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*A guide to use Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP mode*

Table of Contents

About Windows Virtual PC

Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC, available on Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate, allow you to run multiple Windows environments, such as Windows XP Mode, from your Windows 7 desktop.

Key Features

Microsoft has added several new features to Windows Virtual PC to make it easy to use and to help you run many older Windows XP applications in Windows 7.

  • One click launch of Windows XP Mode applications
  • USB support

Getting Started with Windows Virtual PC

1. Determine do you need Windows XP mode ?

Windows 7 has several built-in tools to help with program compatibility and Windows XP programs should be installed directly on Windows 7. Windows XP Mode runs some older productivity programs that might not run on Windows 7. Visit the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to find software that works with Windows 7.

2. Download Windows XP Mode

Go to Microsoft Website, in step 2 on Microsoft website, Select your edition of Windows 7 and desired language for installation.

3. Download and install Windows XP Mode

Common Issues

1. Hardware Support from CPU

Problem 1 is XP Mode requires hardware support from the CPU. The Microsoft® Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool can check your system to see if it's compatible.

2. Enable Virtualization in BIOS

Problem 2 is the feature must be enabled in your BIOS. Microsoft has some instructions, but essentially you just need to go to your BIOS setup program looking for an AMD-V, Intel VT or VIA VT virtualisation setting and ensure it's turned on.

Follow the steps forConfiguring BIOS for Hardware Assisted Virtualization if you do not know much about BIOS options.

3. Virtualization disabled in Firmware

3.1 Some laptop manufacturers have previously disabled this setting for "security" reasons. Sony Vaios had the feature turned off for a while, for instance, prompting some to recommend ways in which you can edit their firmware to restore the setting, although Sony seems to have restored it recently.

3.2 If hardware virtualisation is turned off on your system then check with the manufacturer - a BIOS upgrade may fix the problem.

3.3 If all else fails, just use a package like VirtualBox that doesn't insist on hardware support. You will need to provide a licenced copy of XP (or whatever other version you want to use) to install on it, though.

Useful Links

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

You can download VirtualBox for free at SUN-VirtualBox website