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Exciting news if you have been looking forward to XP Mode for Windows 7. Microsoft has just released the final approved copy of Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode Add-on for Windows 7, bringing this useful ability to the same RTM status as Windows 7’s core operating system.

XP Mode is Windows 7’s new way of integrating a virtualization experience directly into the operating system. In the past, it was cumbersome to set up a virtual computer and required some special knowledge that most users are not bothered to learn. As a result, Vista which broke certain applications that only worked on XP earned the wrath of many a consumer. It might be a case of too little too late, but XP Mode for Win 7 attempts to make using virtual computers a seamless environment for legacy applications.

Windows 7 XP mode

Virtualization Technology

One caveat to XP Mode is that your processor needs to support Virtualization Technology, and most AMD processors have this support enabled as a default so it will not be a problem for you. Unfortunately for Intel processors, only certain models have VT, and most of them are disabled by default in the computer BIOS. If you are running Intel, it is highly advised that you Google your processor’s compatibility with VT. Intel had a quirky way of working out which class of their processors support VT, and you may find it surprising that some of their high end quad core models DO NOT have VT.

Nevertheless, once you have enabled VT support from the BIOS, it is a simple matter of downloading and installing Virtual PC and XP Mode from this torrent.

The new XP mode supports the following features:

  • USB device support
  • Seamless application publishing and launching
  • Support for multi-threads
  • Clipboard sharing
  • Printer redirection
  • Smart card redirection
  • Drive sharing
  • Integration with Windows Explorer
  • Known folder integration between host and guest
  • Support for higher resolution
  • Requires AMD-V or Intel-VT CPU features
  • Integration with XP Mode

It’s definitely a virtual computer system done right, as the seamless integration means you won’t notice that the application is running within a virtual computer. It will just pop up and behave more or less exactly like it is running natively on your Windows 7.  However, note that XP Mode is only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Why XP Mode?

Why run XP Mode? Besides offering you a way to run applications that wouldn’t run using Windows 7 XP Compatibility Mode, you can also use this to run 32-bit versions of applications from a 64-bit computer. An example of this would be engineering software like CATIA, which refuses to run on a 64-bit system unless you purchase the proper version of it.

Happy downloading and good luck with Windows 7. 🙂