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. In the past, we showed you how to Windows XP Mode but didn’t really explain the purpose of it. This guide serves as an update to the previous guide; in this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- What is Windows Virtual PC?
- What operating systems can I install with Windows Virtual PC?
- What is Windows XP Mode?
- Why do I need Windows XP Mode?
- What are the system requirements of Windows Virtual PC?
- Where can I download Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode?
- How do I install Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode?
- How do I use Windows XP Mode?
- What else should I know about 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.
What is Windows Virtual PC?
From the Windows Virtual PC Site:
Windows Virtual PC is the latest Microsoft virtualization technology designed for Windows 7. It is the runtime engine for Windows XP Mode to provide a virtual Windows environment for Windows 7. With Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode applications can be seen and accessed from a Windows 7-based PC.
Or, in plain English:
Windows Virtual PC is a program that lets you run, for example, XP while using Windows 7.
What Operating Systems Can I Install Using Windows Virtual PC?
You can safely install any version of Windows. Here are instructions for setting up a virtualized copy of Windows Vista (the same steps apply for creating a Virtual copy of Windows 7.) Keep reading below for instructions on setting up Windows XP Mode, which is a free feature of Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.
What is Windows XP Mode?
From the Windows Virtual PC Site:
Windows XP Mode is a new benefit of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate and provides additional application compatibility. It allows you to install and run many of your productivity applications for Windows XP directly from your Windows 7-based PC. It utilizes virtualization technology, such as Windows Virtual PC, to provide a virtual Windows XP environment for Windows 7.
Again, in plain English:
It’s XP running while you use Windows 7.
Why do I need Windows XP Mode?
You may want to use Windows XP Mode for any of the following reasons:
- You’re forced to use Windows 7 (new PC purchase, company-owner computer) but still want to use XP
- You use a program that doesn’t work with Windows 7, even in compatibility mode
- You want to use a virtual operating system to run software that you wouldn’t trust running on your physical PC
- You want to try XP Mode because it’s there and it came with your Windows 7 Professional / Ultimate license
- A bunch of other reasons I can’t think of or don’t know of
What are the system requirements of Windows Virtual PC?
- 1 GHz 32-bit / 64-bit processor required
- Memory (RAM) – 1.25 GB required, 2 GB memory recommended
- Recommended 15 GB hard disk space per virtual Windows environment
- NB: Windows XP Mode is only available in Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate (how to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 7 Professional)
Where can I download Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode?
Currently, to use Windows XP Mode, you need to download three files:
- Windows XP Mode
- Windows Virtual PC
- Windows XP Mode update
When you download Windows XP Mode, you will be asked to validate your copy of Windows:
Once validation is successful, you can download all three files:
How do I install Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode?
To install Windows XP Mode:
- Double click on WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe (the first file you downloaded.)
- The Windows XP Mode setup box will open. Click Next.
- Leave the install directory as default and click Next. Windows will now create a virtual hard drive for XP Mode.
- Click Finish.
- Double click on the Windows Virtual PC install file (the second file you downloaded) and click Yes.
- Read the license terms and click I Accept.
- Windows will now download and install Windows Virtual PC. After installation, you’ll need to restart your computer.
- Double click on the Windows XP Mode update file (the third file you downloaded) and click Yes.
- Windows will now download and install the Windows XP Mode update. After installation, you’ll need to restart your computer.
Now Windows Virtual PC is installed and Windows XP Mode is installed and updated. Move to the next section to learn how to use XP Mode.
How do I use Windows XP Mode?
To use Windows XP Mode for the first time:
- Click the Start button, type XP, and click Windows XP Mode.
- When using Windows XP Mode for the first time, you’ll need to agree to the license terms:
- I recommend leaving the default Installation folder and using the same password as you use to log in to Windows. Click Next.
- I also recommend you use automatic updates. Click Next.
- Click Start Setup.
- Remind yourself of some XP tips and tricks while XP installs:
XP Mode is now installed and running:
What else should I know about Windows XP Mode?
Over the next few days, I’ll address the following topics:
- Improving Windows XP Mode performance.
- How to access your host machine’s files in Windows XP Mode.
- How to run Windows XP applications in Windows 7 with Windows Virtual PC.
- How to test programs without getting a virus using Windows Virtual PC.
What else would you like to know? Let us know in the comments.