Microsoft announced today that hardware level virtualization will no longer be required to run XP Mode on Windows 7. The change is effective immediately, but those already running XP Mode don’t need to get new copies. Any users on Windows 7 Professional or higher can download and run the new code regardless of hardware support.
The news that XP Mode would need hardware virtualization was a bit dismaying to some. It was ofeten difficult to tell if a CPU had the correct features, and some surprisingly modern CPUs lacked them. The scale of the discontent led Microsoft to develop a way to run XP Mode without the BIOS level virtualization.
If you’re on a Windows 7 system without hardware virtualization, you can get your free copy of XP Mode for 32-bit or 64-bit.
Microsoft announced today via its Windows Blog that it has released the final version Windows XP Mode to manufacturing, and it should be available for download on October 22nd, the day of the Windows 7 launch. Presumably the new version of Virtual PC is included in this RTM, curiously however, no mention of this was made. Microsoft has also not indicated if this would be available early for MSDN or TechNet subscribers, but let’s face it, October 22nd isn’t as far away as it used to be.
For those who haven’t yet hard about Windows XP mode, it’s a way for Windows 7 users to run applications within a virtualized Windows XP shell for compatibility reasons. Windows 7 RC users who want to give the beta version a test drive can still download the technical preview at the Microsoft Download Center up until the new version is released on launch day.
Want to learn more about Windows XP Mode? Check out our feature focus series which helps you make sense of all the new features.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Tuesday, Microsoft clarified exactly what Windows 7 users will need if they want to run XP Mode (officially known as XP Virtual Machine). Although it appeared initially that XP Mode would include Windows XP SP3, Cnet's Ina Fried reports that users will need to supply their own licensed copies of Windows XP SP3 to go along with the free XP Mode download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions.
As we reported Monday, XP Mode will indeed require hardware virtualization support in the processor, meaning that low-end processors as well as some older mid-range and high-end processors from Intel and AMD won't support XP Mode. Microsoft also states that computers will need at least 2GB of memory to run XP Mode. Thankfully, potential XP Mode users won't need to wait until after Windows 7 ships to see if XP Mode works for them: Fried states that Microsoft will roll out a beta of XP Mode at the same time as Windows 7 RC - May 5th for most of us.
To find out who will be happiest with XP Mode, and how to manage it, join us after the jump.