Set up Windows 8 Client Hyper-V to run Windows XP

Accessing Windows Feature tool from the Start Screen is easy

This screenshot gallery is also available as a post in the Windows and Office Blog.

As you may remember, Windows 7 came with Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode allowing you to download and install a fully functional copy of Windows XP SP3 in a virtual machine running inside of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. XP Mode was designed to ease migration and compatibility issues by allowing you to easily run Windows XP application in Windows 7.

The XP Mode for Windows Virtual PC included specialized integration components designed to allow applications installed in the Windows XP virtual machine to appear as if they were running directly in Windows 7 - the applications even appeared on the Windows 7 Start menu. When you launch such an application from the Start menu, the virtual Windows XP loads in the background without any UI and it looks and feels as though you are running the application directly in Windows 7. Microsoft calls this feature Seamless Mode.

As I explained in my last blog post, Create a test machine in Windows 8 Client Hyper-V, Microsoft has done away with Windows Virtual PC in favor of focusing on Hyper-V, which is a much more powerful and feature rich virtualization platform and also is the main virtualization platform in Windows Server. However, as a side effect of doing so, the XP Mode capability has also gone by the wayside.

Now, before you get all excited, losing XP Mode was not part of some evil plan by Microsoft to push folks away from Windows XP. In fact, the reason for the disappearance of XP Mode is related to the differences in the hypervisor platforms used by Windows Virtual PC and Windows 8's Client Hyper-V. Windows Virtual PC uses Type-2 hypervisor while Hyper-V is a Type 0 hypervisor. The differences in Hyper-V's hypervisor type means that it can't provide the same access that made XP Mode's integration feature possible.

However, that doesn't mean that you can't still run a Windows XP on a virtual machine in Windows 8. In this post, I'll show you how to install Windows XP in Windows 8 Client Hyper-V virtual machine. As I do, I'll show you some of the neat features in Client Hyper-V.

As I work through this article, I am going to assume that you have read my previous article, have already installed Windows 8's Client Hyper-V, and are familiar with the basic steps that I covered on setting up a virtual machine.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Launching Windows 8's Client Hyper-V

To begin, just press the [Windows] key to bring up the Start Screen. Then, type Hyper and press [Enter] when Hyper-V Manager appears, as illustrated.

Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic


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.