I'm setting up a new computer build and would like a few opinions or seeing if anyone has this setup and how it works for you.
I'll be running Win 7 Ultimate 64bit and will be using the Windows XP Mode for my son and friends that come over and want to use my computer (completely sandbox their usage to protect the main OS).
I'd like to make the jump to a SSD boot drive (with a 1TB+ storage drive) but have reservations about the Windos XP mode. Is it going to thrash the SSD and kill it prematurely or does it just run completely on the physical RAM inside of a virtualized environment? I know Win XP and Win Vista completely thrashed hard drives with their old temp file schemes and that Win 7 fixed alot of that.
Is the Windows XP Mode installed by default on the boot drive or would it install on the storage drive as a program(requires 16G to install)?
Would it be better to stick with a small size 10K RPM HDD as the boot drive?
XP-Mode is a complete XP Operating System within the Win 7 computer. Just like a complete XP computer within your Win 7 computer. Imagine 2 separate operating systems. It will make the same demands on your SSD as 2 separate operating systems. This should answer the first part of your question.
Now to the second part of your question. No, XP-Mode is not installed by default. It is available in your Win 7 Ultimate (and in Win 7 Professional). Must be installed as a separate item.
I have XP-Mode in my Win 7 Pro and I use it for older XP programs. Works fine. It needs its own separate anti-virus program, updates, scans, as well.
A 10K RPM drive would be a great idea. Choose the right capacity depending on your programs. Allow for future adds, System Restore, Updates, etc.
I use Virtual PC to run Windows XP on my 64-bit Windows 7 system. Although I have an SSD, I put the VHD file on a hard drive to avoid wear and tear on the SSD. There really isn't much "wear and tear" just by running XP, but I regularly re-image the virtual XP system by copying a template VHD file into the one that the XP system runs from, and that's a lot of writing considering how often I use the machine.
I find that XP runs very well with the VHD file on the hard drive, as long as you have enough RAM to allocate to it.