In this series, I’ll discuss how you can replace Windows XP Mode from Windows 7 with Client Hyper-V and RemoteApp in Windows 8.

If you’re like me, you’ve still got those lingering applications that still don’t work on newer releases of Windows. With Windows 7, you could install XP Mode for those one-off instances of applications. If you had lots of users needing apps with compatibility issues on Windows 7, you could dip into MED-V or VDI to provide those applications to end users.

Microsoft has announced that they will not support MED-V past Windows 7. Microsoft hasn’t said much about XP Mode on Windows 8, but considering the phase out of MED-V along with the inclusion of Client Hyper-V in Windows 8, it is probably safe to assume that XP Mode is gone as well.

So where does that leave you when you still need to bring up an old application or an older version of Internet Explorer alongside Windows 8 seamlessly like in XP Mode in Windows 7? VDI is always an option, but may be overkill if you need occasional access to a legacy application or only have a handful of users needing the application. The good news is that if you liked XP Mode, doing the same thing in Windows 8 is actually pretty easy with Client Hyper-V.

To begin, you’ll need a computer running Windows 8 (Professional or higher) with 4 GB of RAM and a 64-bit SLAT capable processor. Install the Hyper-V roleand reboot.

Unlike XP Mode, there’s a little more work to set things up with client Hyper-V. Out of the box, Client Hyper-V won’t have any virtual machines configured. After bringing up the Hyper-V Manager, you’ll need to click on New > Virtual Machine to create a new VM.

Windows 8 XP Mode - New Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Windows 8 XP Mode - New Hyper-V Virtual Machine

This will bring up the New Virtual Machine Wizard. If you’ve used Hyper-V in Windows Server, this will likely look very familiar. If not, it is very similar to other virtualization products on the market that you may be familiar with. In the first screen of the wizard, you’ll want to pick a name for your VM.

Windows 8 XP Mode  - Virtual Machine name

Windows 8 XP Mode - Virtual Machine name

In the following screens, decide how much memory to assign, select which virtual switch you want to connect to, configure the virtual hard disk, and point Hyper-V to installation media for Windows XP Professional. Click Finish on the last screen.

Windows 8 XP Mode - Startup memory

XP Mode on Windows 8 - Startup memory

 Back in the Hyper-V Manager, highlight your new virtual machine and click the Connect button.

Windows 8 XP Mode - Connect to Virtual Machine

XP Mode on Windows 8 - Connect to Virtual Machine

When your VM opens, click the green Start button to turn on your new VM and install Windows XP.

Windows 8 XP Mode - Turn on Virtual MachineWindows 8 XP Mode - Install Windows XP

Windows 8 XP Mode - Install Windows XP

 Install Windows XP as you normally would. Once it is installed, the first thing you’ll want to do is install the Integration Services. To do this, click Action > Insert Integration Services Setup Disk. In a typical install of Windows XP, autorun will run the installer automatically and prompt you to reboot.

Windows 8 XP Mode

Windows 8 XP Mode - Integration Services

In my next post I will describe how to set up Windows XP in Windows 8 Hyper-V.

Articles in seriesWindows 8 XP Mode
  1. ChristopherO 11 years ago

    One potential issue with this method – Win7 Pro came with a free XP in a VM license. I haven’t heard if Windows 8 will have the same?

  2. Kyle Beckman 11 years ago

    For Volume License customers, Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) Rights should cover this scenario. For non-VL customers, you may have to purchase a Windows XP Pro or Ultimate license. I would consult with a Microsoft licensing representative before deploying this in a production environment to ensure that you are licensed properly.

  3. Steve G 11 years ago

    The one question I have – that remains unanswered – is if I’ll be able to open an existing XP virtual disk after an upgrade to W8. I have an existing virtual disk with stuff on it that would take quite a lot of time to replicate. If I /were/ able to open it with Hyper-v, would XP require activation? I have opened the XP disk with v-box in Linux and it does want to be activated, which turns out to be impossible (I’ve spent hours trying) and I did have to replicate it once already.

  4. Patrick Corcoran 11 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. I installed the XP VM and inserted and installed the Integration Services Setup Disk and installed it. However, I cannot see the host drives in the VM, nor do I have an internet connection in the VM at this point. How do I get the Update 961742 from either the net or the host drive into the VM?


  5. Kyle Beckman 11 years ago

    Unlike XP Mode, you won’t be able to see the host drives unless you map them as network drives using the administrative shares (\\hostpcname\c$, \\hostpcname\d$, etc.). If you shut down the VM, you can mount the VHD file as a drive in Windows 8 very easily by double-clicking on it. That would allow you to save the file there. However, it sounds like your networking isn’t fully configured in Hyper-V. You’ll need to have a Virtual Switch configured (most likely as an External network) in Hyper-V and have your VM’s network adapter configured to use that switch.

  6. Edgar Muniz Berlinck 11 years ago

    If the end of XP Mode will make the people to stop to use old IE versions, the XP Mode is gone for a good reason. For good.

    If you are a developer, is time to upgrade your enviroment.

  7. Jim Michaels 9 years ago

    up til the day I got windows 7 64-bit, I could freely develop for [Free]DOS using the DJGPP compiler or other DOS compiler like openwatcom so I could make disk utiilities. I liked developing for DOS and Windows. but I can’t execute DOS compiler in 64-bit windows because there is no ntvdm or so I am stuck. I may have to buy another retail windows and install the 32-bit version in a VM to see if I can get the DOS stuff working – maybe (I hope) all 32-bit version of windows have NTVDM and I can’t get win7 anymore, I am hoping I can do so with windows 8.1 but I don’t know for sure, so 50/50 chance and it costs $200 or I could just buy core for $99(?) I guess. XP mode is 1-off like he said and that saddens me since microsoft could have licensed it such that any number of runs can be done now that it’s no longer sold. I think the license has not changed from the original XP license – the EULA just needs to be updated for the XP mode.
    anyone installed a 32-bit 8.1 and does it have I would like to continue my development of half of my applications. DOS programs *can* run under 64-bit windows with a multicore system despite some probable misgivings if Microsoft would put the files in.

    I had thought to use xp mode to do my development, but win7 can’t mount a vmdk or vhd file.

  8. William 9 years ago

    Jim Michaels, supporting DOS programs under 64-bit Windows is not as simple as copying over the NTVDM components. When an x86 processor is in 64-bit mode, it cannot run 16-bit code.
    32-bit versions of Windows do still have the NTVDM components (although since Windows 8 it has to be manually enabled). There is no fullscreen or graphics support though.
    There is a way to run DOS programs under 64-bit Windows, which is by using an emulator called DOSBox. It is a lot slower than NTVDM though since the processor is being emulated.

  9. Kevin 8 years ago

    I, too, run old appplications. Those applications ran(run) fine under the XP environment.
    When I purchased my WIN 7 PRO-64 machine, being unable to run these programs was of
    concern. I found the Virtual Machine XP mode & loaded it onto my WIN 7 machine.
    It did load & run fine (& is still operating) normally. I am now at a crossroads because I
    do not want to run the risk of loading WIN 10 & losing my VM-XP operability.
    On another note, about a year later I purchased a system which was WIN 8-PRO.
    I attempted to try the COMPATIBILITY mode that it suggested, & it failed miserably. I hadn’t run
    across this VM for WINDOWS 8. I will have to give that a try.

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