Microsoft removes XP Mode hardware requirements

By on March 18, 2010, 9:56 PM
Along with other virtualization announcements today, Microsoft has updated XP Mode to be less confusing when it comes to hardware compatibility. XP Mode is a free virtual machine package for business-class versions of Windows 7, intended to ease OS migration for enterprise customers. When it launched alongside Windows 7, the software required a processor with support for hardware virtualization, but many users found it difficult to determine whether their CPU had the feature.


Fortunately, Microsoft has removed that requirement, and anyone left confused or stranded with the original version of XP Mode should now be able to use it. "This change simplifies the experience by making virtualization more accessible to many more PCs for small and midsize businesses wanting to migrate to Windows 7 Professional or higher editions, while still running Windows XP-based productivity applications," Microsoft said today.

Users of Windows 7 Professional or higher can download XP Mode, or the latest update: 32-bit, 64-bit.




User Comments: 43

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levar said:

There are so many ways to find out, but as stated end users stranded not knowing what to do. Well this is good and even more than enough reason why not to upgrade to Windows 7. Thanks for the news downloading the update.

megrawab said:

Good job for Microsoft... Everyone can now use XP Mode without worrying for hardware requirements.

thebluemeaner said:

I guess computers that do not use hardware virtualization will be using some sort of software virtualization ...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Removing VT requirement for XP mode is a brilliant move; as your rightly pointed out it would eliminate confusion; but more importantly it would may end up helping boost the adoption rate of new OS even further; without people having to worry about what may or may not run on 7.

Timonius Timonius said:

A solid backwards compatibility is essential for pushing stragglers (like me) along.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Actually, Intel had been complying with the original hardware requirements fairly well, by introducing more and more low end CPUs with virtualization. For example the Pentium Dual core E 6300. The E-6300 sports VT, while it's "big brother" (an earlier release) the C2D E-7300 does not!

But yeah, this makes it a bit easier to justify springing for a copy of Windows 7 Pro, for a PC that lacks CPU VT.

I'm actually still a bit confused, the news blurb says that "XP Mode" was updated, but wouldn't it have to be "Virtual PC" that needed to be fixed? Both maybe....?

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

MS taking more steps in the right direction with Windows 7, great to see.

Hopefully this should help increase adoption rates of Win 7 in businesses.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Part of the problem is, at least in my experience, is that most companies who have proprietary or custom computer programs have those same programs as either when they started the company or introduced the software. You're dealing with 5, 10, 15 year old software, so its natural that they are reluctant to upgrade, because those dinosaurs they inflict on their employees might not work.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good to see Microsoft helping along those who might not know if they can run XP Mode or lack hardware virtualization. As pointed out having backwards compatibility with no hassle should improve selling Win7 to those who were more reluctant.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm actually still a bit confused, the news blurb says that "XP Mode" was updated, but wouldn't it have to be "Virtual PC" that needed to be fixed? Both maybe....?

You'll just need to update Virtual PC before installing XP Mode, and you are done

Very correct gwailo; hell one of the old payroll systems we still use (as backup for the time being for some weird reasons), is about 18+ years old.

elroacho72 said:

Hey that is really cool, I did upgrade my hardware just for that previous requirement,but still happy anyway.I was very impressed with XP mode when a scanner very expensive scanner for my business wouldn't work with Vista or W7, without XP mode.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I Amuse Rather Easily..........

This development does make it worthwhile to spring for a copy of Win 7 for my P-45 / E7300 machine. Win 7 is worth the price of admission, if only for the wall paper slide show function.

They say if you turn your wallpaper upside down it all looks the same! That's simply not true.

Yoda8232 said:

Never tried it, honestly I never had ANY compatibility issues with a program that was made for XP that didn't work in Windows 7.

Aneesh said:

Microsoft is the only company that thinks about users mind.............now everyone can use XP mode...me also...hahahh

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Never tried it, honestly I never had ANY compatibility issues with a program that was made for XP that didn't work in Windows 7.
Trust me, they're out there. Oddly though, the old M$ "Flight Simulator 2004" runs perfectly under Win 7, hmmm. So does "DVD Shrink", who'da thunk that.

Anything that MUST use the old file path "C:/" > "documents and settings" > "user" > "application data" can be suspect. Win 7 tricks up the route, but some programs just don't seem to buy it. I have an old CD emulator "Virtual Drive 8" that goes in and crashes immediately, and I don't have the iron to even attempt "Nero 6" in Win 7.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You'll just need to update Virtual PC before installing XP Mode, and you are done
I think we're both wrong. My unskilled interpretation is that you have to update Windows 7...! or ? [link]

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm well; I did the way i described, and everything works out perfectly for me.

Kovach said:

Nice move, this should be done long time ago, why it should be limited to hardware as it was the case...?

ansarimikail said:

Nice to see greater backward compatibility.

vegasrez said:

Sounds good to me

isamuelson isamuelson said:

Too bad that didn't make it possible to run this on Home Edition. That would really bring in more people I think.

I myself run the professional version anyways and I'm running an AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE, so this patch doesn't affect me at all.

Still, great move on Microsoft's part.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I had a couple people ask me that very question, so i agree that it was confusing. I didn't see anything about what the performance hit might be though.

LightHeart said:

VMs

I think this is a helpful step though in my experience I have not needed XP Mode at all. Everything that I was running I am able to run on Windows 7 x64. In my case I had upgraded from XP to Vista so I worked through the issues before. I actually use the Virtual PC mode to run other VM's besides XP, such as Win 7 x86 and Mint Linux for testing.

Guest said:

Are you from the F$F foundation or are you a fan of Hanna Montana Linux?

bigclick said:

I returned a Windows 7 machine for lack of track ball support (programmable keys). I'll have to ask about this before I haul another box home.

buendia said:

This is great news! I can know try it. They should have done this in the first place.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I completely dissagree with every single comment above me. This now lowers performance of the windows XP mode which I use everyday for work. I will not be upgrading this and keeping hold of my current xp mode copy.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

burty117 said:

I completely dissagree with every single comment above me. This now lowers performance of the windows XP mode which I use everyday for work. I will not be upgrading this and keeping hold of my current xp mode copy.

I agree with you...performance is my biggest complaint with XP Mode already, but I should note I didn't even expect to be able to use it for games as it seems many across the web have. I do see value in extending compatibility, but when there are so many CPUs with hardware virtualization, I predict this will only garner more bad reviews of this backwards compatibility mode.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

mattfrompa said:

burty117 said:

I completely dissagree with every single comment above me. This now lowers performance of the windows XP mode which I use everyday for work. I will not be upgrading this and keeping hold of my current xp mode copy.

I agree with you...performance is my biggest complaint with XP Mode already, but I should note I didn't even expect to be able to use it for games as it seems many across the web have. I do see value in extending compatibility, but when there are so many CPUs with hardware virtualization, I predict this will only garner more bad reviews of this backwards compatibility mode.

Thank you!

I would rather Microsoft put more effort into making the performance better with existing hardware which is more or less in most computers worth their salt or are capable of running Windows 7 Pro or higher in the first place.

I'm running just a 2.0Ghz core2due proccessor which has the Virtualization function built-in and it runs perfectly fine and relatively quickly. I don't want it software based ortherwise its just going to slow down.

I see this as a step back for microsoft, not forwards.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Thank you!

I would rather Microsoft put more effort into making the performance better with existing hardware which is more or less in most computers worth their salt or are capable of running Windows 7 Pro or higher in the first place.

I'm running just a 2.0Ghz core2due proccessor which has the Virtualization function built-in and it runs perfectly fine and relatively quickly. I don't want it software based ortherwise its just going to slow down.

I see this as a step back for microsoft, not forwards.

M$ is between a rock and a hard place in this case.

When I realized that I would need CPU VT to run "XP Mode" I set about investigating which Intel CPUs would. That said, CPUs now available for less than 80 dollars do have it.

I'm going to take M$ original suggestion, and burn the hardware VT versions of "Virtual PC" and "XP Mode" to DVD, and use these if necessary for a reinstal, and also ignore the concomitant Windows 7 update.

This is what M$ should have done, make both versions available simultaneously, but that would "confuse" people further. Once again, attempting to make something "***** proof", punishes even the only slightly more proficient user.

Docnoq said:

I purchased Win7 Pro specifically so I would have the option to run XP mode should I ever need it. However, I have not found the need to run it yet. All of my applications/hardware works fine with Win7 (excluding my Audigy 4). I suppose it is comforting to know that I will be able to run virtual XP mode should the need arise.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

i think they should include a more better backward compability in windows 7!

many programs desgned for xp dont work with windows 7!

The whole point of XP Mode is for backwards compatibility.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can,..............

i think they should include a more better backward compability in windows 7!

many programs desgned for xp dont work with windows 7!

Well, that's nice. WTF is "more better"?

The whole point of XP Mode is for backwards compatibility.
Um, like duh-uh, I hope you're not suggesting you should think before you post. Cause that's like, um, expecting a lot. How else is a body supposed to reach the 50 post limit for the contest, if you're not allowed to post BS, nonsense, and doggerel in plain old bad English?.

drasho said:

I didnt even know there was a requirement... I guess ive been lucky and i met them =) This is a nice option, it good that everybody can use it now

Guest said:

Once again Bill Gates proves you don't need any brains to be a Billionaire. To anyone with a brain it looks like Gates is actually TRYING to discourage the sale of Windows 7. Why would anyone in their right mind limit the XP Mode to only business users? I am one of probably millions and millions of home users who will never upgrade to Windows 7 because I have too much software that will not run on that OS. Bill Gates is an ***** that just got lucky.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Once again Bill Gates proves you don't need any brains to be a Billionaire. To anyone with a brain it looks like Gates is actually TRYING to discourage the sale of Windows 7. Why would anyone in their right mind limit the XP Mode to only business users? I am one of probably millions and millions of home users who will never upgrade to Windows 7 because I have too much software that will not run on that OS. Bill Gates is an ***** that just got lucky.
All this said, you could still make the move to Windows 7 Pro, with a token hardware purchase, at a cost of $140.00, which is less than a copy of Win 7 Home Premium at retail.

I mostly agree with you any way, but keep in mind the M$ has cut into aftermarket software sales (I think) with their free anti-virus, "M$ Security Essentials. So in part this might be a bone thrown to software houses also. At the consumer level, these companies are trying to cash in on the new OS by not offering compatibility updates on their consumer oriented products.

I still think that M$ should continue to make "Virtual PC" available in both versions, hardware dependent VT, and software VT ready. This wouldn't punish users who have thought ahead, and purchased CPUs (or have CPUs) with hardware VT.

The main thing is with VT, you need a ton of RAM and a punchy system to run it. A user with 2GB of RAM and a lower end Pentium Dual core, might be just squeaking by. The Win 7 Pro user, with a 64 bit OS and maybe 4 GB of RAM, has it all covered.

tonylukac said:

It's a shame that it doesn't run on lower than "pro" versions. Don't most home users and gamers use the "home" edition or lessor?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It's a shame that it doesn't run on lower than "pro" versions. Don't most home users and gamers use the "home" edition or lessor?

Well cheaper cars used to come without air conditioning, or for that matter power steering.

With Windows 7, there is no lower version than, "Windows Home Premium".

Puiu Puiu said:

Perfect! I wanted to install XP Mode on my laptop but i couldn't because my CPU didn't support it. Nowi can finally istall it!! Thank you!

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

i know some companies using a particular VPN software that could make use of such feature, LOL!

will definitely test this out

cheers!

Guest said:

Really a nice move....This would be a boost in making WINDOWS 7 more popular and widely accepted OS...Good work Microsoft

pmshah said:

levar said:

There are so many ways to find out, but as stated end users stranded not knowing what to do. Well this is good and even more than enough reason why not to upgrade to Windows 7. Thanks for the news downloading the update.

It is not all that easy. A case in point is newly released version of Compaq Presario with Intel G41 chipset motherboard and a 2.88 ghz Core2Quad CPU.

The hardware was very attractively priced and a friend of mine bought it for use in his product design environment. By default it came with Windows 7 Home Basic installed. No other versions of Win7 were being offered. Neither were any upgrade options available. When I tried to install the design software on this machines it was futile. So he decided to install Win XP on this machine. Win XP - SP3 installed ok but there was no way I could get the Ethernet hardware or the SMBUS to be recognized. I tried to find suitable drivers on the net. I simply had to give up after close to 30 hours !!! Network connectivity is an absolute must for him.

Now my friend is stuck with hardware he cannot use. Incidentally The design software runs quite well under Win 7 Ultimate edition. His only recourse is to buy this exorbitantly priced OS at a price which is close to the price of the hardware itself !!!

At the moment his only option is to disable the on board Ethernet adapter and use a USB Ethernet adapter in stead. To top it he has to keep his fingers crossed and hope and pray that it does not keep bringing up the BSOD due to unrecognized/configured smbus hardware.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It is not all that easy. A case in point is newly released version of Compaq Presario with Intel G41 chipset motherboard and a 2.88 ghz Core2Quad CPU.

The hardware was very attractively priced and a friend of mine bought it for use in his product design environment. By default it came with Windows 7 Home Basic installed. No other versions of Win7 were being offered. Neither were any upgrade options available. When I tried to install the design software on this machines it was futile.

You do not have your location in your profile. (Or at least I didn't see it). That said, "Windows 7 Basic", is not available in the US. So says Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7_editions However Windows 7 Starter is, but I thought that that was going into netbooks which don't have sufficiently robust hardware to run ; "Windows 7 Home Basic", mostly due to the "Aero" theme.

Now my friend is stuck with hardware he cannot use. Incidentally The design software runs quite well under Win 7 Ultimate edition. His only recourse is to buy this exorbitantly priced OS at a price which is close to the price of the hardware itself !!!
I frankly am having a bit of difficulty accepting that a particular software won't run on Windows 7 Professional, but will run on Windows 7 Ultimate.

With all that said, sometimes you just outsmart yourself, especially when you try to save money.

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