Windows 7’s XP Mode or Virtual PC can have issues with video and sound playback.
I recently got a new laptop for work running Windows 7. I like to run virtual machines on my laptop so that I can install software that’s required for my projects without messing up my main windows installation. Those vm images are also easy to back up and move around.
VMware Player worked well, but would not see my USB camera and microphones. It also used fixed disk sizes. So, I tried Win 7’s XP Mode vm and found it easier to use.
XP Mode allows auto disk sizing and supports all the USB devices I could throw at it. However, I noticed videos would have the sound delayed or echoed. After a some research and some experiments, I found the trick to making videos play correctly.
Turn off Audio Integration.
Yep, turn it off. If you were like me, you assumed you need Audio Integration to get the sound from the virtual machine. Not true, Audio Integration created a ‘soft’ or virtual version of your sound device instead of using your full sound card. Turning it off allows XP Mode to talk directly with your sound card.
From the Windows Virtual Mode help file:
Audio. This setting controls whether audio input and output for the virtual machine is redirected to audio devices in the host, or is managed by an emulated audio device. To improve audio performance, clear the check box for a virtual machine running Windows XP, and select the check box for a virtual machine running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
See that? Uncheck the box for audio to improve performance on XP virtual machines. I now can play videos inside my virtual machines. I still see some lag issues if my main PC is doing some work, but otherwise works great.
Note: XP Mode is part of Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate versions, Virtual PC 2007 is available for other versions of windows. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/virtual-pc-2007.aspx