Windows XP mode release candidate now available
- By Kurt Mackie
- Aug 11, 2009
The release candidate (RC) version of Windows XP Mode is now
available, Microsoft has announced. Windows XP Mode provides a virtual
Windows XP (Service Pack 3) desktop experience that runs on top of
Windows 7. It's powered by the Windows Virtual PC engine for Windows 7.
The RC version of Windows XP Mode has some new features over the beta, according to the Windows team blog.
For example, users can now run attached USB devices and Windows XP Mode
applications via jump lists directly from the Windows 7 taskbar. They
also can disable drive sharing between Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode.
The storage location of "Windows XP Mode differencing disk files" can
be customized. Finally, Microsoft added a tutorial on how to use
Windows XP Mode.
Microsoft recommends Windows XP Mode for small organizations
transitioning to Windows 7 that still have to run XP-based legacy
applications. Some XP applications will run natively in Windows 7,
along with Vista applications. Users can first try the Windows 7
Programs Troubleshooter, located in the Control Panel, to see if an
XP-based application will run on Windows 7, according to Scott
Woodgate, Microsoft's director of desktop virtualization and Microsoft
Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).
For larger organizations that need greater desktop management
control, Microsoft doesn't recommend using Windows XP Mode. Instead,
the company provides its Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization
(MED-V) solution, which is part of the MDOP suite of applications
available to Software Assurance licensees.
MED-V typically might be used by organizations that deploy virtual
Windows images where permissions are set. MED-V is also the preferred
tool in organizations where the network is centrally monitored and
maintained, according to a Microsoft blog.
Those who want to use Windows XP Mode need to read the fine print.
Windows XP Mode only works with Windows 7 release-to-manufacturing and
release-candidate versions. In addition, only Ultimate, Professional
and Enterprise editions of Windows 7 support it. Both 32-bit and 64-bit
versions of Windows 7 can run Windows XP Mode.
In addition, to run Windows XP Mode, specific PC hardware
requirements need to be met, such as having 2 GB of memory and extra
hard disk storage space of 15 GB. The PC's BIOS needs to be configured
to support hardware virtualization. The PC's CPU should support Intel
VT ("vPro") or AMD-V virtualization technologies.
Most, but not all, Intel Core 2 processors have built-in Intel virtualization technology, but users can check to be sure here.
The Windows team blog states that "all AMD CPUs shipping to customers,
except Sempron, will include hardware virtualization" by the time
Windows 7 is launched October 22. AMD describes its hardware
virtualization technology here.
Ironically, the need to have hardware virtualization technology may
mean that organizations will have to have new PCs to run their legacy
apps using Windows XP Mode.
Downloads of the Window XP Mode RC and Windows Virtual PC can be accessed here.