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Win 7's XP Mode And VirtualBox: When You Need Windows XP

What XP Mode Is...And Isn’t

Once upon a time, a company called Connectix developed a product named Virtual PC. Microsoft acquired the Virtual PC technology back in 2003. That original product went through a couple of enhancements, and Virtual PC 2007 was eventually released as a free download for all Windows users.

Windows XP Mode is simply Windows XP (with Service Pack 3) running in the most recent version of Virtual PC, now dubbed Windows Virtual PC and tuned to run on Windows 7. Windows XP mode is a full installation of Windows XP Professional (again, with Service Pack 3), including a pre-configured virtual hard drive. It takes the guesswork out of configuring a virtual machine, although you can always reconfigure some of the settings by running Windows Virtual PC.

Once Windows XP Mode is installed, you can make configuration changes through the Virtual PC dialog box.

Windows XP mode is narrowly focused at enabling legacy, 32-bit Windows XP apps to run on Windows 7. More importantly, it’s aimed at business applications. Bad news for gamers: one of the key features left out of Windows XP mode is virtualized access to the physical graphics cards. In other words, there’s no hardware-accelerated 3D in Windows XP mode, so no 3D games will run unless they’re much older games that shipped with a software 3D renderer.

Direct3D Acceleration: Not Available

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t run any games. Titles that were exclusively 2D work fine, as we can see with Age of Wonders II.

There’s no hardware accelerated 3D, but 2D games can work in Windows XP Mode.
  • abhinav_mall
    Dont we need a licence for XP ?
    Reply
  • coonday
    It could just be me, but all this talk of Windows XP virtualization makes me feel old. My how time flies.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    Hmmmmmmmmm dual boot or seperate machines will always be better then "virtual" anything - i buy new machines every 2 years and i still have the old ones - i keep the same OS on it and anything that doesnt work on my new one (usually with new os etc) i leave on the old machines, same deal with Windows 98, dos etc - SEPERATE MACHINES
    Reply
  • Vorador2
    abhinav_mallDont we need a licence for XP ?
    It seems that 7 Business and Ultimate already include the necessary license for XP.

    And btw, dual boot is better.....but newer hardware don't always have drivers for older OS, and when you need to work multiple applications in parallel and share data between them you don't have the time or the leisure to shutdown and reboot in different modes or change between computers. And virtualization has come a long way so the performance penalties for running virtualized OS are minimum.
    Reply
  • bustapr
    So I can't play some of the best xp only games with this ?
    No thanks. I like my xp game collection, which get more graphicky 3d than 2d age of wonders.
    Reply
  • bustapr
    And it looks like xp mode is a mess to set up and maintain. I'll admit xp mode is a nice addition, but not including in W7home premium doesn't sound too good for the people that are getting their upgrade coupon from vista HP to W7 HP. And to constantly update and maintain xp mode and W7 separately would be a bit tiring.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    bustaprAnd it looks like xp mode is a mess to set up and maintain. I'll admit xp mode is a nice addition, but not including in W7home premium doesn't sound too good for the people that are getting their upgrade coupon from vista HP to W7 HP. And to constantly update and maintain xp mode and W7 separately would be a bit tiring.
    Paying a premium for extra features is normal - nothing new there
    Reply
  • psouza4
    What games don't run on 7 that only run on XP, bustapr? I'm sure there are a few, but the vast majority run just fine. I imagine the ones that don't *are* really old and would run virtualized just fine. And that's the point.
    Reply
  • denroy33
    Just dual boot.
    Reply
  • hellwig
    Because of these issues, VirtualBox is a great solution for power users, but probably not a good fit for non-technical PC users in a standard office environment.
    Why is it ok for employees to be idiots? If you have to shield the fact that they are running a Win XP app, maybe they shouldn't be allowed access to the computer system.

    One main reason is security. For example, a shared family PC means that the kids are using Web browsers and surfing the wilds of the Internet. Even if you’re running robust anti-virus software and firewalls, it’s all too easy to accidentally download a Trojan or other nasty malware. The solution: encapsulate all the
    browsers using Windows XP Mode. The user experience will be pretty transparent, and the virtual machine adds another layer of protection.

    Are you sure about this? With the Windows integration, files downloaded in XP mode are stored in the Win7 system, right? This means if you download a trojan, it gets stored on your main OS with everything else, right? I don't think that's more secure. Regular virtual machiens are secure because they are entirely encapsulated, if you download a virus, you wipe the virtual image and its gone. With XP mode, you download a virus, it infects your primary OS, not the XP-Mode OS, unless I misread something.
    Reply