Windows 7 was released only a few days ago and now they have released to the public, Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode. This allows users who still are running legacy applications that won’t work with Windows 7 to still run in a Virtual Environment. The nice thing about this feature is that it allows you to run the application as a seamless integrated window, just like any other running application. In case some of you were wondering this pretty much the same as a Published Application from Citrix Metaframe.
Now… if you like the sound of Windows XP Mode you are going to need to check that you pass some pre-requisites.
1. You computer’s CPU must support hardware virtualisation.
To find out if your CPU can handle hardware virtualisation then go to HERE and run the Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool. If your computer does support HW assisted Virtualisation you should then see a screen like this.
If you are running an AMD CPU then you are almost certain to be fine however if you are running Intel then your chances are not going to be good as Intel’s support for HW virtualisation has not been as consistent.
2. You must be running Windows 7 professional (32bit or 64bit) or greater. Yes this is a licensing restriction of the product but this feature is aimed at small business that are probably are running the professional any way.
3. RAM – More is better, remember you are running another completely separate copy of Windows XP on your computer on top of what Windows 7 needs. Microsoft official stance is that you need at least 2gb RAM leaving 1gb for the main OS and 512mb for the virtual copy of XP. This obviously means you only actually need 1.5gb ram however in this case they have rounded this up as its almost impossible to have that configuration of RAM. Now it is possible to run Windows XP Mode on a computer with only 1gb ram but seriously don’t… just go to your local PC maker and spend the $30 for buy yourself a ram upgrade.
Now that you have checked all your pre-requisites then you are right to head over to Here and download and install Windows Virtual PC and then a copy of Windows XP Mode. Windows Virtual PC is a the virtualisation software that run’s the Virtual OS and the Windows XP Mode is just a simple a copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 configured out of the box with all the necessary integration components installed.
Tip: XP Mode can also be used to run virtual application in operating systems other than Windows XP. This is very handy if you want to install two version’s of the same program that will not run together on the same OS. To do this just install Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate as a virtual PC and then install the integration features. Then install any other application that you want to run in the virtual OS and the short cut will be published to the Windows Virtual PC folder in your start menu.
Warning: You are running XP Mode then be aware you are running a very old operations system and as such you need to make sure that its patches and AV scanner are always kept up to date. The good news is you can now get a free AV Scanner from Microsoft called Microsoft Security Essentials from Here for Windows XP to install in your virtual OS.
Get Windows XP Mode Here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx
Get Microsoft Security Essentials Here: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/default.aspx