Despite its age, Windows XP is still widely used for several reasons – speed and compatibility being two of the leading ones.
We learned last week that Windows 7 will include a special XP Mode that will run the older operating system in a virtual environment inside the upcoming OS to ensure maximum compatibility.
In fact, Microsoft is claiming that XPM provides near perfect Windows XP compatibility within Windows 7 – so that takes care of one of the raison d'etre for the old OS.
The speed and light(er) weight factor of Windows XP, however, won’t be maintained as you’ll need a fairly decent machine to run XP Mode. The system requirements to run XP Mode are beefier than those to run Windows 7 (which should run on any recent netbook).
According to a report from Cnet, a minimum of 2 GB RAM is needed for XP Mode. And as we detailed last week, XP Mode will utilize and require virtualization technologies in recent processors from both AMD and Intel, such as Intel's VT.
Not all modern processors support virtualization, even if from the same generation. For example, only certain Core 2 Duo chips feature the technology. Hopefully Microsoft will release more specific hardware requirements for XP Mode soon.
Microsoft will include a full license of Windows XP SP3 with every copy of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate for use with XP Mode.