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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:

Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 01

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.)

Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 02

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:

  1. ClickTools > Settings…

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 03

  2. In the left-hand menu, click Integration Features.
  3. 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 Files Using Windows XP Mode 04

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:

  1. On the host machine (Windows 7), open Computer,and verify the drive letter associated with the USB drive i.e. “G”

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 05

  2. Go to the guest machine (Windows XP), open My Computer, and open the drive, under Other,with the same letter:

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 06

  3. Browse the drive as you would if were on your host PC.

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 07

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:

  1. In Windows XP Mode, open My Computer, type %userprofile%\sendto in the address bar, and press Enter.

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 08

  2. Right click a blank space in the folder and click New > Shortcut.

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 09

  3. 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.)

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 10

  4. Give the shortcut a name:

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 11

  5. Now you can right click files and click Send To > LabelName.

    Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 12

Voila! The file is now on your host machine.

Share Files Using Windows XP Mode 13

What did I miss? What other tricks do you have for Windows Virtual PC file sharing?

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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  • Posadka

    Hi, I am helplessly trying to make my Windows 7 and XP mode to work together but everything you claim here doesn’t seem to work. Anytime I click on drive C from my host Acer comp in the XP mode the computer stalls and would not do anything. This is definitely not as simple as you portray.
    If you can give me more hints I would greatly appreciate it.
    Danny Posadka,

    • Rich

      Does your hardware meet the minimum requirements for XP Mode? If so, have you tried increasing the RAM allotted to XP Mode?

  • Richard

    Where Could I find more information using XP Mode. In order to use my scanner every time i open Xp mode i have to reconett it as a usb device. How can i conect is automaticly

  • joe

    What about from Host to Guest transfer?

  • cyberpine

    why can’t I ping my windows 7 host name from my xp mode virtual?

    Also, I have 3 usb printers under my 7 host, and can see those printers under the usb tab, and when I click on them it installs drivers every time, but still no printers under XP. Also, I can’t seem to navigate to \windows7hostname only \tsclient, but no pritners show up there.

    I beleive i have windows 7 sharing configured correctly and have both machines on the same workgroup.

    What am I missing here?

  • KC

    Great information – thanks! Just a note that %userprofile%sento is missing the “d” in send, so if users are copying the link to their address bar, they should add the “d.” (%userprofile%sendto.” This worked great for me – I selected a path to the ‘documents’ folder on the host drive and it worked perfectly! Thanks again!

    • Rich

      KC – Thanks for the feedback. I’ve updated the guide.

  • AdamD

    Inside ‘Xp Mode’ the toolbar doesn’t show the ‘Tools’ menu option.
    I had to find the ‘Manage Virtual Machines’ option under my Windows Virtual PC icon.
    Then right click ‘Windows XP Mode’, choose settings.
    From there I had a list of settings for my XP, including ‘Integration Features’ which let
    me choose which Windows 7 drives to auto-share with my XP mode.

  • Rich

    I know of no way to do this as the file system is contained within VM files. I would imagine there’s software for this purpose but I’m not aware of any.

    • Matthew Amsel

      In the same theme, is there a way to use software installed in the host system (win7) from the VM? I’m in a corporate environment and IT is… tetchy about having multiple installs of the same program on one machine.

    • John Henderson

      You can mount the VHD in Windows 7 and access all the files of the VM that way. Go to Disk Management (in Computer Management), and select Attach VHD more the More Actions menu. It will then appear as another HDD drive that you can access as normal.

  • Evil MindFrame

    Thank you.. Very helpful and easy.

  • Evil MindFrame

    Thank you.. Very helpful and easy.

  • glire

    We need sharing files the other way:
    From Win7 host, how to access files on the virtual XP mode drive C: ?

  • Edward Bear

    How do I set up read/write access? I installed Quicken98 on my virtual XP because Win7X64 won’t even install it, but when I sent it off to a drive to get the data, it said “could not open file”.

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