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Microsoft Windows 7 To Offer Virtualized 'XP Mode'

Download of 'XP Mode' aims to curb software incompatibility issues seen upon release of Windows Vista, but comes with a number of drawbacks.
According to a report by Windows SuperSite detailing the feature, Windows XP Mode includes the next version of Microsoft Virtual PC and Windows XP Service Pack 3. According to that report, the Windows XP environment will run hidden alongside Windows 7, and applications targeted to run in Windows XP Mode can be launched on a per-application basis from within Windows 7 rather than from within a separate Windows XP desktop.

However, while Windows XP Mode might help with incompatibilities, it comes with a number of drawbacks. Windows XP Mode requires computers to have a full version of Windows XP installed alongside Windows 7, so to critics it may represent another example of Microsoft bloat and raises the question of its effect on system performance. The Windows XP download will be free for customers who have certain versions of Windows 7, but will still require a significant download and represents another operating system to support.

Microsoft no longer offers free support of Windows XP, as the operating system went into Extended Support Mode on April 14. That means that only customers of Microsoft's Premier customers support program will be able to get non-security patches for Windows XP, and only for a fee.

Though stable, Windows XP has suffered many more security vulnerabilities than its predecessor, Windows Vista, and won't have nearly as many security features as Windows 7, which includes VPN-less corporate network connection, thumb drive encryption, enhanced Group Policy features, a more configurable version of Windows Vista's User Account Control, and better malware protection.

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