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I'm developing a website inside a Ubuntu Karmic VirtualBox machine. I've got some of the front-end design done, and I wanted to test it in some other browsers, so I downloaded Microsoft's Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images. I loaded one of these machines in VirtualBox, but while they would initially run, they consider VirtualBox to be a different machine from the VirtualPC they're accustomed to, which triggers Windows' activation lockdown, rendering the machines useless. This means I'm forced to run the IE machines in VirtualPC.

When I tried starting VirtualPC while my VirtualBox machine was running, the VirtualBox instance crashed hard. Apparently the two VMs don't play nice together.

I tried converting my existing VirtualBox into a VHD for VirualPC, but although it makes it to GRUB, the operating system refuses to load.

It seems my only option at this point is to do any design on a shared host I have. While this could work while I do the HTML+CSS parts (though even that could be a major hassle), once I get to the point where I need to test the JavaScript (which would need the PHP backend), it would probably become more hassle than it's worth.

Is there any way to massage VirtualBox and VirtualPC into playing nice together, or is it simply impossible due to the way these programs work?

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You are presenting a very tough (if not impossible) situation where by the nature of the hypervisors, they are basically designed to conflict as they both try to manage the same resources of the same physical system (memory, cpu, etc.). The following thread on the VirtualBox forum may help as it discusses the possibility of running nested hypervisors.

It is not running them side-by-side, but may still address your situation of running the dislike VM images simultaneously although not necessarily in a parallel plane.

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