Windows 7 RC Adds Virtual Windows XP Mode

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News Posted: Sat, Apr 25 2009 7:13 PM

A recent announcement from Microsoft should make it easier to convince Windows XP users to upgrade to the latest version of its operating system. For a while now, the company has been working on a Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 that will enable Windows 7 to run applications that were designed for Windows XP using virtualization. Sources familiar with the product recently revealed this application compatibility mode is built upon the Virtual PC technology Microsoft acquired in 2003 from the assets of Connectix.

 

Windows XP Mode has also been known as XPM, Virtual Windows XP, Virtual XP, and VXP. Windows XP Mode is built on the next generation of Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line which requires Intel or AMD processor-based virtualization support to be present and enabled on the PC. Windows XP Mode is a host-based virtualization solution like Virtual PC.

 

By adding a compatibility mode into Windows 7, Microsoft is addressing one of the key shortcomings of Vista—compatibility issues with older software. The new feature has not been included in the beta version of Windows 7 but is expected to be available with the upcoming release candidate version. On Friday, Microsoft said it will provide the release candidate to developers next week and publicly on May 5.

 


 

 

As of right now, it appears the XP compatibility mode won’t come in the box with Windows 7. Instead, it will be made available as a free download for users with the professional, enterprise, or ultimate versions of Windows 7. Windows XP Mode will not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. As a result, users will be able to run Windows XP-based applications alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

 

Windows XP Mode will make a big difference for Windows moving forward. By removing the burden of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft will be able to strip away dead technology from future versions of Windows at a faster rate because customers will be able to run older applications in Windows XP Mode.

 

Prior to the Windows XP Mode announcement, Microsoft could only claim that Windows 7 would be at least as compatible as Windows Vista was. Now, Microsoft can claim almost complete compatibility with Windows XP.

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SqUiD267 replied on Sat, Apr 25 2009 8:19 PM

where can i find it in the RC? or is a separate update? I have ultimate btw.

AMD Athlon X2 5000+ (Thanks to HH)

DFI Lanparty DK 790 FX

EVGA 8800 GT 512 mb

2 GB of G.Skill RAM

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The RC will be out next month.

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Super Dave replied on Sat, Apr 25 2009 11:17 PM

News:
Instead, it will be made available as a free download for users with the professional, enterprise, or ultimate versions of Windows 7.

So this means we will have to purchase the more expensive Win7 versions in order to get this marvelous feature?!

 SPAM-posters beware! ®

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Apr 26 2009 9:10 AM

Yes.

Alternately, you could:

  1. Boot your current system from a liveCD, with an external usb drive of equal/greater size attached.
  2. Use "dd -if=/dev/sda -of=/media/usbdrive/xp.raw" (adjust commands for your drives actual mount-points) to rip an image of the drive.  BE SURE TO RIP THE ENTIRE DRIVE, NOT JUST THE PARTITION! (i.e. sda, not sda1)
  3. Install VirtualBox (or QEmu, or VMware, or...) on your new OS.
  4. Use vboxmanage convertfromraw (or equivalent) to convert the raw copy to a virtual image.
  5. Set up a new virtual machine but set it to boot first from CD. Use it to boot your liveCD again, mount the virtual image and rename all of the \windows\system32\drivers\ AGP-related drivers to their current name + .disabled. (This step may not be necessary with some of the VM software - but definitely is with VBox).
  6. Reboot the image to safe mode (remember to eject the CD). You may need to tweak the ACPI/APIC VM settings to get it to boot. Once up, modify device-manager as necessary. Install Guest Additions.
  7. Reboot... You now have your old OS running as a VM.

This was all assuming Windows came on your computer and you don't have "real" (i.e. not recovery) Windows install CDs. Note: this may not work with anything post XP because of Microsoft's activation/copy-protection mechanism. :(

Disclaimer:  The above is from memory  - I could have left a step or two out.  I've done the process a few times before though, and the only time it gave me issues was when I found a compatibility issue with the guest additions and a logictech mouse/keyboard driver (fixed by renaming the logitech .sys drivers and manually specifying the driver in device mangler).

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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SqUiD267 replied on Sun, Apr 26 2009 1:24 PM

uhh let just say I already have the RC :)

AMD Athlon X2 5000+ (Thanks to HH)

DFI Lanparty DK 790 FX

EVGA 8800 GT 512 mb

2 GB of G.Skill RAM

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peti1212 replied on Sun, Apr 26 2009 3:26 PM

This is actually pretty cool, but umm I wonder how fast it will be.

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SqUiD267:

uhh let just say I already have the RC :)

lol. I'm to lazy to torrent. I'll just wait for it from MS so I can download it nice and fast without it eating my whole connection.

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Devin_P replied on Mon, Apr 27 2009 2:17 AM

I have the RC..i mean, uh, I will have it may 5th... installed on my tablet...its absolutely fantastic, even with some slight driver issues, I'm super super impressed, and am eager to try this virtualization.

In preparation for maxing everything i can out, I just ordered up an ocz vertex 60gb SSD to slip in there and just put the RC on so no more dual booting with vista.

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I think it's important to note that Vista-using businesses already have access to similar virtualization capabilities: Microsoft's MED-V tool. Thus, enterprises shouldn't consider this "one more reason to wait for Windows 7."

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