This week, I was finally able to install a virtual machine running XP inside my Windows 7 OS. I say finally because I had been trying to accomplish this for close to a year now. I first tried it when I was running Vista and using Microsoft’s free VM (virtual machine) software.
When Windows 7 came along in October 2009, I heard about the ability to install a virtual PC and run XP in it. I was disappointed to find out that it was available for those running Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate or Professional. When I got Professional, I was crushed again when I found out it had HAV (hardware-assisted virtualization) requirements that my machine could not meet.
Fast forward to this Spring when Microsoft made Hardware virtualization support (HAV) no longer a requirement. So that means if anyone is running Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate or Professional, it’s possible to get your computer configured with Virtual PC + XP Professional for free!
I think Microsoft realized the previous requirements left too many users unable to utilize XP Mode. That meant that there were users out there who would NOT upgrade to Windows 7 because they had some legacy software that was holding them back.
I was interested in XP Mode because I have client work that can only be completed by using Windows XP, but I didn’t know that before I upgraded to Windows 7. Luckily, I have a Dell netbook with XP on it, so I could continue with my client. But I’d rather do that work on my production machine.
Next, I want to walk through the steps to get Windows Virtual PC & XP Mode on your machine.
Steps To Install Windows Virtual PC & Windows XP Mode
- Have a PC running Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate or Professional edition.
- Download and install the three pieces of software in the order designated (below). This takes quite awhile – I’m talking about hours. This is because you’re installing a new operating system inside another operating system. Even though you get XP with SP 3 on it, there are still many more updates that will need to be installed. Don’t forget to install security software. Might as well use Microsoft Security Essentials – it’s free and lightweight.
Two steps, but budget a lot of time to do this. For me, it took probably 6 hours, but I wasn’t babysitting my computer – I’d come back every once in awhile and do the next thing and walk away again. I also shut down everything else and just put all my machine’s resources on the downloading and installing process.
When it finished with all the updates, I started it up and everything worked! I was able to do my tasks that I had been doing on the Dell netbook on my production machine, so I was very happy.
The purpose of this article is really to let you know that the hardware requirements have been eliminated and now it’s much easier to use this software and have the ability to install and run your XP programs from within Windows 7.
USB Support & 1-Click Launch
Some really cool things they’ve added are the below. We’re not covering that here, but read about these improvements. I’ve heard more technical people talk about that perhaps with the USB support, it might mean that there will be hardware support for our old XP peripherals. That could help a lot of people who have printers that are in great condition, but can’t find a driver in Windows 7.
More Resources – check here for more comprehensive coverage of Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP.
If you’ve tried this, let me know how your experience went.