:Factor. Despite this limitation it is theoretically possible that updated images could be generated from Platform Builder with the correct driver implementation in the future. Proposed changes to future versions of Microsoft Virtual PC/Virtual Server's core may realise a natural solution to this problem. Under such circumstances the HPC:Factor images are configured to detect and provide support for the networking layer.