Windows

Five reasons why Windows 7 XP Mode will encourage upgrades

Bill Detwiler explains what XP mode is and shares five reasons why it may encourage XP hold outs to upgrade.

Microsoft hopes Windows 7 will be the upgrade that XP fans have been holding out for and to help ease that separation anxiety, the new OS offers something called XP mode. In this episode of TR Dojo, I explain what XP mode is and share five reasons why it may encourage XP hold outs to upgrade.

Note: In order to use Windows 7 XP Mode, Microsoft states that your processor must be "capable of hardware-assisted virtualization with AMD-V, Intel VT, or VIA VT turned on in the BIOS." You can determine if your hardware meets these requirements using the Microsoft Hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) detection tool. Depending on your version of Windows 7, you'll also need to download and install both Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC. You can get more information on Microsoft's Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC Home Web page.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Brien Posey's article, "10 reasons why Windows 7's XP Mode is a big deal," on which this episode is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

95 comments
akfaka
akfaka

After switched to Mac, I will never, never, never, never, never, never, ever buy any Windows garbage again!!!! But I will encourage all my customers to use Windows so that I can pay my bills.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

A good article Bill, BUT I've got some points of my own against it. 1. In point one, you say XP Mode will allow you to use MOST XP applications, why not all. If MS hadn't changes the command set instructions, the XP applications would have just run in Win 7 anyway. 2. Virtual Box 3 already allows you to run all those earlier versions of Windows, so why settle for Win 7 XP Mode. 3. XP Mode is only in the more expensive business versions, so if any home users wish to run any of their older applications, they have to fork over more money to buy a version with XP Mode. 4. According to the information currently available, it only allows video graphics up to 16 MB - there goes the XP games you wanted to play. 5. Your system must have - AMD-V or Intel VT hardware virtualization must be supported and enabled. 6. It also assumes you have all the required Win 7 drivers for the hardware too. I've also been told by someone with Win 7 that the XP Mode only works if your system has TPM, he found out after he bought the Win 7 Pro edition to get the XP Mode and he got a message XP Mode wouldn't work, telling him why. Not having an official release version of the higher versions of Win 7, I haven't tried it out. I think I'll just keep away from Win 7. My son is doing better running Win 7 in Virtual Box 3 on his XP machine, as the Win 7 install won't run in XP Mode at all.

dannan
dannan

If Microsoft wanted XP users to go 7 in a big way...then they should have offered direct upgrade!! Most XP users will still wait since they didn't jump at Vista...and now there's no direct upgrade.. Sorry...but just plain stupid.

mradloff
mradloff

I have tried to get this working. I have a old client\server app that I cannot get to work. It requires access to a mapped drive and I can't seem to log into the domain from the XP vm. This causes authentication issues.

mike21b
mike21b

more so than Vista. We have a couple of older apps that didn't run on XP, especially after SP2. Our 0.5 person IT department does not support Vista installations, but we will adopt 7 gradually. I've been using it for a while. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but it does work.

john.colley
john.colley

Something you don't often see - a mistake in the credits being corrected on the fly ..... did you spot Greg Shultz' name as the original author being erased and replaced by Brien Posey's? Perhaps a classic cut & paste job gone wrong (or is there a message in this somewhere)?

whawn
whawn

Can you please provide written transcripts of your vids? The vid thing wastes time. I'd rather read what you have to say, and move on. Thanks Walter hawn

cbellur
cbellur

From what I understand, XP users cannot upgrade. It is a new install (according to the Micosoft site). They have to backup their files on other media, and the Win 7 installer wipes out their system. Seems like they're sticking it to XP users. I got sick of Microsoft a few months before Win 7 came out, and got a Mac. I'm happy to see, Win 7 looks like they're still 2-3 years behind Apple... I knew this would be more of the same. Microsoft seems unable to innovate. At best, they offer products that others have come up with 2-3 years prior, and offer minor improvements (and a few disprovements), often imaginary (Bing is not as relevant as they say -- go ahead and search for "bar" and you will see "bureau of automotive repair" among the top results -- their commercials lie). Zune, Bing, Windows, Microsoft Store... They're always 2-3 years behind. I don't care how big they are, I don't have to use their products and I won't. It's like Tesla vs. Edison. They're shameless...

SpecHound
SpecHound

What about performance under "XP mode"? Will one be able to play older PC games, for example?

sullystuff
sullystuff

We will not be deploying Windows 7 until they put a classic desktop into it. We recently did a demo of Windows 7. My user base (mostly boomers 5-10 years from retirement) hated it in no uncertain terms. They also despise the Office ribbon bar. I love the fact that Win7 is easier on hardware, including our older PC's, but only about 5% of our PC's can run virtual machines, and even if they could current security policies will not allow it. So XP mode is out of the question. So there is no business case I can make that will, for the foreseeable future, push an upgrade from XP.

gbrandenstein
gbrandenstein

The main reason I steered clear of Vista was the complete re-arrangement of the interface and the capricious hiding of controls. It made trying to use it a nightmare. Throw the incompatibilities on top of that and I decided that it was a waste of my time and energy. Unless Windows 7 "XP Mode" is actually putting the XP interface in place of the Vista interface, I am not touching it.

dwwright
dwwright

I will do as I have done with ALL other Windows versions -3.1,95,98, NT 3.5, NT 4, 2000, XP. wait until SP1

ecdys-buy
ecdys-buy

A better solution is to run XP and 7 as a VMware virtual machine. I regularly run XP on a Windows 2000 host resulting in the following advantages : a tired XP or 7 is easily replaced by a brand new XP or 7 image and patches and updates no longer pile up in the registry but are simply leapfrogged for less clutter; many applications run faster on a virtual machine; a bloated system is replaced by an assembly of virtual machines and apps, kept clean and easily relaced in a modular fashion.

ecdys-buy
ecdys-buy

An even better solution, is to run XP and 7 as a VMware virtual machine. I regularly run XP on a Windows 2000 host resulting in the following advantages : a tired XP or 7 is easily replaced by a brand new XP or 7 image so that patches and updates no longer pile up in the registry but are simply leapfrogged for less clutter; many applications run faster on a virtual machine; a bloated system is replaced by an assembly of virtual machines or apps, kept clean and easily relaced in a modular fashion.

robert.a.dietz
robert.a.dietz

Will Windows 7 XP Mode support the workstation being a part of a local domain, just like XP Pro supported it? I have a small domain running with Srvr 2003 and a half-dozen XP Pro machines.

glenmy
glenmy

Here is my issue: Microsoft keeps making "improvements" to its OS and applications, but they add little or no value and disrupt processes I have put in place for getting my work done. I have not had the "pleasure" of moving to Win7 yet. I have recently been "upgraded" from Office 2003 to Office 2007 (Sorry if my example is slightly off topic). In Outlook 2003, I used the colored 'flags' to categorize my email messages for different types of follow-up. Outlook 2007 changes all the flags to shades of red with MS-defined time-frames (not the system I had before). The added colored Categories, which I thought would address the same purpose, but it took me a while to realize that I needed to also create a special "Search" folder for my categorized messages. Before this folder, ALL MY CATEGORIZATIONS WERE AUTOMATICALLY REMOVED!! I just wish they would stop re-arranging the interfaces and altering the way features work. In the name of 'simplifying' access, they change the behavior of things and make them useless.

tonedeafdog
tonedeafdog

XP Mode is great, as long as you're dealing with new hardware. What about the millions of people, or small companies, where upgrading existing hardware (some only one or 2 years old) that doesn't support hardware-assisted virtualization?

cory.schultze
cory.schultze

Win7 XP mode requires Hardware virtualisation, which is supported by a limited selection of processors and motherboards. You'll have to buy new computers or upgrade all processors/motherboards as required, iether way, you'll have to pay for your IT team to put the hours in for this. Otherwise, if you have bespoke business solutions that are incompatible, it could cost thousands to have it re-written. Basically, it'll cost three times the license per user just to get the company up-to-date, then you need to train all your staff to use it, some of which have trouble attaching documents to emails. Not all businesses have that kind of capital, aspecially in these times. I think it's something the company will have to gradually introduce with all new computers as-and-when.

info
info

Geez, why not just keep XP. You say XP is becoming quickly outdated, only because there forcing it to be, and your helping. Shame on you Tech Republic

cwmoser
cwmoser

Windows XP runs just fine in a VMware window on my Ubuntu Linux. So why do I want Windows 7? Carl

cwmoser
cwmoser

Windows XP runs just fine in a VMware window on my Ubuntu Linux. So why do I want Windows 7? Carl

jc50otr
jc50otr

If the first and most important benefit of Windows 7 is that it has XP mode which makes it run like XP, why spend the time and money to buy Win 7 ? Of course Mr. Softy will force us to upgrade as they always do. I would appreciate a little honesty from MS Marketing where they simply say to us " send us $150 per machine every 2 years and we will leave you alone to do your job". I really resent the constant loss of productivity and effort I am required to expend in having to do the "final engineering of a product that I am forced to buy every few years. It's like being forced to buy a new English car every few years and spend my weekends repairing the bloody thing.

sysop
sysop

From this article, it sounds like in reality its 5 more reasons Not to use Windows 7. Fine in theory, but a pain to work with. Besides the hardware needed is not available to all yet. And you have to have the RIGHT version to do it in the first place.

Rembrandt1
Rembrandt1

The XP Mode is undoubtedly a useful innovation BUT you must have a computer with hardware capable of virtualisation AND be running a version of Windows 7 'above' Home edition. I wouldn't like to put an exact date on this but computers with hardware virtualisation capabilities have only recently (say in the last 18 months) become generally available in the UK. I don't see many organisations switching to Windows 7 and having to invest in new kit just to get XP mode.

mjameyer
mjameyer

if this thread is still alive, i need to know if XP-mode will run legacy 16 bit apps seemlessly (ie without additional user input) or even run them at all on a 64bit Windows installation? Has any one tried this?

ANARCHYMM
ANARCHYMM

realy had no need for application upgrades since Office 2000; that is all we need. Tired of paying for unneeded features.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

under the video? There is a little link that says transcript. If you click it you will be able to read the content of the video. You won't get to read the bloopers though.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

IF, you have the more recent hardware needed to run Windows XP mode, and IF, you have purchased a copy of Win 7 Pro or the more expensive business versions, and IF, the game is one that was designed to run perfectly in Windows XP with Service Pack 3, then it MAY run for you, some games will, some won't. Forget any idea of playing games from earlier versions of Windows, they won't tun - according to MS this is XP only. You'd do better to try a copy of a recent version of Unix or Linux with Virtual Box 2 - and it emulates ALL versions of Windows.

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

Period as they need to access to the hardware drivers and because they need hardware acceleration also, so that make it impossible to run your game in any virtualization as far as my experience of virtualization goes and reading on that subject also. But for your Microsoft Office is more then ok and other productivity software mostly and that is why you do the test bed in first place. Anyway if you play games you go dual boot for that cases as the reasons mentioned above and that it is why Apple invented the boot camp after it was try and tuned almost to perfection by enthusiast like me on the PC ;).

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Having fought with Vista since pre-SP1, Win7 is great. However, I have to agree that Microsoft's pointless re-arranging of the interface, which seems 95% cosmetic, is Win7's downfall as compared to XP. Other than internal IT use, we'll also be buying our new machines with the XP Pro "downgrade" for as long as we can. After that, who knows? Maybe we'll buy the machine bare and the OS from an Open contract and continue to downgrade, even though it means building our OS and software installs.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

classic look to it like SimplyMepisLinux or PCOSLinux or any other using KDE 3.5

Number 6
Number 6

Microsoft finished their OS series with XP. No further functional need for massive revision and upgrading is presently necessary. Wake up people. So, keep a lean, honed copy of XP running until moronic end-user demand has finally killed it through the obsolescence of essential, core security applications such as virus scanners, etc. Beyond that, Linux is the only sensible solution to the endless treadmill of destructive upgrades to the latest software infestation from Redmond.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Ubuntu runs just fine in a VMware window on my Windows 7. So why do I want Ubuntu? :0

tech
tech

When are we going to collectively realize that when it comes to MS we need to take a wait and see attitude. After we spend a year or so collectively debugging there rush release, they then release there much anticipated service pack. Sooo...Wait at least until then. If they were truly interested in pushing the world in the direction of productivity we would have a nicely evolving XP OS by now. Think of the time lost over the vista debacle. In short, Don't give up your XP until your convinced it is the productive move to make. They can't stop supporting it if we are all still using it! Please understand I am all in favor of change and improvement, just not at the price of lost productivity.

gbb0330
gbb0330

i would much rather subscribe to a service that provides service packs / security updates for my current software than be forced to go thru the pain of upgrading every few years.

jgerrits
jgerrits

Windows XP mode will give a specialized set of users and applications an option. It isn't the "first and most important benefit of Windows 7". As far as your "every 2 years" issue? Come on now, it's been since October, 2001 that any windows user has had any compelling reason to upgrade.

SKDTech
SKDTech

With many tools not available in Home and the lack of domain joining functionality why would you use a "Home" edition of Windows in your business? Businesses are expected to use Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate which is why XP mode is available to these platforms. Also, I could be wrong but hardware that supports virtualization is becoming more and more common and any kit purchased in the last year or the future is likely to support it.

daniel
daniel

Here! Here! ... However... win7 works like a dream on netbooks (better even than Ubuntu's NBR). but for the rest of mu computing needs, I usually turn to one flavour of Linux or another.

seanferd
seanferd

Or any other relatively modern OS with nearly any modern virtualization platform. Excepting VPC for Win 7, of course. Or, I could run a Free BSD live CD as a VM in VMWare Player, running on XP, called from a shortcut in Microsoft Bob. The fun is endless.

cbellur
cbellur

If you get a Mac, you can run Ubuntu, Windows, and whatever you want... In fact, you can run Windows from within the Mac OS X desktop with VMWare fusion -- it's more like running a Windows app directly on OS X, bypassing all the crappyness and unoriginality of Windows. I checked out Windows 7 -- looks like Ballmer brought in a Mac and told them to make it look/work more like this...

seanferd
seanferd

i don't know the vagaries of MS volume licensing contracts, but you pay per seat for various MS products like a subscription, not per product release. VLK is different than buying software retail or OEM.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

I disagree that hardware virtualization support is common. In the past few days, I checked a number of current motherboard offerings from ASUS and other vendors and only about 1 in 4 motherboards supported hardware virtualization (or at least listed support in the specs). Add to this Intel's "catch me if you can" approach to processor support, which has no clear ryhme or reason, and XPM's requirement for hardware support will be its downfall. Too much promise and not nearly enough delivery. If XPM could USE hardware virtualization, but note REQUIRE it, so that it would always work, that would make it a real player. As it stands, XPM is too much vaporware without a lot of actual value.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Unlike the situation with Intel, almost every AMD CPU produced in the last few years incorporates virtualization technology. Check. You may find you have an inexpensive notebook on hand that can do tricks your desktop system cannot. You may need to install a program such as Virtual PC before AMD's VT will report that it is active. To test your system, I suggest Gibson's SecurAble. It's a smaller download than Microsoft's app, doesn't need an 800 Kb manual, doesn't leave files and a directory cluttering your system, and doesn't want to report back to Ballmer. http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

SKDTech
SKDTech

It is not as much MS that makes sure the games are compatible as the companies who make the games. To my knowledge the majority of the programs that would not work or would not work correctly in Vista were largely custom business apps. I have a library of software going back to DOS and have had extremely little trouble running any game that would run on XP. Some needed patching immediately after installation but other than that no problems. I did some work over a year ago at a company that still ran Windows 2000 on about half of its desktops. Why? Because of one particular app that wouldn't even run on XP properly. Home users will find a new program to serve their needs if their old one won't run on their new computer much more readily than a business will, of course most home users don't have the comfort of volume licensing deals and rarely perform OS upgrades outside of buying a brand new prepackaged PC at the local retail superstore.

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

No problems, and my son use the 32 bits version no problems also, BF 2142, no problems and all patched, punkbuster working no problems also. MS Office 2007 Plus no problems also. Avast Pro Home Edition, no problems also. Windows Home Server Connector, no problems also. Any DVD ver 6.6.x., no problems also. Brothers MFC 5440 All in One, no problems also (64 bits drivers from Vista) setup as Newtwork Printer on the Workgroup. VLC Media Players, no problems also, DivX 7, Divx Author, no problems also. Nvidia 512Mb 8800GT no... well I should upgrade because Crysis but it work w/o crash so no rush. VPN no problems also. So MS did not screw you up for games Network.... WOW it work so well, no complain about it... well homegroup could be improved to included other then Apple type and MS type Video I mean there is other then MP4 and WMA or for that matter mpeg that we have here.. i.e MK video file. All thigh up with a WHS Server, for backup and media and storage, no problems of setup or connection also and very easy to maintain. Don't believe everyone about games won't work as MS know and want the home owner to be able to play games; because w/o games on Windows it is like Apple or Linux and at that point it will be better for me to have Linux then a close thight box as Apple w/o possibility of upgrading but oups who need games and upgradability except the home owner ;) so Yes Games work very well in General on Windows 7 with I am sure some exception also i.e. 16 bits forget it on a 64 bits that for sure as it is a no go.

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

Cost efficient, support my Quad Core @ 2.4 MHz and 4 Gig of RAM, many option and boot from network and USB is one of them. That motherboard did cost me retail 99 CDN in Canada. So for a Corporation I suppose it will be way lower than that in quantity. Many Motherboard maker I guess with reputable and proven consumer and corporation satisfaction will sure want to sell you a combo kit for conversion if not at almost same price then retails for a already built system with warranty when you get in a reasonable number, meaning you must be at least SMB to Big range to get same price but proof that me as single purchase could get that Asus with a 3 year warranty at 99 CDN dollars price is a proof that it exist and not limited in choice.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

While AMD CPU support for virtualization is much better than Intel's, what about the the motherboards that the CPU lives in? I've just been looking for one (ASUS, Gigabyte, among others) and only a very few list virtualization support as a motherboard feature. I'm assuming that AMD-compatible motherboards must be designed to support virtualization just as Intel-compatible ones must be. This is not solely a function of the CPU; the motherboard has to support this, too, does it not?