Windows XP Mode In Windows 7 – Super Secret!

Well the wraps are off what was supposed to be the super secret sauce that will be a part of Windows 7. Called XP Mode or XPM for short, this is going to make Windows 7 possibly the best Windows Microsoft has ever unveiled. According to Paul Thurrott at his SuperSite Blog for Windows he pulled the wraps off of the secret stuff.

He states in his article the following information:

XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today’s Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

Obviously, XPM has huge ramifications for Windows going forward. By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM. For Windows 7 specifically, XPM is a huge convenience, especially for Microsoft’s corporate customers, who can of course control XPM behavior via standard Microsoft administration and management technologies like Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy (GP). And it significantly recasts the Windows 7 compatibility picture. Before, Microsoft could claim that Windows 7 would be at least as compatible as Windows Vista. Now, they can claim almost complete Windows XP compatibility, or almost 100 percent compatibility with all currently running Windows applications.

So for all who have put their foot in their mouth saying Windows 7 is nothing more than a Vista update, this should put those thoughts to rest. Take a look at this screenshot which shows Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

So what do you think? I’m jacked. If this is for real, which I am sure it is, than Windows 7 will become my primary operating system in lieu of Vista.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • the oracle

    Funny, I read the same article, and I think that only businesses in need of using an application that can’t be upgraded will really want this. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Virtualizing XP takes away most of the advantages, so anyone wanting speed will pass on it.

    Also, if it works as badly as Virtual PC 2007, once again, people will pass. I still remember attending TS2 meetings where the Microsoft employee could not get Virtual PC 2007 to work properly – if the people who develop it can’t get it to work as advertised, what chance does anyone else have?

    I’m also thinking about how it will probably only work well with the 64 bit versions of 7, as it would be a very crowded memory map with Windows 7, Windows XP, and the various hardware addresses, all fitting into 4 GB.

    Another non-starter, showing once again, Microsoft is headed in the wrong direction, and there seems to be no one running the train.

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  • Bill

    I agree – I’m super excited to have this in the OS. I realize that Virtual PC has been a free download for a few years, and technically, this has been possible to set up under Vista for a while, but this time, there’s no hoops to jump through, and you can have the virtualized app without having to fool around on the XP desktop. That’s great! Two OS’s for the price of one!
    One can definately see they included this functionality to further encourage people to leave XP and not have any reservations about embracing Windows 7. Still though, free extra stuff is great, and if you don’t want it, then don’t download it. Simple.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hi Marc,
    When you tried Virtual PC was the processor V compliant? Just curious.

    Hello Bill,
    Thanks for the comment.

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  • the oracle

    AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE, so yes, it was – I had also tried it with an older AMD 939 pin dual core [not V compliant, but still shown as working] , same results, and basically the same results with VPC 2004.

    I wonder, has it been recently (last three months) updated? Can you now use USB keyboards, or are you still restricted to PS/2 only?

    VPC 2007, unless it has been updated is more of a novelty item, kind of like how Windows 3.0 was – not really ready for prime time. It seems as though 3rd parties, once again, do virtualization better than the originator of the base OS.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks Marc for getting back to me. I don’t believe any of us will know how this is going to work until Windows 7 goes Gold.

  • keenanpatterson

    Is it possible to do this yet?

  • Ron Schenone

    Interesting question. I’m not sure. My guess from the article is that XPM will not be included in the RC release, but will when 7 goes Gold.

  • Kenny

    You can download seventeen pictures (in a ZIP) of the Windows XP Mode feature here: Windows XP Mode screenshots.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks Kenny for the link.

  • Joe Schmo

    Looks like Microsoft has caught up to where Apple was in the switchover between os9 and osX with their classic mode compatibility around 2001, nice work guys 😉