I finally got around to building some VPC images of Win2k, WinXP and Win2k3 to host VWD and VSTS betas. Boring but the results are very handy. A couple of words to wise however if you're thinking of doing the same.

  1. Use the sysprep utility to allow you to copy the image you've made and use it in tandem with other copies. Sysprep is a neat little utility that resets MAC addresses and SIDs so images on the network don't clash. There are two versions of sysprep - one for Windows 2000 and one for Windows XP \ Windows 2003
  2. Sysprep resets the MAC address of the VPC image so when you next boot that image you might well get an error as it boots stating The network adapter with address "00:00:00:00:00:00" of virtual machine "...." failed to initialize because the address is a null address. I've found two solutions for this problem. They seem to be exclusive of each other, but try them in this order.
    • Open up the vmc file for your new vpc image and assuming you haven't switched off all the ethernet adapters for the image in the VPC Console, you'll see an element in the XML called <ethernet_controller> which relates to your physical network card. This element should contain another one that looks like this:
    <ethernet_controller> 
       <other stuff> 
       <ethernet_card_address type="bytes">0003FFA4F9F2</ethernet_card_address> 
    </ethernet_controller>
    • If there's a problem here, it's that you can't see one because sysprep has removed it. Just add it back in as shown above but add your own MAC address in. VPC usually assigns images MAC addresses beginning with 0003FF, so you need only add the other six hex values to the end of the address. Try just adding a small value to the MAC address of the original VPC image and using that.
    • If that doesn't work, you can also check out this tip from Virtual PC Guy's blog, although it's a little unclear there so I've rewritten it here for clarity.
      1. Open REGEDIT and examine the key value at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002bE10318}\<nnnn>\DriverDesc to locate the desired host adapter where <nnnn> is a four digit number.
      2. Look at the GUID value for the NetCfgInstanceId key value.
      3. Add the DWORD key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VPCNetS2\Parameters\Adapters\<guid> called Flags and set the value to 0 where <guid> is the GUID found in step 2.
      4. Restart the computer.
Hope that helps.