VirtualAcorn FAQ

Does a VirtualAcorn product overwrite Windows?
No. Our products are simply applications that are installed on Windows just like any other application. When you are looking at the RISC OS desktop Windows is still running in the background. You can switch back to Windows any time you want.

Do your products work on Windows 7 or Windows 8?
Yes, all of the Windows versions of VirtualRPC work on Windows 7 & Windows 8. Older copies of VirtualRPC that were purchased some years ago will need to be updated using the free updates available in the updates section of our website.

What spec PC do VirtualAcorn products need?
Take a look at the VirtualAcorn specifications page.

I am thinking of buying a new PC to run a VirtualRPC, what would you recommend?
Take a look at the VirtualAcorn buying a new PC page.

Have their been any reviews of your products?
You can find magazine reviews here. Comments from our customers can be found here.

Do I need to partition my Windows hard disc to run VirtualAcorn?
No, you do not have to partition your drive. VirtualAcorn uses a directory to store programs. RISC OS sees this as a hard disc, but to Windows it is just a directory. As the VirtualAcorn harddisc is just a directory this means that files can be easily opened and manipulated on either RISC OS or Windows.

Will VirtualAcorn run all my RISC OS software?
VirtualAcorn runs a real version of RISC OS, not a clone. If a program runs on a real Acorn computer with the same version of RISC OS as VirtualAcorn, then the program will run on VirtualAcorn. The only exception to this is software that requires specific third party hardware, such as a Dongle, or that requires an expansion podules to be fitted. For example the software to drive a video digitiser podule will not work as the physical podule will not be present and can't be plugged into the PC.

Does VirtualAcorn come with BBC BASIC?
Yes.

How fast does VirtualAcorn run?
This depends on the speed of your PC. The original RiscPC delivered around 30 mips (million instructions per second). As a general rule of thumb the newer the PC, the faster VirtualAcorn will run. For example even an old 1Ghz Pentium 3 will run RISC OS faster than a real RiscPC. A modern Corei5 processor can run RISC OS many times faster than any "real" RISC OS machine. Speed will also depend on other factors. A stand alone graphics card will be faster than integrated graphics. A machine with DDR3 memory will be faster than a machine with DDR2 memory.

Can VirtualAcorn read Acorn format floppies?
VirtualAcorn products can read RISC OS format floppy discs using a normal internal floppy disc drive on Windows 2000, XP, Vista (32bit), Windows 7 (32bit) and Windows 8 (32bit). Our floppy disc driver is not currently signed so will not install on 64 bit versions of Windows 7 or Windows 8 unless the driver checking facility in Windows is disabled. External USB floppy drives cannot be used to read Acorn format floppy discs due to the way the controller chips are designed. Although they can be used by VirtualRPC to read DOS format floppies.

Can VirtualAcorn read CD-ROMs?
VirtualAcorn products can read RISC OS format CDs under Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Can VirtualAcorn read data DVDs?
VirtualAcorn products which come with RISC OS 4.39 or later can read RISC OS format DVDs under Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

How do I get my programs into VirtualAcorn?
See the sections above regarding reading floppies or CDs. DOS formatted floppy discs can be used to transfer files, just make sure you compress files using ArcFS, SparkFS or Zipee before copying them to the floppy disc. VirtualAcorn products can also read Acorn format CDs directly. Versions of VirtualAcorn with RISC OS 4.39 or later can also read RISC OS data DVDs. So if your 'real' Acorn machine has a CD writer you can use writable CDs to transfer data.

All versions of VirtualRPC incorporate networking, so if you have a "real" RISC OS machine and a PC networked together you can transfer files and programs over the RISC OS ShareFS networking system. If your "real" Acorn machine has USB support you can also transfer data using Pen Drives.

I have an Acorn formatted IDE hard disc, can I connect it to the PC and use VirtualAcorn to read the files?
No.

Can VirtualAcorn use a Windows printer?
VirtualAcorn prints out using a RISC OS printer driver. Provided a suitable PDF (Printer Definition File) exists then RISC OS can print to your printer. VirtualAcorn is supplied with a wide range of the latest printer drivers available for RISC OS.

How fast does VirtualAcorn run?
This depends greatly on the spec of your PC. In order to give users some idea we have produced a graph below showing the approximate speed of VirtualAcorn on different speed processors. The figures shown below are based on the result from the BogoMips test program supplied with VirtualAcorn. It is worth pointing put that different processors may yield slightly different results, for example a 2Ghz Core i5 will perform better that a 2Ghz Core i3. It's not the processor speed that's important, it's the type of processor that matters.

As always we should point out that these figures are intended as a guide only and actual performance will vary depending on the hardware you have and on the RISC OS software you are running.

Part 2 - Licence Questions

I have lots of Acorn software, is it okay to use this on VirtualAcorn?
If the software is PD or freeware then of course you can run it on VirtualAcorn without worrying about any breach of licence. If however you have commercial software then you should check the licence you have. For example the licence may only allow the software to be installed on one machine. If so you would need to purchase further copies of the product in question in order to be able to run it on a real Acorn machine, and on VirtualAcorn as well.

I want to run VirtualAcorn on more than one machine, do I need more than 1 copy?
Yes, you will need a copy of VirtualAcorn for each machine.

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 Copyright (c) 2014 3QD Developments Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks are acknowledged. All details are correct at the time of publication, E & OE.
Last Edit Date 30/06/14
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