One of the major introductions of the Windows 7 release is Windows Virtual XP Mode which aims to enhance the compatibility experience for many legacy applications and businesses who plan on moving to Windows 7. Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows Virtual XP Mode RC adding further improvements that make it easy to use, configure and integrate with Windows 7 RC and RTM releases. Just to get you up to speed, Windows Virtual XP Mode consist of two components: A 5 MB Virtual PC file and a 450 MB pre-configured copy of Windows XP Professional SP3 that is ready to be used out of the box. The update includes the following improvements:
- A new and simpler way of adding and accessing devices, like printers and USB sticks, from XP Mode. Microsoft has removed a number of the steps required to add these devices. With the RC, they’ll be able to add them by right clicking on the Windows 7 icon.
- A new way of enabling and disabling file sharing between Windows 7 and XP Mode. With the RC, Microsoft has more clearly delineated which files are where and made the process of sharing them simpler and more explicit.
- The inclusion of a virtualization tutorial, which will run while XP Mode is installing. Microsoft realized that many XP Mode users are new to virtualization and decided to embed the tutorial, starting with the RC, directly in the product to acquaint them with how it works.
- Tighter integration with Windows 7. With the RC, users will be able to add applications from their Windows 7 Jump Lists.
- Better support for shared PCs. As of the RC, XP Mode will allow different users to store their Windows apps in different locations.
Published application running on Windows 7 using Virtual XP Mode
Back in May I took a look and using and benefiting from Windows Virtual XP Mode. I was most impressed with the seamless ability to run legacy applications along side contemporary programs without a hitch. The ability to work with these legacy applications without the need for the operating system layer was quite impressive itself.
Microsoft has confirmed that only Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate are the only editions that will support this utility. The program requires that your computers CPU (Central Processing Unit) supports hardware based virtualization (AMD-V or Intel’s VT technology). Configuring the system for this feature might be a bit technical for some persons requiring that you enter the computers BIOS to setup (which is what I had to do). Virtual Windows XP works similar to Virtual PC 2007. The virtual system is allotted 256 MBs of RAM. One of the immediate differences though is the toolbar menu that provides options for utilizing USB devices, viewing full screen mode and enabling integration features which is used for virtualizing your applications.
You can download the Windows Virtual XP Mode Release Candidate here
Some persons are reporting issues downloading the 64 bit build, try this direct link here