Running the Microsoft All Up BI 7.1 VPC on an external hard drive

Yesterday I decided to check out a VPC (Virtual Personal Computer) image that Microsoft offers as a free download.  I found links to the Microsoft All Up BI VPC 7.1 on Russell Christopher’s blog. 

http://performancepointblog.com/2008/12/all-up-bi-vpc-71-available-for-public-download/

This VPC contains everything you would ever want related to Microsoft BI.  SQL Server 2005, PerformancePoint, SharePoint, ProClarity, Office 2007, etc.  Hmm, I wonder when they’ll create an updated VPC with SQL Server 2008…

Anyway, I haven’t had much time to play around with it yet, but I did want to share a minor obstacle I had to overcome to get the VPC running.  I wanted to copy all the VPC files to my Western Digital My Passport 250 GB external hard drive.  However, I kept receiving an error that the drive was out of space.  This left me scratching my head because I could see I had over 230 GB of free space.  After some discussion with a co-worker, we decided I needed to reformat the external hard drive.  It comes out of the package formatted using FAT32.  FAT32 can only handle up to a 4 GB file.  That’s why I was receiving an out of space error.  So, I copied the contents of my external hard drive to my laptop (which is running Windows XP), and then opened up Computer Management by right clicking on “My Computer” and selecting “Manage”.  From here you can find “Disk Management” under “Storage”.  Select the correct drive for your external hard drive and format using NTFS.  I didn’t time how long it took, but it sure seemed like about an hour or so.  Once complete, my hard drive could store the VPC.  From that point, it wasn’t long before I was up and running.  Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to snag some more RAM for my laptop, because 2 GB of RAM is simply not enough!  I found some tips on a blog for speeding up the All Up VPC version 6, but I haven’t tried them out yet.  Another task for another day.  http://performancepointing.blogspot.com/2008/07/speeding-up-all-up-bi-vpc.html

By the way, older operating systems won’t be compatible with NTFS.  From what I’ve read, it sounds like Windows 95/98/Me won’t recognize NTFS.  So, if you’re running an older operating system, be sure to do your homework prior to reformating your external hard drive.

– ez