Where does Windows 7 store XP mode information?

By petiepablo68 ·
I work for the government, Windows 7 is approved for testing use right now but they are worried about virtual XP.
We do a lot of remediation (checking for venerabilities in the OS) and they are concerned that the software we use to re-mediate and scan(Retina) will pick up the Windows XP OS in Windows 7 because of XP mode.
I tried to articulate my point, but had no data to back it up. Windows XP mode isnt a full OS as in it takes a portion of your hard drive to use for registry and installation programs like VMware. Rather the virtualization portion emlulates only what is needed for that particular program to run, its not a full OS that would take up a portion of the HDD and would be picked up on a scan.
Can anyone answer this? If so let me know where to find that info so I can prove my point.

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Not sure that I really follow you here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Where does Windows 7 stor ...

But you need to have a Suitable version of 7 and then install XP Mode which you download from the M$ Download Center


This is installed to the HDD where you chose to install it.


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by dawgit In reply to Where does Windows 7 stor ...

You say you work for the Government, then you have to know that the Government will buy a special issue (only for the US Gov) of whatever Microsoft sells. And only that Officially issued Version will be used on Government Computers. (Think Gold Disk +)

That being said...
1) The testing you do now might not (probably won't) reflect what security issues there might be.
2) The commercial version of Windows7 has a security problem that the US Government will not tolerate. That is the Software Must check-in with Microsoft at least once every 90 days or will be bricked. Yup, user lock-out. It's built in. Suck it up.
3) the answer to your Question is that yes, XP mode works, but with what will be up to the individual Software Venders. So if AUTOCAD wishes to (they do) play, their Software will work fine. There are thousands of Software Venders that the US Gov. deals with, so good luck on that.

XP is <i>NOT</i> going away soon, the drop dead date has been extended to at least 2014, at last check.

Edited to add:
Check with DISA, they will help you on this.

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One more thing...

by petiepablo68 In reply to Since...

Question about #2:
If I were to install a copy of Windows 7 on a computer that will never hit the net (standalone), it will eventually be bricked?

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That's a very important question.

by dawgit In reply to One more thing...

And one a lot of folks are asking. At the moment, Microsoft is not addressing that.
So unfortunately I don't have the answer either.

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I'm not sure about 7

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to One more thing...

But that was a problem with XP so I can not see any changes happening to prevent it with 7. If anything it should be more common.

After all according to M$ who doesn't have a Internet connection and why would they not want one. :^0


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by petiepablo68 In reply to Since...

I think I was confused about how virtual machines work. I was thinking that a virtual machine had a dedicated part of the hard drive for its virtual file structure. Upon looking, I see that the file structure is stored in a virtual file. I don't think that will be picked up in any of the security scans we do. I guess now what I am curious about is what security flaws does having a built in virtual machine pose, if any.. I just want to be able to reassure them in the next meeting we have regarding Windows 7. You wouldn't believe how annoying it is still using Windows XP at work.

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oh i don't know

by PurpleSkys In reply to Question...

i still really like XP, ran XP Professional since it was first released until we purchased two new machines loaded with Vista and free Win7 upgrades shortly before Win 7 was released (almost 6 yrs). There aren't too many businesses around where i live that have migrated to Win 7 so XP is still quite popular where we live and we often do work for folks that still run it. When kept clean and up to date, it still runs very well.

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by dawgit In reply to oh i don't know

And it makes no sense to me to change OS's, just to go back to what you were using in the first place. If it's not broke, don't fix it.
In Business and even Government, there's no justification in the ROI in that.

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Virtual does not mean not there...

by dawgit In reply to Question...

It does mean however that the memory is primarily used to 'hold' the OS while in use, as opposed to a Hard Drive. But the installed software is of course on the Hard Drive. (It has to be 'stored' somewhere, no?) That being said Win7 with the XP comparability, will eat up a lot of the computer's resources. Where as the plain XP OS will run normally.
As for detection, YES, it can be seen B-) by the Government Scans, especially in a .mil environment. (there once was a couple of people that thought they were slick ]:) and used Knopix Live CD's on a Government PC, oops, they got caught :^0 )

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Dedicated file, not partition.

by seanferd In reply to Question...

Still, if the hard drive were scanned, anything on the drive would show up, including, say, any OS on another partition in a dual boot system. Doesn't have to be running. If you were scanning for active processes, of course any software to be scanned that way would actually have to be running.

I wonder if you are also confusing 2 separate things: XP compatibility mode (which is just like the Win 9.x or Win3.1 compatibility modes - it is a configuration for the app that allows to current version of Windows to behave a bit like an older version for the app), and XP Mode, which requires that you install Virtual PC, a licensed copy of XP in the VPC, and the virtual copy of XP must be running in the VM for you to use it. You will see an entire XP OS inside the VPC window.

XP Mode is just VPC running a disk image (this is the file in question) of XP & whatever apps are installed to the XP image (VHD file). This is just like running any OS image in VMWare or Virtual Box or whatever. Not sure how MS does it, but there also may be a couple other file for any given VM, like a virtual RAM file, a config file, etc.

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