I have been converting my current client’s development environment to a VPC instead of taking over my main machine as we did to get the project kicked off. I decided to go with Windows Virtual PC now that it has RTMed, but quite a bit has changed.
Once I had Windows 7 installed and VS 2008 configured, I started looking for a multiple monitor solution for VPCs. In the past, I had just lived with the limitation of running virtual and not getting the benefit of dual monitors. This time I wanted something else.
The solution everyone was talking about a few years ago was MaxiVista, but once Vista when live and they started having problems with the new driver model, I wrote them off, however they are definitely back (I don’t know how long since they have had a Vista solution) but their latest version works with Windows 7. (MaxiVista is a product that will extend your monitor to another computer and it’s monitors using the network)
Most examples will say run two VPC and use on as a slave monitor to MaxiVista and put each one on a different monitor fullscreened. That will definitely work, but puts a much larger footprint on my machines RAM than I want to. So I decided to treat the VPC as the host MaxiVista server and my main machine as the slave viewer. Then I configured the viewer to use only my secondary monitor that the host VPC does not reside on and then it worked! Sort of.
You have to disable the pointer integration with VPC to get the monitor to work because you don’t want your host PC taking the mouse away from the VPC since it is extending the monitor, so like VPC 2007, you just need to configure the VPC’s settings through Console to turn off Pointer Integration right? Nope. For some reason they took that feature away, but left it in the .VMC configuration file. So open up your .VMC in Notepad and change the XML to turn the mouse off.
You will most likely have to disable the Interaction Settings as well, but MaxiVista states it has a clipboard syncing feature that should work.
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I have only used this configuration for a few hours and so far I like it, HOWEVER, I tend to like everything a lot at first. Heck I still like my Windows Mobile 6.5 HTC Pure (even though app wise, Windows Marketplace is like going to Circle-K for groceries instead of the Super Market). I will hopefully post a few follow up posts about this topic as I use it more and more.