How-To Geek

How to Change the Virtual Machine Boot Device in Virtual PC


If you’re trying to install an OS or are testing out boot disks, you might be wondering how to change the boot device. Here’s the quick and easy technique to change it.

What we’re going to do is go into the virtual machine’s BIOS and tweak it there.

Tweaking the Boot Device

First, click on the Ctl+Alt+Del button in your virtual machine so it can reboot.


When the POS comes up (as shown in the image below), you should press the Esc key until you bet into the BIOS menu.


Once in the BIOS menu, navigate using your left and right arrow keys until you get to the Boot menu.


Press Enter on Boot Device Priority and you will see a menu to select your primary booting device.


Use your + and – keys to select your primary boot device. Assuming you will use a CD, DVD or ISO file, you should select your CDROM device as 1st Boot Device.

Then press F10 to save and exit and you will see a screen like this:


After you confirm your changes, your virtual machine will boot and you will be able to begin your installation.

  • Published 04/18/11

Comments (4)

  1. Kari

    This article is surprisingly far from your usual good standards. Too little explained, and even that a bit wrong.

    1) When no OS is installed, Virtual PC vm automatically boots from CD/DVD or ISO selected (vm settings > DVD drive). Absolutely no need to change boot order.

    2) CTRL+ALT+DEL as shown in the article naturally reboots only when no OS is installed. When an OS installed, it opens Task Manager (XP vm’s) or Switch User screen (Vista and 7 vm’s).

    3) When an OS is installed and integration features enabled (as for instance by default in XP Mode vm’s), booting to BIOS is not possible. In order to boot to BIOS the Virtual PC integration features must first be disabled (Tools menu > Disable Integration Features) and thereafter rebooted (Action menu > Restart). During the POST user must then hit the DEL key to invoke BIOS.



  2. The Geek


    You’re right, I didn’t do my regular editing job correctly. The idea was for non-integrated virtual machines to boot from a CD or ISO.

  3. Donald E. Flood


    Option 1 did not work for me recently, when I installed a Windows 98 virtual machine on my Vista desktop. I had to do exactly what “The Geek” said to get things going. I understand that Option 1 *should* have worked; it did not.


  4. Taft

    My son has a laptop, windows 7 – 64 bit. It totally crushed. The screen is black from the beginning with no BIOS, or brand name appearing. The harddrive lit works,but nothing happens. When I remove the hard drive and connect to a similar laptop. It has a virus that won’t allow me to enter. It goes through its function, then its stop that “c” drive cannot continue. Do I need to rebuild the laptop to its entirety, motherboard and all. Any direction is appreciated. Thank you.

    I am impress with the web site. Many thanks.

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