Curtis Johnstone Curtis Johnstone's Personal Blog

September 9, 2010

Windows 7 “XP Mode” Feature

Windows 7 has a great feature called “XP Mode” that is not installed by default, but you can download and install if you have the “Genuine Windows” designation (a valid genuine copy of Windows installed).

“XP Mode” allows you to easily spin-up a Windows XP virtual PC.  The primary intent behind the virtual XP image is for Windows 7 Compatibility Mode – being able to quickly and easily run legacy XP applications that are not supported on Windows 7.  There are many other good uses such as if you are trying new software that you think could contain malware or a virus – you get a clean Windows XP machine every time the virtual image starts.

It is called Windows 7 “XP Mode”:

Key notes:

  • The XP Mode is a 500 Mb file which includes the XP virtual hard disk (.vhd file).
  • You will need Windows Virtual PC which is part of the XP Mode download process.
  • I have successfully used the Windows XP .vhd in Windows 2008 R2 HyperV – just create a new VM and point it to the .VHD.
    • You need to install the Hyper-V integration services: select Media | Insert Integration Services Setup Disk from the Virtual Machine Connection window. Note: you will be prompted to upgrade the HAL for the virtual machine and you will need to uninstall any Virtual PC integration add-On first (it will prompt to do this).
  • The XP Mode can be used on a CPU without hardware virtualization.

The original Windows 7 XP Virtual PC (VPC) for compatibility mode allows you turn on Compatibility Mode for a particular application and it will automatically start the VPC.

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