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Situation

I am an end-user who demands the highest from my IT and do rely on it to maintain the day-to-day running of my household and use it for everything from watching television (on a media-center PC via a media center extender) through to paying household bills and monitoring household running costs.

The Problem

I have historically been using a piece of software in a Windows XP environment, very successfully, to scan and archive various household invoices and similarly important paperwork. Recently having implemented an upgrade to Windows Vista I found that the package I use is not supported and indeed will not install in a Windows Vista environment.

The Proposed Solution

I decided to set up a virtual environment so that I could have a virtual PC running Windows XP Pro so I could keep my original software as there is no upgrade available. The problem with Microsoft Virtual PC is that it has no USB support and so my scanner would not work in the virtual environment. Therefore I decided to create the virtual PC using Virtualbox which is a virtualization software package developed by Sun Microsystems. Virtualbox does have USB support and therefore I was hopeful that my scanner would work. However when I had created the Virtual PC I became aware that Virtualbox running on a Vista x64 environment will not support USB through to a virtual x86 environment.

The Actual Solution

I discovered USB over Network from Fabulatech which enables a USB device to be shared over a network.

Share USB Scanner

So by installing the server-side software on the Windows Vista PC and the client-side software on the virtual PC enables me to use the scanner which is connected to the Vista machine from my XP (virtual) PC over the network. Because USB over Network makes the device visible on the virtual PC as a true USB device under the device manager I am able to install and run all the associated software which came bundled with the scanner and have managed to save the cost of having to buy a dedicated network scanner in order to be able to continue to use my chosen software package.

Tony Mole,
UK

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