Windows 7 gets virtual XP mode, RC launch confirmed

By on April 27, 2009, 1:02 PM
Regardless of any technological advantages Microsoft may have introduced with Windows Vista, they were apparently not enough for most businesses to justify a costly upgrade. Not only because of the greater hardware requirements, but also due to compatibility concerns with older software. As a result, the company has seen poor adoption rates for its often-criticized OS in this all-important market; so much that it is still found on less than 10% of business computers despite its January 2007 release.

With the forthcoming release of Windows 7, however, the company hopes to break the upgrading deadlock by introducing a new virtualization tool that will provide better application compatibility for businesses migrating from Windows XP. The feature will be called Windows XP Mode and should allow users to install and run applications in a Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC.

The new feature will be accessed not as a separate desktop but on a per-app basis, meaning legacy applications will run directly from the Windows 7 desktop alongside newer software, and requires an Intel or AMD processor that supports virtualization. The software giant promises to offer Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC as a free download for those who buy Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise versions of the operating system; and will include a fully licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 with the add-on.

In related news, Microsoft also confirmed earlier rumors that the first release candidate of Windows 7 will be made available to the public on May 5 – not that you actually have to wait until then before downloading it. The company says the new compatibility add-on will be released “soon,” presumably on or near the official launch of Windows 7 RC.

User Comments: 11

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aissacf said:
Windows 7 was supposed to fix all the annoyances of Vista, yet, we learn from the Win7 Release Candidate system requirements page that it needs 16 gigs of Hard Disk space. Is this a joke? Is this the OS that was supposed to be slimmer?.Win7 also needs one gigabyte of RAM. Running XPs on a Virtual machine will not only be S-L-O-W, but also chew RAM a lot as it needs to run one OS inside another.Why not preload XP?? Oh yeah, Microsoft and Intel's idea of "evolution" is making you throw away your 2-year old PC. NO THANKS, I'm moving all my systems to Ubuntu.With the upcoming release of the Chrome web browser for Linux, old systems can continue running just fine at top speed.
PanicX said:
Switching to linux is a great alternative if it can meet your needs. Unfortunately it doesn't fit the bill when it comes to gamers. I'd also say that 1GB of RAM is my minimum recommendation for Windows XP installs. Sure you can run it with less, but until you've got around a gig, XP can chug. I'm not sure where the optimal amount of RAM for Win7 is, but I'd expect it to be around 1.5 to 2GB which isn't a big deal really. And about the 16Gb install, well it might not be all bloat. I've noticed that Vista and Server 2008 like to make copies of every installer like 2 times over, maybe more. My default 2008 install was 12GB, with a 6GB installer directory. =(
windmill007 said:
If windows 7 will run on 256MB ram it will pass my test. It doesn't have to be super speedy just run.[Edited by windmill007 on 2009-04-28 07:03:00]
jansloep said:
Woeaaah what a joke, MS must integrate XP in a virtual machine in order to maintain backward compatibility? So what do you need Windows 7 for than? Beside that, why should you have to pay again for a virtual version of Windows XP, which you already have, just because Microsoft does not succeed in making Windows 7 backwards compatible with Windows XP? Those guys of Microsoft would even sell their own mother if they could.What MicroSoft also does not tell you is that each virtual machine needs its own memory which you must share between host and guest. So if you have 1 GB memory, you have to split it up, which means both Win 7 and XP will slow down. It will only work well with enough memory which however is restricted to 3+ GB on a 32 bit system. Much better ofcourse is a 64 bit OS which can address much more memory. But if you buy 64 bit Windows 7 you can only run your old WindowsXP software in a 32 bit mode, which can give a lot of compatibility problems. Except maybe in the XP mode if this is a 32 bit version. But why than should you upgrade to Windows 7 and pay a lot extra for the Professional or Ultimate version to get a virtual version of WindowsXP, which you already have in the first place? I have WindowsXP already running for more than a year for my legacy software on (free) Ubuntu (9.04 now) with (free) Virtualbox. Beside that you can run not only XP, but the complete windows family from NT to Vista and even (unofficialy) Windows 7. And it works flawlessly, See [url][/url] It is especially nice when you run it in the seamless mode, in which case you have your windows taskbar at the bottom of your linux desktop, from where you can start any windows program as if it was a linux program. Perfect, and if you wish you can run for example Dos, NT, WinXP and Vista simultaniously. And if you don't like VirtualBox, just use VM ware which does the same.So let those money sharks from Microsof drop dead. They try to let you pay (again) for their own incompetence.
geechiesway said:
I can't believe all of the negativity I'm seeing here about Windows 7 and this feature. First, almost any application will run in Windows 7 as it already runs in vista, this feature is for companies who have to run old legacy software that the companies who wrote it are too old and/or cheap to write updated software. This feature really won't be needed outside of that scenario.@aissacf , if your computer doesn't have a hard drive with 16gb to spare for an OS, well sir that's rediculous, 1 tb drives can be found for less than 100 bucks, have fun with Ubuntu...@jansloep, if you read the article you would've noticed that they give you a free license for the copy of XP for the virtual machine. You can't claim to know how much ram will be used by their virtual machine, there's no reason to say it won't run well. Gimme a break
jansloep said:
What do you mean "for free"? You would be right if virtual XP also would be included in the cheapest "standard" version, but instead you have to buy the much more expensive "professional" or "ultimate" version for this "exciting new feature"Do you really not realize that, as Microsoft apparently is not capable of making Windows 7 backwards compatible with Windows XP they, in order to be backward compatible, force you to buy a virtual version of their outdated Windows XP, though you most probably already have a legal version of the same Windows XP? And they even have the guts to call that an "exciting new feature". They clearly succeed in selling you the old crap, wrapped in a new box, for a second time. Especially when you know that VirtualBox does exactly the same thing for free. Now that is what I call marketing, the only thing I believe Microsoft is really good in.Concerning the ram, Microsoft claims that you need a minimum of 1 GB of ram for Windows 7, of which 256 MB will be used for Windows XP. As Windows XP itself already needs 1 GB to run in an acceptable way, I am sure also you can imagine what will happen if both Windows 7 and XP have to share this 1 GB together. So if you want to be blind and to be robbed by Microsoft over and over again, go ahead!
geechiesway said:
You can put whatever negative spin on it you wish. It's included in the business versions because that's the only people it's really going to be relevant for. It's for old legacy software that some businesses are forced to use. It's one of the biggest reasons that Vista wasn't adopted by businesses. I've seen it first hand over and over again. This is a welcomed feature. Have fun trying to get these businesses to use linux...please
Nirkon said:
and besieds, its not like most people are gonna run games on that virtual machine or something... windows 7 runs most Vista applications, that's why it'll have a greater adoption rate... personally I haven't 'upgraded' to Vista at all, but I might jump on Windows 7 when it comes out.
anguis said:
the "Virtual XP" should be completely free if you have a valid license for Windows XP. Only including it on Enterprise and Ultimate editions is completely bogus, as those editions NEVER come in OEM purchases. So advertising that feature to 99% of home users is pretty much lying to them, cause they will never be able to use that feature with the computers they buy with OEM installations.Also, businesses won't be any more thrilled about it, due to the fact that system administrators already are well aware of VirtualBox which is free, and the costly alternative, VMWare. If running legacy software was the only thing holding a company back from upgrading to Vista, they would have done it already and used one of those two software solutions I mentioned.Sorry, but this "feature" is nothing impressive, and is nothing more than a marketing scheme.
Julio said:
[b]Originally posted by geechiesway:[/b][quote]You can put whatever negative spin on it you wish. It's included in the business versions because that's the only people it's really going to be relevant for.[/quote]Enough said. It's the killer app for business adoption and nothing more.@anguis "So advertising that feature to 99% of home users is pretty much lying to them"Totally agree there, not with your later point however.
tasdk said:
I agree with 'geechiesway' that these negative comments are silly. Features like this cost money to develop and support, and most users don't care about them. It's basic economics to cover these costs by charging a higher price to the ones who will use the feature, in this case business users buying Professional/Enterprise and 'power users' buying Ultimate.Making it 'free' (ie charging a uniform price) would require all the home users who don't care about this feature at all to subsidise the businesses and power users who do, making those home users worse off. The other option would be to not offer the feature at all, and then the businesses and power users willing to pay extra for it would be worse off.
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