Found a few postings on this and all the information I found was scattered across several websites. I take no credit for this other than taking the time to do a few screenshots. It's a lot more useful to the community than one might think. I posted this for my friends on a small BBS and at least 3 people since have been 'playing around' in Ubuntu so here ya go. It's much more comprehensive and end user friendly than any I've seen yet.
*** WARNING ****
Do not attempt to make any changes to your operating system without fully understanding and accepting that if you screw up, you get to start from scratch. This tutorial involves editing files and folders independent from your Operating system and is relatively safe.
From this point, we'll assume your running Windows 7 and have Virtual PC installed. And before anyone thinks "Hey, what about VMWare or blah blah blah", don't clutter this thread, if they want to do that, they'll Search for Ubuntu on VMWare :wink)
**** Begin Tutorial *****
I wanted to run a couple linux apps without rebooting my machine. What follows is an exploration in self mutilation and approaches voluntary masochism. I have discovered that while patience is a virtue, there is nothing virtuous about her. After reading over and over article after article on how you can't use Microcrap's built in Virtual PC for Windows 7, you have to use 3rd party to run a Linux VM. I called ******** and found some lingering threads buried deep within the ubuntu forums. This example is kind of thorough although it lacks the ease of use for people who don't know what they are doing.
A little primer on virtual machines. A virtual machine is a translatable snapshot of an operating system that will play on any machine. It does so by providing a known set of generic hardware with varying levels of complexity based on which OS is running on which machine. In this example, a copy of Ubuntu Linux 10.04 (lucid-32bit) is being run within a window on a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit machine.
Now for the why don't you just set up a dual boot machine and take full advantage of the power of the penguin. Well, it's not that easy, for a multitude of reasons. The biggest is convenience. I have instant access to files updated on either machine within the other, without the wait of a reboot just a quick ALT-TAB. I'm also not stuck to just terminal linux commands through a telnet session to another box. I rarely go beyond the terminal prompt in normal testing, however there are some network tools and testing consoles that I prefer in Linux. And yes, I do have a dual boot option should I want to flaunt my super 64-bit penguin power.
So, on with the story... After spending nearly a day trying this and that and seeing who did what and what wasn't working on my machine, it boiled down to what can Windows Virtual PC do, what hardware does it present to an operating system when it's enhancements are turned completely off (coincidence they would only support RedHat linux? I think not, see approved government operating systems).
When getting setup to start your image, you need a few large downloads, and you need to make your list before you start the process, so you can walk away and watch some tube or mow the lawn.
Files needed to get you started: (these will not change typically)
Microsoft Virtual PC
There will most likely be 3 downloads for this. The upside is you get a "free copy" of windows XP professional out of it.
The next file you will need is an ISO of the version of Linux you would like
I chose Ubuntu 10.04 32bit, but this will work on most debian kernels
I do not recommend 64 bit linux anything at this point unless you dual boot only, it's problematic.
Do not burn the ISO to a DVD or CD (I'll explain why later)
Okay, we have all we need downloaded to a common location that we remember right? Great, let's get started installing Microsoft Virtual PC.
If your install is similar to mine, you'll install in this order:
Of course change to -i386 if your running 32 bit Windows 7.
Now that we have this installed, reboot the computer, after you log back in, check for windows updates by start button and type 'wuauclt /detectnow' without the quotes. Install any updates and reboot yet again.
Now we've prepped the computer for adding Virtual PC's. If you want to see what a virtual machine will be like, you can go ahead and run the Windows XP Mode and see how nifty it is to have a clean system to try software on (that's isolated from your real system of course.)
Now on to creating some penguin powered windows. Open Windows Virtual PC. You will see a file explorer type of window with the option to Organize, Include in library, Share with, Burn, Create virtual machine, New folder.
Select 'Create virtual machine'
This will open up a wizard that we will use to setup the environment for Linux. Because this is not a Microsoft innovation, we want it to be as stable as possible.
Type in the name you'd like to use, something to identify the OS you intend to install, I used AnotherOS but I would choose something more memorable, especially if you plan on creating multipe VM's
The Location should be set for you, although you may put it on another Hard Drive if you would like (perhaps you don't want to allocate space on your SSD and prefer it on your SATA drive)
Now for RAM, this is the amount of ram that will be reported to the new operating system, in this example I chose 512, I would recommend at least 1024 if you plan on doing anything graphically intense. For the most part, this will be a chunk of real memory that Windows 7 will not be able to use while the virtual machine is active. You don't want to set it to 3096 if you only have 4096 available and then try to run Autocad on Windows 7 and open your pocket Linux to do some geological survey conversions.
Networking, just leave this checked, we'll address this later. On with the show
We want to create a virtual hard disk using advanced options. NEXT Choosing Fixed size because we want this to be as stable as possible.
As far as name and location, it's typically simpler to keep it the same. It will have a different extension so NEXT.
Now we specify a size. For reference, a typical Linux install, including swap drive portion is around 5gb (assuming you end up installing nearly every package available). I chose 16384 because that was the number that popped up and it was big enough to download nearly anything I could ever want to.
Now we are ready to hit Create. You should see this screen
and assuming everything happens like it's supposed to, you may close the window.