Windows

Get access to Windows XP Mode via Windows Anytime Upgrade

Greg Shultz discusses concerns regarding the availability of Windows XP mode in more detail and offers up some solutions.

In last week's blog, "Get the Most Out of Windows XP Mode with These Tips," I showed you several very cool tips that you can employ if you are using Windows XP Mode in Windows 7. That article drew some criticism about Windows XP Mode that I thought raised some very valid concerns. I have heard similar concerns from other folks as well. As such, I thought that I should address them in this week's blog since they have equally valid solutions.

The main gist of these concerns refers to the fact that Windows XP Mode is touted as one of the major features in Windows 7, yet it is available only in the higher-end versions of Windows 7 -- Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate. Furthermore, most consumer computer outlets typically carry the lower-end versions of Windows 7 -- mainly Home Premium. Therefore, it may be difficult for the average consumer to take advantage of this great feature.

It is also possible that a less-informed consumer could purchase a computer with Windows 7 Home Premium from a consumer outlet thinking that because they are getting Windows 7, they would have access to Windows XP Mode. To further complicate the matter, there is still a lot of concern about the various CPUs out there and the necessary built-in hardware-assisted virtualization technology.

In this edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I'll discuss these concerns in more detail and offer up some solutions.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Determining hardware-assisted virtualization support

Determining hardware-assisted virtualization support with respect to Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode isn't as difficult as might appear to be. In fact, AMD claims that all of its currently shipping CPUs, with the exception of the Sempron chips, provide the AMD-V hardware-assisted virtualization technology.

If you are not sure if your AMD CPU provides AMD-V support or if you just want to check, you can download and run the Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Tool. No installation is required, but you must have administrator privileges to run it. When you do, you'll hopefully see a display like the one shown in Figure A.

Figure A

If your CPU provides hardware-assisted virtualization technology, you'll see this verification message.
Intel, on the other hand, produces such a wide variety of CPUs models, and not all their CPUs provide the Intel VT hardware-assisted virtualization technology. If you need to check if your Intel CPU provides the Intel VT hardware-assisted virtualization technology, you can use the Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Tool or you can download and install the Intel Processor Identification Utility. When you run it, hopefully you'll see a display like the one shown in Figure B.

Figure B

If your Intel CPU provides the Intel VT hardware-assisted virtualization technology, you'll see this verification message.

If you are shopping for a new computer at a consumer outlet and want proof that the CPU in the system you are looking at does indeed provide hardware-assisted virtualization support, just ask the salesman to run one of these utilities on the floor model.

The Anytime Upgrade

When it comes to purchasing a Windows 7 system at a consumer outlet and getting your hands on Windows XP Mode, you can always take advantage of the Windows Anytime Upgrade and easily go from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional. While most of the folks to whom I suggested this option balked at the thought of paying more to upgrade the operating system of a brand-new computer, it really isn't a bad way to go.

For example, you could walk into Best Buy and pick up a Dell Inspiron laptop with an Intel 2.2GHZ Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory, 500 GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit for a little over $700. While at Best Buy you could also purchase the Windows Anytime Upgrade: Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional Upgrade package for $89.99.

So, for a little under $800, you could get a Windows 7 Professional system at a consumer outlet and get your hands on Windows XP Mode. This is a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that the price of similarly configured system with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit at Dell.com sells for about $900. Of course, Dell offers special deals all the time and there's a good chance that you wouldn't have to pay the full price. However, you would still have to wait for shipping.

The bottom line is that with the availability of Windows Anytime Upgrade, there is no reason to miss out on Windows XP Mode, just because the computer you are purchasing at a consumer outlet comes with Windows 7 Home Premium.

(Alternatively, you could also purchase the Windows Anytime Upgrade: Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade package for $139.99 along with the $700 Dell Inspiron laptop. That is about $840 to get your hands on Windows XP Mode at a consumer outlet.)

What's your take?

Do you have Windows 7 Home Premium and want access to Windows XP Mode? Does using the Windows Anytime Upgrade sound like a good solution to you? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you?

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

15 comments
bus66vw
bus66vw

My questions "A Bridge Too Far"?, is more of a statement about cost for the upgrade. The Compaq S3321p is a slime-line case which is hard to do hardware upgrades but to do the XP mode in win7 it must be done (listed below). upgrade to 4GB PART NUMBER, KTH-XW4300/2G, 2GB 667MHz Module, 2 @ $60.00 Sales Tax: $0.00 Freight: $0.00 Grand Total: $120.00 upgrade video card ZOTAC ZT-84MEH3M-FSL GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail Price: $31.99 Freight: $5.99 Grand Total: $37.98 Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Full - Retail Price: $268.99 Freight: $1.99 Grand Total: $270.98 win7 Pro $428.96 The idea of using the Windows Anytime Upgrade may save some money but wouldn't it be necessary to do it to Vista to win7 and then win7-Pro? I think it's still "A Bridge Too Far"?

RichardA
RichardA

It's free, and, as I recall reading, has more features. I don't remember all the details, but I spent several hours researching which to use, and settled on VirtualBox.

wschoenerklee
wschoenerklee

i think it is a rip off to expect to pay more than what home premium costs. MS OS already are overpriced. Shame on Bill Gates again.

kirk227
kirk227

Personally I don't think it matters how you get XP mode because I hate it. I spent the extra money to buy the better version just for the XP mode. I quickly found out several things that if I'm wrong about, please correct me. First, when you try to change the screen resolution or configuration it's greyed out. I'm stuck with 16 bit graphics which 20 years ago was fine, but now I can barely stand to look at it. Second, I had to buy a second antivirus program because for all practical purposes it's a different computer. Thirdly, not only do you have to do virus definition updates every time you use it, you also have to do Microsoft updates. Both of these, while you can of course keep working while they run, force you to reboot at some point. I have Outlook 2007 on my W7 OS but I can't use it on the XP mode because it's detected by M.S. as being used even though it isn't. Therefore you have to go with Outlook Ex which isn't a fate worse than death, but when you start to add all of these together, you get a baby computer that's only purpose is to play with it now and then, and do maintenance on it. I started to say change it's diapers but that seemed a bit much. I actually just uninstalled mine last night because all it was doing was using up time I could spend learning more about W7. By the way, many programs that always ran on XP won't run in XP mode. I don't care what they tell you.

gdunger
gdunger

I had downloaded the app to test hardware virtualization - which failed - so I knew not to waste money on the Pro version of Win7. Win7 Home will not allow the installation of Virtual PC - even a version of VPC that used to work in XP on machines without hardware virtualization - which stinks of the influence the marketing department has in design of the software. The one Pro feature that I might have spent extra for is Remote Desktop. I would rate RD implementation as excellent, but I can get by using VNC and save some cash. Of course Windows security raises all kinds of scary alarms when I run a VNC server ... more scary than other kinds of servers. Marketing again?

finkey
finkey

Guess I'll have to keep going on Windows XP Pro with a single core AMD Sempron CPU. I don't have $700 to drop at the entry level of Windows 7 anyway. You guys must be rich.

Daniel Breslauer
Daniel Breslauer

You forgot Enterprise. I use Enterprise (company laptop).

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

mainly because if you need to re-install things you have to first install the base Windows version that your computer came with, then re-run the anytime upgrade. As we all know upgrading the OS is never the best way to install, no matter if you run Windows, Linux or Mac OS. Fresh install is always best, which anytime upgrade won't allow. I would be remiss to not mention again that Windows 7 basic doesn't allow for the upgrade process in the first place.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Did you upgrade your original version of Windows 7 so that you can use Windows XP Mode?

vandamme
vandamme

Ubuntu & Wine. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

.Martin.
.Martin.

Enterprise and ultimate as the same. the only differences between the two are volume licensing, and support till 2020 for enterprise (compared with 2015 for ultimate). that and the games are disabled in enterprise.

brendanlewis
brendanlewis

I recently used the Anytime Upgrade, and it took only 5 minutes to perform. All of the functions and files are there, but Windows only unlocks what is applicable to your key code. Am I confusing Anytime Upgrade with a regular upgrade? If so, I agree that a fresh install, which is available from the upgrade media, is best.

Ron_007
Ron_007

I downloaded the "intel" tool but when I started the install I got chinese. No thank you. Actually, I'm also looking for an applet to identify presence of TPM chip. Anyone know of one?

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

I may be confusing the anytime upgrade. That's not how I understood it to be. Though for some reason they don't offer it for the basic version. Keep in mind that I haven't had my hands on a basic version of 7. Other than confirming this point I have no reason to touch it.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...takes you to a page full of links to various languages. Make sure that you select English.

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