Will Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac 7.0 run faster or slower than previous version?

“Following an extended delay, Microsoft has finally begun manufacturing version 7.0 of its Virtual PC for Mac software. It is the first version able to run on a G5 Power Mac. Virtual PC is software that allows Windows programs to run on a Mac. Microsoft didn’t develop the software, but acquired it last year from Connectix Software of the US. The company ran into a problem when it discovered Virtual PC wouldn’t run on Macs powered by the new G5 32/64-bit processors,” David Frith reports for Australian IT. “That’s because the software relied on a feature called… ‘pseudo little-endian mode,’ which was built into G3 and G4 chips but is missing in the G5.”

Frith reports, “Microsoft’s Macintosh business unit… has completely rewritten the Virtual PC code and promises version 7.0 will run Windows on any Mac with a G3, G4 or G5 processor. The software, and the Windows applications that run under it, are also said to run faster. Version 7 is also claimed to be easier to install and more intuitive to use.”

“The claim of faster performance has been challenged by a report on AppleInsider, a website that specialises in rumours and speculation on Apple matters,” Frith reports. “It quotes unnamed sources as saying Microsoft has been forced to strip a number of features, including RAM disk support, from version 7 to get it to market without further delays – and that as a result the software may not run as fast as some users may have come to expect. We shall see. Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac 7.0 is due to hit markets worldwide, including Australia, next month.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Report: Microsoft’s Virtual PC 7 for Mac has features cut, may not run as fast as hoped – September 14, 2004
Bill Gates to Steve Jobs regarding Virtual PC: Checkmate – February 19, 2003

15 Comments

  1. Good old Micros**t, wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

    I hope Windows goes the way of the dinosaur, and soon.

    But then again, what will we have to discuss on these forums?

  2. This should come as no surprise. I’m not sure what M$’ incentive would be to build a version of VirtualPC that could persuade people to just buy a Mac. Frankly, the fact that they’re delivering on it at all kind of surprises me.

  3. In all fairness though (and this is rare for Microsoft) they did have to rewrite the entire code to run on the G5. And after all The Macintosh Business Unit have managed to produce some good software as far as microsoft standards go (many user’s will say that the Mac version of office is better than the windows version)

    I guess we’ll just have to sit and wait.

  4. VPC….

    ahh, I dunno…. I never had the need to run it on any of my Macs, and I really feel for those who cant (or wont) forgo the use of any WinDoze / Micro$oft products…

    but, it seems to me … when Billy Gates strong-armed Connectix and got them to sell assets, including VPC… it was like a scene out of ST-TNG …

    “Resistance is futile… you WILL be assimilated”

  5. “I’m not sure what M$’ incentive would be to build a version of VirtualPC that could persuade people to just buy a Mac”

    Even though Microsoft develop mainly for the PC platform, what you must remember is that Microsoft is a software developer, not a hardware manufacture. VPC is a means of getting a copy of windows on a mac. Microsoft make money from this (and from VPC itself as well)

  6. Well, I hope the new version is faster than Version 6, which is excruciatingly slow at times. For those of us who have certain tools in the corporate environment that we need to use that are only supported or usable on Windows, VPC is a godsend as is Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection client, which I use via VPN to access my system in the office from my Mac’s at home. Microsoft may not be very admirable, or even likable, most of the time, but I do see their Mac Business Unit trying to provide some useful things to us Mac users that make enduring a Windows corporate environment a little less painful. My hat is off to the MBU folks. Keep up the good work!

    Bizarro Jeff

  7. I’m not swallowing the “must rewrite the program for the G5”. NO OTHER 32-bit application HAD to be completely rewritten!! The G5 runs ALL 32-bit code natively… and FASTER than the G4!! MS could have left the original code alone and merely added to it. Eventually they could have written a G5-only code for even greater speed, but it is NOT necessary and no sacrifices needed to be made.

    So, now Microsoft has their usual lame excuse (why people STILL swallow it I don’t know) that it HAD to be rewritten -AND- with so little time we had to leave out parts (sounds like regurgitated Longhorn excuses) and it will run slower.

    Yea.. right.. okay, I believe that…. NOT!!!

    There is no reason, incentive or logic for Microsoft to make an emulator for the Mac platform; their direct competition. The only logical action for Microsoft is to slowly cripple it to the point of uselessness… WHICH THEY ARE DOING!!!!

  8. The story from MS that after they bought VPC from Connectix they “suddenly found out” the G5 did not support pseudo little-endian code is pure BS.

    Microsoft, as a major software developer for the Mac is one of the first organizations to get information on what hardware changes are coming down the road for the Mac.

    I find it completely impossible to believe that MS bought VPC and two months later the announcement of the G5 was a complete surprise.

    Several ISVs announced the same day as the announcements of the G5s that they had new software updates which specifically take advantage of the G5. Is Microsoft claiming Apple kept them in the dark and told everyone else? Absolutely not. However, they foist upon the public the lie that they were surprised by the G5 and its effect on VPC.

    I’ve needed to use VPC for several years. I started with VPC 4 moved to VPC 5 then VPC 6 — all under Connectix. It got better with each revision.

    Then MS bought it and came out with VPC 6.1 which ran Windows XP Professional. VPC 6.1 was (and is) MUCH, MUCH slower than VPC 6. I have run it on two different G4 boxes (one desktop and one laptop) both with one gigabyte of RAM. Thus even giving VPC 6.1 the maximum amount of headroom Microsoft’s point release of 6.1 is much slower than Connectix’s previous VPC 6.

    I never expected VPC (in any form) to run as fast as native Intel or AMD hardware. However, VPC 4, 5 & 6 were quite usable. Microsoft’s VPC 6.1 is tolerable only when absolutely necessary such as when I am on the road and need to use that one program.

    If Microsoft’s VPC 7.0 is not back to the speed of VPC 6.0 on the G4 what is it’s purpose? Certainly it will be faster on a dual processor 2.5 GHz G5, but will it be usable on a 1 GHz G4 laptop?

  9. If VPC on a Mac had greater security, identical features as Windows, and ran as fast as (or faster than) Windows on a PC the next question would be, “Why own a PC?” PC manufacturers would find this news unbearable, especially with the development of 64-bit architecture on the Mac.

    MS bought Connectix not to improve the features of VPC or hasten development of VPC, but to prevent Connectix from making Windows on a PC the laughing stock of modern technology and functionally irrelevant.

    Microsoft is running scared. MS has proved that it is less interested in technological competence and development than it is in its own survival.

  10. VPC 7 was ready months ago. They were just waiting for SP2 to be finalized so they could test it on VPC 7 before it was released.

    I also heard it just will work with XP not with 95-98-ME, 2000-NT or PC Linux.

    My source was someone on the MBU with an online Blog. But what the hell do I know?

  11. I have to agree that the G5 missing feature excuse sounds very thin.

    Thought I read that M$ was using PowerMac G5’s to develop for the next rev of the Xbox for at least the past year?

    Billions spent per year on R&D, and the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.

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