Windows 8 XP Mode?

Will Windows 8 have an XP mode? Unfortunately for many of you still stuck with Windows XP programs, no. Windows 7 had an XP mode enabled for legacy software and it works quite well for the majority of things you’d need to do with it. Windows 8, on the other hand, is three generations newer than Windows XP. Building in support for programs that require an XP environment just doesn’t appear to be that important.

Windows 8 does not include XP mode, a function of Windows Virtual PC. Virtual PC itself got the axe in Windows 8 in favor of a set of new features and preferred software platform. You can still enjoy Hyper-V in Windows 8 Pro, though this options is sure to leave many average users scratching their heads.

Windows 7 may have been the first operating system Windows XP users willingly switched to, and it’s that reason that Microsoft worked so hard to make sure those customers had a seamless experience through and through. Windows 8 is very different. It’s the first operating system from Microsoft to introduce as many changes to the core since Windows 95. The Start button is gone, applications can now exist entirely within the Microsoft sphere of influence via the app store, and traditional programs are seeing their days numbered. Windows RT doesn’t even support the vast majority of these legacy programs from Windows 7. This is a huge difference, and one reason why Windows 8 isn’t expected to be very XP compatible.

There is a solution for you, however. You can still (on non-RT Windows 8) fire up a virtual machine and run XP using a valid license. This will enable you to run those legacy programs within the XP environment without having to dual boot the machine entirely. Hyper-V is also supported on Windows 8 Pro, which should assist business and IT users.

Windows 8 XP Mode?In addition, you will still be able to enjoy most of the programs you currently enjoy on Windows 7. Games which are resource heavy run very smoothly on the platform, so it isn’t exactly a total loss. It’s just a first step towards a new way of doing things that Microsoft is preparing its users to move towards.

Programs in Windows 8 will no longer be these registry-clogging system resource hogs they once were. They’ll be largely made up of apps that act a lot like mobile apps found on Android and iOS. By all intents and purposes, Windows 8 is a mobile operating system. It’s the first major operating system to fully support multi-touch displays and tablets.

Winodws 8′s release is around the corner and I’m confident that there will be many users wondering why Microsoft chose to go with such a drastically different user experience. Rest assured that you will likely still be able to enjoy your Windows XP, Vista, and 7 experience for some time to come.

What about you? Do you still use programs that depend on XP mode to function properly? Do you use Windows 8 and wish that Virtual PC were still a part of the Windows experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Microsoft

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Dallin Crump

    I have a few games that I would need an “XP mode” to be able to play, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. If I absolutely MUST play those games I’d either look for updated versions that run on modern OSes or see how they run in an XP virtual machine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/IamGod666 Matthew Lee Crane

    i use windows xp programs on windows 8 just fine

  • http://www.facebook.com/troy.barboza Troy Barboza

    I think that a Windows XP mode maybe could help improve the work efficiency for somebody, and make their life easier.

  • Cosdis

    Since i switched to Windows 7 i have never used the XP-mode at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/olga.mourad.3 Olga Mourad

    I think Microsoft’s Innovation in Windows 7 has caused Windows XP Mode to fail. First, the so called “new” Microsoft logo from the Windows 95 Commercial, then this! Is Microsoft trying to compete with its self?

  • http://twitter.com/ferilers Fereli

    I personally dislike Windows. A lot. So I just get chills whenever someone mentions running any Windows software on a Mac.

  • http://www.stevenwb.com swbuehler

    Windows 8 Pro includes Hyper-V virtual machine that you can use to install Windows XP.

  • http://www.stevenwb.com swbuehler

    I’ve had the Windows 8 RTM installed on all my machines and am loving it, especially on my Inspiron Duo, which is a hybrid netbook and tablet with touchscreen.

  • Jesse Downing

    I still use DOS and Mac Classic programs, but that doesn’t mean I rely on Windows 7/8 or Mountain Lion to do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kslingo Kyle Christopher Slingo

    The question is do people really need xP mode anymore?

  • http://twitter.com/SpyderBite SpyderBite

    There has been an abundance of warnings to software developers, business and end-users that XP support was going to be axed. This isn’t quite that moment, but it is the first step. Yes, XP users will still receive updates and technical support from Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will continue to make drivers for XP until summer of 2014. But, no where did Microsoft state that they’d also support XP in future versions of Windows.. such as Windows 8.

    So, the impact should not be that big of a deal to the majority of people who will upgrade to Windows 8. Those who are still chained XP such as large corporations who haven’t upgraded thousands of workstations due to budget restraints or proprietary software restrictions; probably won’t be upgrading to Windows 8 anyways so this will not affect them.

    For the end users who upgraded but are still clutching to those 1998 versions of Quicken or Office or other similar vintage suites, they might need to consider cutting the apron strings and finally upgrading their software if they plan on running Windows 8.

    In the end, I think the only people who will cry foul will be the same people who are kicking and screaming over the suddenly vanishing CD/DVD optical drives in newer computer models and in kind, the diminishing choices of PC software titles on the shelves at Best Buy or Staples. You know somebody like this. Everybody does. The same people who resisted online banking until they could no longer visit a bank teller without paying a fee and were forced to call the activation number on their unused ATM cards. They were very vocal back when Intuit announced that their software would no longer be available on 3.5″ floppy disks. And most noticeable when Dell and HP distributed their first desktop base model computers without a floppy disk drive.

    Times change, and the technical world changes faster. While I’m sure there are a handful of people out there that have valid reasons to continue running XP programs. I doubt there are very many that need to have the latest operating system AND run vintage software. And for those that do.. perhaps its time to setup an old P4 Dell sitting in the attic and use it as a dedicated XP machine for running Quicken 98 or Ultima Online.

    • random tech guy

      Windows 8 does not support office 2003, still the most widely used version of an office suite in the world. Many access databases that are perfectly stable in 2003 crash on office 2007 and up, that is a deal breaker for many companies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000474872638 Oliver Jaranilla Cepeda

    Change is good and also bad at times. But as a “Frank Zappa” saying goes. There are 2 important things to remember. First “Go On” and Second “Keep Going”. I have walked through the XP era and into the frustrating Vista and Now Windows 7. And I learned to move on and as of now don’t depend on XP mode, instead we learn new alternatives or upgrade our use of the OS and for me the upgrade has proven more efficient than before. With change there also is a need to change and LEARN. Unless people don’t want to evolve their learning then well be stuck with XP. But for me the any OS I have used has evolved through the years for better and not for worse and in that sense I also have to learn and evolve with it rather than feel alienated to the new changes. Windows 8 is a very drastic change, but we have to “Go on and Keep going” Forward. Developers are making changes in a goal to make things more easier and efficient. The way I see it, It’s something really new but I’m looking forward to walk to the new windows 8 world and learn new stuff from it. Everybody should .

    • t0030tr

      Um yeah except industrial software is slow to move to new OSes, so you really can’t just say move on because there is nothing except Win 7 or XP will will run them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1292299949 Nino Brunori

    My 2 Cents.
    I heard about using XP in windows 7 but never got around to it.
    There is absolutely no reason why you can’t install Virtual Box or any emulator using Windows 8. You can install a virtual computer and from my experience most of them emphasize running XP more than Windows 98 or others.

    You can use an emulator to run pretty much anything whatsoever so I would say let the operating system do it’s job and if you want to run something from the past just use an emulator or a dual boot if you can find drivers for your current hardware. It’s not hard and 99.9% of the emulators are free and updated regularly.

    I still play my Colecovision and TI 994a through my emulators, I’m an old school gamer.
    Heck, you can even run Dos games really well through Dos Box.

    So my last advice is to say, Windows 8 is lean and fast OS. Keep it lean and don’t add a bunch of programs to run in the background to slow things down. An emulator runs until you stop it and is easier to organize than a dual boot system. It is also easier to remove than a dual boot and as I stated, most of them are completely free.

  • Just sayin

    Well, the reason xp mode is great, is that you can setup the old software to run in xp mode without having to open the whole virtual machine. You make a desktop icon which runs it in xp mode, and most people would never know. I don’t think any of the other vm’s support this kind of integration with windows.

  • Michael Milette

    As an IT consultant, I often need to have several versions of a software package on my desktop in order to be compatible with the clients environment. I’ve used XP Mode quite a lot and even have several XP Mode virtual machines on my computer. We may be going on the 3rd generation of Windows since XP but there are still many businesses who run on Windows XP today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1249012660 Nick Caruso

    I depend on Lotus Approach – a great program from when Lotus was a great company. I have been trying to load it on Windows 8 and so far no luck. I’ll be devastated if I can’t get it to run… actually – I’ll just uninstall Windows 8 and keep 7 – a very good operating system.

  • LRevere

    As an old mainframe programmer, the best PC text editor ever written was Tritus SPF. It’s a DOS app that mirrors IBM’s ISPF editor (circa 1994). Unfortunately, Tritus went out of business in the mid-nineties and there is nothing close to it for usability and flexibility out there. It ran fine under XP but not on Windows 7. However, with XP Mode under Windows 7 it works fine. There is also a very handy Excel addon from Microsoft Money that is no longer supported and fails on Windows 7. This, too, works under XP Mode. It seems to me that Microsoft is making the same mistake with Windows 8 that IBM did with the 360 architecture back in the mid-sixties. Programs written on the 1401/1410 wouldn’t run on the 360. There was tremendous customer dissatisfaction. IBM has never made that mistake again. I know of several programs (mostly utilities) written in the late 1960s that are still in use today. I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by not including XP Mode on Windows 8.

  • LRevere

    As an old mainframe programmer, the best PC text editor ever written was Tritus SPF. It’s a DOS app that mirrors IBM’s ISPF editor (circa 1994). Unfortunately, Tritus went out of business in the mid-nineties and there is nothing close to it for usability and flexibility out there. It ran fine under XP but not on Windows 7. However, with XP Mode under Windows 7 it works fine. There is also a very handy Excel addon from Microsoft Money that is no longer supported and fails on Windows 7. This, too, works under XP Mode. It seems to me that Microsoft is making the same mistake with Windows 8 that IBM did with the 360 architecture back in the mid-sixties. Programs written on the 1401/1410 wouldn’t run on the 360. There was tremendous customer dissatisfaction. IBM has never made that mistake again. I know of several programs (mostly utilities) written in the late 1960s that are still in use today. I think Microsoft is making a huge mistake by not including XP Mode on Windows 8.

  • Oliver

    Need XP mode for my scanner and corel print house 4 and some old but funny games with my force feedback sidewinder wheel.

  • John Tweed

    Windows 8 is a big change in user experience. So users might as well switch to another OS (Ubuntu or RedHat) as move to W8. Oh, but because of some insidious deals between MS and hardware manufactures, we consumers aren’t being given a choice. Heck, I’m not even getting to choose Windows 7 now. That’s the behaviour of a monopolist, not a company acting in a competitive environment.

    Time to cut the cord between MS and the hardware manufacturers and give everyone a free choice to choose the best OS that they want to pay for. Do it by applying the already existing anti-monopoly laws.

  • Michael Young

    It is a major mistake to leave out XP-Mode. It’s only in the last 18 months that we have moved our development to Visual Studio 2008 and WIN 7. However we rely on XP-Mode to support some legacy libraries we have to provide to users of our software. We provide an SDK delivering a specific business solution. Some of our users no longer have support from their original consultant. We are their backup. Without XP-Mode we can’t support them. Well, that’s a white lie…but very close to the truth. As the older hardware dies we can find ourselves in trouble. Pure XP won’t install on the new hardware. Now what? WIN 7 + XP Mode. Microsoft has to maintain at least 3 generations of compatibility. And I’m not talking 16b vs 32b vs 64b. I have 32b stuff that needs XP Mode. OH CRAP…I’m watching CNN…SANDY aftermath…16b=32b=64b=XP=WIN7=WIN8=small problems. NYC+SANDY=major problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manuel.monteagudo.71 Manuel Monteagudo

    I think everyone is creating a big storm in a glass of water.

    Win 8 has HyperV built-in, so if you have legacy applications just maintain them in a Windows XP VM on it.

    Remember that Windows XP mode is just a VM with Windows XP installed.

    • Rodrigo Fante

      And for that we need a windows xp license the software to install as well, many of us don’t have it and have no way to buy it, then, what now?

  • Tony Darcy

    the things that anoy me the most in windows 8 is the new start menu and virtual pc i liked the old start menu the one that has been around since windows 95 with little modifications so at least i had one thing that i use all the time the same so i wasnt fead up with the new operating system as easly even though i am only 13 and have not used windows 95 yet [i have used windows 98 quite often, 2000 once a moth for about a year, windows nxp and windows 7 i have used the most and windows vista i use for about 10 to 20 hours a year] i also liked having windows xp as a virtual mashene [even if i had to set it up normaly not though windows xp mode] i liked being able to be eased into the operating system being able to run the few programs that are not compadable in windows xp mode and if i got fead up with it i could just use the virtual mashene for a wile till i cooled off then continue learning about the new operating system. it even if they had windows 7 mode it would have been great and with virtual pc not being compadable is just stupid, they make that service to anyone with a windows pc for free are they trying to make people go to mac or linux where virtualbox is compadable and easly installed and noted
    anyway i guess i am going to have to go back to virualbox or vmware player

    [if you would like to respond emal me at [email protected] since i dont use this site]

  • http://www.stevenwb.com swbuehler

    DYMO File (a barcode-centric document filing application) still requires a 32-bit OS and won’t work on anything 64-bit, so I end up leaving a VM open with Windows XP on my Win8 machine using Hyper-V with DYMO File and one or two other apps running in the background. Since my machine has 12 gigs of RAM it’s not much of a drain on performance.