PC Specs Eased For Win7 XP Mode

Microsoft users no longer need hardware-assisted virtualization to run XP apps in Windows 7.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

March 19, 2010

2 Min Read

Microsoft has introduced a patch for Windows 7 that lets users run the operating system's XP Mode without the specialized hardware previously required.

"We're announcing an update to Windows XP Mode today that will make it more accessible to PCs in small and midsize businesses who want to migrate to Windows 7 Professional but have applications that still require Windows XP," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Thursday.

The update is available as a download from Microsoft's Web site.

Previously, Windows 7 XP Mode required a PC equipped with hardware-assisted virtualization, such as Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD-V. But Microsoft's update eliminates that need.

"This change makes it extremely easy for businesses to use Windows XP Mode to address any application incompatibility roadblocks they might have in migrating to Windows 7," said LeBlanc. "Windows XP Mode will of course continue to use hardware virtualization technology … if available," he added.

Microsoft did not provide details on how running XP Mode without a hardware boost would effect application performance. Most Windows XP apps will run natively in Windows 7, but some require XP mode for compatibility.

Microsoft is hoping the move will boost Windows 7 adoption by small- and mid-sized businesses. Most SMBs still use applications written for Windows XP, and many lack the higher-end PCs that were previously required to run Windows 7 XP Mode.

Microsoft recommended that larger companies wishing to make XP Mode available to their employees continue to use Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), which is included in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack available to Software Assurance Subscribers.

"MED-V provides deployment and manageability features better fit to address the needs of the enterprise customer," said LeBlanc.

Microsoft introduced Windows 7 in October 2009. XP Mode is available only in the Professional and Ultimate versions of the OS.

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About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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