Overview of the technical specifications of virtual machines in Virtual PC 2004

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This article lists the technical specifications of virtual machines in Microsoft Virtual PC 2004.
The following technical specifications apply to virtual machines in Virtual PC 2004.

Floppy disk drive

  • Uses a standard floppy disk drive.
  • Emulates the standard floppy disk drive controller interface.
  • Supports floppy disk image files (720 kilobyte [KB] or 1.44-MB flat-mapped files).


  • American Megatrends BIOS (AMIBIOS).
  • Supports Advanced Power Management (APM) 1.2 and Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI).


  • Uses the physical computer's CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (if a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive is present).
  • Supports CD-ROM image files (.iso).
  • The Advanced Technology Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI) interface supports data and audio commands.
  • On the emulated CD-ROM/DVD-ROM device, you cannot write to CD or to DVD.

Hard disk images

  • Uses hard disk container images.
  • Supports the following types of hard disk images:
    • Dynamically-expanding images
    • Fixed-size images
    • Differencing images
    • Images that are linked to host drives
  • Compatible with hard disk images that are created with earlier versions of Virtual PC.
  • Supports the use of three drive images at the same time. Each drive image can be up to approximately 127 gigabytes (GB).


Uses the standard computer keyboard.

Keyboard controller

Emulates an 8255 keyboard controller for interface between the virtual machine and the keyboard, and between the virtual machine and the mouse.


Supports a maximum of 3.6 gigabytes (GB) of RAM per virtual machine.


Emulates the Intel 440BX chipset, including all the auxiliary chips that are required:
  • 8259 programmable interrupt controller (PIC)
  • 8254 peripheral interval timer (PIT)
  • 8237 direct memory access (DMA) controller
  • CMOS RAM (persistent RAM)
  • Real-time clock (RTC)


  • Emulates a PS/2 mouse by using IRQ 12.
  • Supports IntelliMouse extensions for scrolling.

Parallel port

  • Emulates the LPT1 parallel port.
  • Redirects emulated LPT1 output to a specified parallel port on the physical computer.


The emulated environment "sees" the same processor model as the processor of the physical computer. For example, if the physical computer contains a Pentium III processor, the guest operating system reports that it runs on a Pentium III processor. The virtual machine supports the same functionality that is available on the processor of the physical computer.

Serial ports

  • Emulates COM1 and COM2 serial ports.
  • Redirects the emulated COM1 and COM2 ports to a specified serial port on the physical computer or to a text file.
  • Supports debugging through COM ports by using named pipes.


  • Emulates a Creative Labs ISA Sound Blaster 16 sound card.
  • Supports digital signal processing functionality (sound effects) and FM synthesis functionality (music).


  • Emulates the S3 Trio 32/64 PCI Super VGA (SVGA) card.
  • Implements 8 MB of emulated video random access memory (VRAM) for a maximum screen resolution setting of 1600 x 1200.
  • Fully implements S3 Trio 32/64 graphic acceleration features and is compatible with S3 Trio 32/64 drivers.
  • Supports 1600 x 1024 and 800 x 512 16:9 aspect ratio modes.
  • Backwards-compatible with VGA, monochrome display adapter (MDA), color/graphics adapter (CGA), and enhanced graphics adapter (EGA) video modes.
  • Compliant with VESA 2.0.
Note For a virtual machine to correctly recognize 8 MB of video RAM, the Virtual PC Additions must be installed on the virtual machine.

Network adapter

Virtual PC emulates a multifunction Intel/DEC 21140 Ethernet controller chip for each virtual machine.The emulated controller is responsible for managing Ethernet network packets for any virtual machines that may be running and for interfacing with the physical computer’s Ethernet controller.The emulated controller supports the five most common varieties of Ethernet packets:
  • IEEE 802.2
  • IP
  • ARP
  • Novell IPX
  • Novell IPX 802.3
For these packets, both unicast and multicast are supported.As a multifunction card, the Ethernet controller that is emulated by Virtual PC can present up to four individual network interfaces to each virtual machine.
For additional information about how to install the Virtual PC Additions, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
833139 How to install Virtual PC Additions on a guest PC
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Article ID: 833144 - Last Review: 12/08/2015 05:39:26 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Virtual PC 2004

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