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Windows XP Comes Integrated into Windows 7

Windows 7 is approaching its official release date not too long from now, and this week Microsoft unveiled one of the "secret" technologies that will ship with Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Called XP Mode or XPM for short, the new feature essentially virtualizes the legacy Windows XP operating environment within Windows 7. That is, users will be able to install all applications that were previously only fully working with Windows XP, on their Windows 7 desktop without having to resort to a dual-boot solution.

Indeed, Windows 7 comes with "compatibility mode" but XPM isn't the same. XPM is actually built on the same platform as Microsoft's Virtual PC 7 product. This isn't the same as running an XP environment through a hypervisor. It was previously believed that XPM would be a Hyper-V client for Windows 7, but it is not.

However, XPM will utilize virtualization technologies in recent processors from both AMD and Intel, such as Intel's VT.

Users will be able to install a Windows XP application, and launch it seamlessly on the same Windows 7 desktop, along side Windows 7 versions of the same application, without actually affecting the core operating system. This fact alone, allows Microsoft to continue to support Windows XP in a virtualized environment, thereby giving legacy support without actually building loads of legacy code into Windows 7. This not only improves Windows 7's stability and speed, but also security.

At this time, Microsoft is claiming that XPM provides near perfect Windows XP compatibility within Windows 7.

Microsoft will include a full license of Windows XP SP3 with every copy of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate for use with XPM.

  • dafin0
    This is great news for people worried about upgrading from winxp to win7
  • fuser
    Very good idea!
  • wikiwikiwhat
    Wow, probably the best thing MS has ever done.
  • drkambosha
    I don't know, but xp now is so spread even larger than win 95 in the 90s
    for me, i hate vista, cause i'm not interested i themes & transparent vista windows.
    so I;m sticking to xp, till they ioffer me something worth the hassle of shifting to windows 7
  • freiheitner
    That's... interesting. It doesn't seem to say much for Microsoft's claims that Windows 7 will be the best version of Windows ever, if they have to offer a 2-versions-old compatibility layer to entice users to upgrade. Still, it's interesting. It might work.
  • wikiwikiwhat
    I bet they are hoping it turns into the backwards compatibility thing that Xbox had. Great feature but afte a while people just really didn't use the feature and just stuck with Xbox 360 stuff. This will happen with Win 7, which is good for it.
  • Thumbs up for this, Will help me to no end in helping my customers transition away from Windows XP! I have installed Virtual PC In Vista with Xp as a default for many customers (Cost is prohibitive though as XP and Vista License needed) so being able to have this integrated into the Windows 7 Professional license is a godsend!
  • jerreece
    Very interesting move on Microsoft's part. Should help alleviate concerns from folks who didn't switch to Vista, and are hesitant to switch to 7.
  • KyleSTL
    Not to mention compatability with devices (read: scanner and printers that will never have Vista drivers, let along W7). This is a pretty good idea, although it underminds the perception that Windows 7 is a quality product, it'll have people asking "Why are they including the legacy (8 years) OS with it? Is the new OS buggy?"
  • thepinkpanther
    TAKE THAT CREATIVE!!!! now u cant mess up the drivers cause we can just install xp ones!!!