When you’re using Windows XP Mode in Windows 7, you’ll likely need to access files on your host (Windows 7) machine. Luckily, Windows Virtual PC makes this really easy and there’s not much you have to do. In this guide, I’ll show you how to access your files in the intended way and also show you a trick that will make file sharing between the two operating systems even easier. Specifically, this guide covers the following topics:
- Basic file sharing.
- Customizing file sharing.
- Sharing removable devices (USB drives.)
- Send files to your host machine via the “Send to” menu.
Note: A couple of weeks ago, we asked you if you used Windows XP Mode and many of you responded by saying you didn’t know about it so we wrote this guide: What are Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode and How Do I Use them? This is a good place to start if you’re new to Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode.
If you get to the end of this guide and still have questions about Windows Virtual PC or XP Mode, please ask them in the Windows 7 forum.
Basic File Sharing
Windows Virtual PC doesn’t support sharing of individual folders (unless you mount a folder as a drive) and, instead shares whole drives (including network drives.) If you open My Computer in Windows XP Mode, you should see all your drives in the Other section:
As you add and remove drives from the host machine (Windows 7), you’ll see the drives are dynamically changed in Windows XP Mode (if you’d like to change this behavior, see the “Customize file sharing” section.)
Customize File Sharing
If you don’t want certain drives showing up in XP Mode (for security, order etc.), you can change the options in Windows Virtual PC’s settings. To do this:
- ClickTools > Settings…
- In the left-hand menu, click Integration Features.
- From there you can select the drives you’d like to share (and also disable dynamic adding and removing of drives in Windows XP Mode.)
Share Removable Devices (USB Drives)
Windows Virtual PC also does a great job of sharing removable devices like USB thumb drives, external drives etc. To access a USB drive in Windows XP Mode:
- On the host machine (Windows 7), open Computer,and verify the drive letter associated with the USB drive i.e. “G”
- Go to the guest machine (Windows XP), open My Computer, and open the drive, under Other,with the same letter:
- Browse the drive as you would if were on your host PC.
Send Files to Your Host Machine via the “Send to” Menu
If you want to transfer files to your host machine frequently (i.e if you’re using Office on the XP machine and want to send your documents to your “X” drive:
- In Windows XP Mode, open My Computer, type %userprofile%\sendto in the address bar, and press Enter.
- Right click a blank space in the folder and click New > Shortcut.
- In the Type the location of this item field, enter the destination location on your Windows 7 machine. (e.g. \\tsclient\x to send to the X drive.)
- Give the shortcut a name:
- Now you can right click files and click Send To > LabelName.
Voila! The file is now on your host machine.
What did I miss? What other tricks do you have for Windows Virtual PC file sharing?