As we’ve detailed before, XP Mode will run the older operating system in a virtual environment inside Windows 7 for maximum compatibility with older applications. In fact, Microsoft is claiming that XP Mode provides near perfect Windows XP compatibility within Windows 7 – so that takes care of one of the raison d'etre for the old OS.
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 such as Intel VT and AMD-V. Often hardware virtualization will need to be enabled in the system BIOS too.
Now the confusion comes in for many owners of recent Intel CPUs. Even if you have a Core 2 Duo or Quad CPU, that doesn’t mean that you have what it takes to run XP Mode in Windows 7.
For one reason or another, Intel has confusingly differentiated its processor line by including and excluding VT, even in CPUs of the same generation and family. To make matters worse, there isn’t an easy way to tell if your CPU is capable of virtualization other than digging through the documentation.
Thankfully, Ed Bott in his ZDNet blog has done the dirty work for us and compiled a list of all current Intel processors and have marked them with either a “Yes” or “No” for the presence of Intel VT.
|Core 2 Duo|
|Core 2 Extreme|
|Core 2 Quad|
|Core i7/Core i7 Extreme|
|Pentium D/Pentium EE|
|Pentium for Desktop|
Mobile CPU products
|Core 2 Duo Mobile|
|Core 2 Extreme Mobile|
|Core 2 Quad Mobile|
|Core 2 Solo|
Check out Ed Bott's blog for some further clarity in the mess that is Intel VT CPUs. If you've already got your Windows 7 RC on, check out the Virtual PC and XP Mode beta here (opens in new tab).