How to Enable XP Mode in Windows 7 Using Microsoft Virtual PC

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windows 7 logoPart of the problem with the release of Windows Vista was that many apps (particularly corporate applications) simply did not work. In an effort to encourage the adoption of Windows 7, Microsoft developed XP Mode. XP Mode allows applications that run under Windows XP to run alongside Windows 7 applications. Unfortunately, this feature is only provided for the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate Editions of Windows 7.

XP Mode can also be used to run different versions of the same application side by side. As a web developer this allows me to run IE8 (running in Windows 7) and IE6/IE7 (running using XP Mode) side by side for testing web site compatibility.

Lets see how to install and get started with XP Mode in Windows 7.

Part One: Downloading XP Mode and Virtual PC

Step 1. Navigate to the Windows XP Mode and Virtual PC download page, and select your edition of Windows 7 and desired language for installation. If you’re not sure what edition of Windows 7 you are running follow our guide to find out.

Select your edition of Windows 7 and desired language for installation

Step 2. Download XP Mode

Download Windows XP Mode

Step 3. You may be prompted to validate your copy of Windows. Click Continue to proceed.

XP Mode Windows validation

Step 4. Save the file to your computer and run it once the download is complete.

Windows Activation Update

Update installation succeeded

Step 5. Once the Windows update installation has finished, click Continue.

Continue with validation

Wait for the validation process to complete.

Validation in progress

If the validation was successful, then you should get a message similar to the following. If you get an unsuccessful message, then your copy of Windows may not be genuine and you will not be able to proceed.

Validation successful

Step 6. You should now be able to download Window XP Mode.

Windows XP Mode download confirmation

Step 7. Download Windows Virtual PC.

Download Windows Virtual PC

Step 8. Install the update to XP mode, if you are not on Windows 7 SP1 or later.

Update XP Mode if not running SP1 or later

Part Two: Installing XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC

Step 1. Install XP Mode.

XP Mode Installation Step 1

Specify where you would like the virtual hard disk file to be stored. (The default is fine)

XP Mode Installation Step 2

Wait for the setup to complete.

XP Mode Installation Step 3

Click Finish.

XP Mode Installation Step 4

Step 2. Install Windows Virtual PC.

Install updates

Install any updates it prompts you to install.

Accept Licence Agreement

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Wait for it to complete.

Wait for updates to finish installing

Restart if prompted to do so.

Restart if prompted to do so

Part Three: Setting Up and Configuring XP Mode

Step 1. Launch XP Mode from the start menu.

Launch XP Mode

Step 2. Accept the License Agreement.

Accept Licence Agreement

Step 3. Specify a password. (You’ll also likely want it to remember your credentials, otherwise you’ll need to enter your password each time you launch an XP Mode application.)

Specify Credentials

Step 4. Enable automatic updates.

Turn on Automatic Updates

Step 5. Start setup.

Click to start setup

Step 6. When the installation is complete XP Mode will be running within Windows Virtual PC.

XP Mode up and running

Part Four: Installing Applications in XP Mode

Step 1. Using IE in the Virtual Machine, download an application.

Download an application

Step 2. Install the application.

Install the application

Step 3. Log off XP Mode via Start > Log Off.

Log Off XP Mode

Step 4. Launch the application you just installed via the start menu in Windows 7.

Launch installed application

Step 5. The application should now be running alongside your other Windows 7 apps.

Application runs alongside other apps

Step 6. If you want to run an application that was installed with Windows XP such as IE6, open XP Mode again from the start menu.

Launch XP Mode

Step 7. Create a shortcut to IE6 in the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs folder.

Create shortcut to IE6

Step 8. Log off XP Mode via Start > Log Off.

Log Off XP Mode

Step 9. IE6 should now appear in the Windows XP Mode Applications folder in the Start Menu.

IE6 in Start Menu

Step 10. Launch IE6.

IE6 up and running

That’s it! You should now be able to run all your XP applications alongside your windows applications.

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  • anup kumar

    Excellent guide…and very very useful. very nicely and step-by-step its presented.
    Thank you…
    but really, the download size is very big -500 mb (atleast for me, its big)….