There’s been a lot of buzz and confusion about the Windows XP Mode that was recently introduced as a utility that can be used with Windows 7. The purpose of this page is to provide everything you need to know about XPM in one central location without you having to search multiple pages for information about XPM. You can get all the basic info you need on one page. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments.
What is Windows XP Mode (XPM)?Windows XP Mode (XPM) allows you to run your Windows XP apps in a virtual environment alongside your Windows 7 apps in the same desktop. It was designed by Microsoft to ease the transition from XP to Windows 7, particularly for small businesses that are reliant on their legacy apps.
Why do you want it?It will allow you to run apps that are only compatible with XP in Windows 7. It’s also different from previous virtualization technologies by Microsoft, in which you can now run a virtual app in the same desktop as your host OS without having to deal with two separate desktops. Still confused? We have screenshots and video to demonstrate.
Where can I download it?Microsoft is offering XPMode beta as a download for everyone. You can download it here.
Will all SKUs or editions of Windows 7 be able to run XPM?Windows XP Mode will only be available to anyone running Windows 7 Professional or above.
Where can I get XPM?Windows XP Mode is currently available on Technet/MSDN for subscribers. All other users will have to wait until May 5th. Microsoft plans to release XPM on the same date they publicly release Windows 7 Release Candidate. It is an optional download, so it will be bundled with the operating system. You will have to separately download it.
Can I run Windows XP Mode?There are several hardware requirements you need to meet in order to run XPM.
- Hardware Virtualization: Your processor (CPU) must have hardware virtualization technology in order for you to be able to run XPM. If you’re using an AMD processor, the Athlon 64, Athlon 64 X2 (Family F or G on socket AM2), Turion 64 X2, Opteron 2nd gen and 3rd gen, Phenom, and all newer processors.If you’re using an Intel CPU, use the processor spec finder here and look for Intel® Virtualization Technology under Supported Features.
- 2GB RAM: Microsoft has recommended a minimum of 2GB RAM for anyone who wants to use XPM.
What’s included in the XP Mode package?Several files are included in the package:
- A Windows KB958559 update file that must be installed first. It installs Microsoft Virtual PC.
- Virtual Windows XP Package: This package automatically installs creates a virtual machine with a version of Windows XP installed on the virtual hard disk. This is easier than doing it manually since a setup wizard is provided for you.