This article was written by Gilberto J. Perera from Gil's Method is the online resource for Windows related How-to Guides for the rest of us.

As an administrator you are probably dreading the possible transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 at your company, except this time you won't have to worry Microsoft has been thinking about you for while developing Windows 7.

Microsoft got the message after the debacle with Windows Vista and its lack of success to attract larger businesses to transition from XP to Vista. In order to make that transition simpler, Microsoft has provided Windows 7 users with the capability to run a virtualized, fully licensed copy of Windows XP for program capability.

Using Virtual PC Beta and Windows XP Mode Beta (separate downloads) users will be able to run applications that may not be fully compatible with Windows 7. Applications running inside the virtual machine are fully integrated into the host operating system. Users won't realize that the application is running in a virtual environment and when they save a file it is automatically stored on the host file system.

I only hope that Microsoft decides to integrate this tool into the operating system instead of forcing administrators to worry about two other applications to install for the computers they manage.

The guide below will walk you through the configuration and use of this extremely valuable tool. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below.

Before you get started make sure that your computer has a CPU with the Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD-V feature turned on. You will also need 2GB of RAM and 15GB of Hard disk space.

Please download and install Windows Virtual PC Beta and Windows XP Mode Beta from Microsoft.


1. Go to the Start Menu, click All Programs.

2. Expand Windows Virtual PC and click on Virtual Windows XP.

3. Add a check mark to accept license terms and click on the Next button to proceed.

4. Enter the Virtual Windows XP password you wish to use and add check mark to the Remember credentials check box. Click Next to proceed.

Note: Enabling Remember credentials will keep you from having to enter this information again in the future.

5. As with any operating system, make sure you enable Automatic Updates, click Next to proceed.

During setup you will see a series of three screens similar to the one pictured above.

Once setup is complete you will have a copy of Windows XP on your Windows 7 desktop

Using Virtual Windows XP

Virtual Windows XP will allow you to run applications within the Virtual PC window, but it will also allow you to run the applications without having to start up the Windows XP machine. I downloaded and installed Firefox to demonstrate. Before you open the virtual copy of the Firefox application, you must first shut down the Virtual Windows XP window.

Note: In order for application shortcuts to automatically appear in the host Start menu, the shortcuts must be in the Start menu of the Virtual Windows XP. You can only run either an instance of Virtual Windows XP or a Virtual Application, you can't run both simultaneously.

1. Close Virtual Windows XP by clicking on Ctrl + Alt +Del from the top menu.

2. Click on the Shut Down button.

3. If you wish to choose another action, select it from the drop-down menu and click OK.

4. Now that the Virtual Windows XP window is closed head on over to the host PC's Start menu. Click on the Start button, All Programs.

5. Click on Windows Virtual PC > Virtual Windows XP Applications > Mozilla Firefox (or application of your choice), click on the application link.

Note: In order for application shortcuts to automatically appear in the host Start menu, the shortcuts must be in the Start menu of the Virtual Windows XP. You can only run either an instance of Virtual Windows XP or a Virtual Application, you can't run both simultaneously.

The window pictured above will appear…

Firefox will open in a Virtual Windows XP window.

Configuring Level of Integration

1. To set the level of integration between the Virtual Widows XP application and the host PC, click on Tools > Settings while the Virtual Windows XP window is open.

2. Click on Integration Features on the left and add/remove check marks to the different features available. Click OK to save the settings when you are done making your selections.

  1. cpmuoter news 14 years ago

    this a useful guide for windows 7

  2. kenokenopi 14 years ago

    aryt, i just finished dling xp mode and virtual pc in my rig…i’ll try it when i get home… hope it runs well since i need xp for some programming languages…

  3. Jim Chelm 14 years ago

    I understand not all processors allow xp mode.

    What processors work with xp mode?

  4. epiquestions 14 years ago


    If you know the processor you can check it in their websites
    if the virtualization is supported. Check Intel Virtualization Tecnology if it is set to yes.

    Or you can download the tool from microsoft that checks your processor if it supports hardware virtualization.
    You just run it and it will say if your processor supports hardware virt…
    the tool is HAV Detection Tool
    I dont know if it detects AMD processors

    Or if Securable which supports both AMD and intel

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