XP mode and MED-V no longer require hardware virtualization

by Shijaz Abdulla on 18.03.2010 at 22:55

I’d like to share some exciting news about Windows XP Mode and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization.  The team is removing the virtualization processor requirement for Windows XP Mode on Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate systems.  Windows XP Mode continues to use hardware virtualization such as Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) or the AMD-V™ chipset when available but it no longer requires them. 

Microsoft has released an update that enables PCs without hardware virtualization to also take advantage of Windows XP Mode.  This change simplifies the customer experience and makes this benefit accessible to many more PCs.

Enterprise customers should consider using Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance.  MED-V provides deployment and manageability features which are designed to address the needs of enterprise customers.

When will this happen?

The removal of this requirement has been publicly announced today, March 18th 2010 with the update available on the Windows XP Mode download page at the same time. 

How does this impact MED-V?

MED-V 1.0 SP1 builds on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to help enterprises with their upgrade to Windows Vista and Windows 7 when applications are not yet compatible. 

MED-V 1.0 SP1 does not require hardware virtualization.

The user experience provided by MED-V is similar to “Windows XP mode” – even though a different virtualization technology is used.

MED-V 2.0 will leverage Windows Virtual PC and will benefit from the update above. Availability date for MED-V 2.0 is yet to be announced.

[ Read the press release ]

Setting up Virtual Windows XP (aka “XP mode”) in Windows 7

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.05.2009 at 13:09

Last evening, I installed Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64 Release Candidate (RC) on my Lenovo W500 notebook. Since I was moving from Windows 7 Ultimate x32 Beta, this meant a complete re-installation, as there is no upgrade option from beta to RC.

The installation was pretty smooth and I did not have issues with drivers for the standard hardware on this notebook.

After installing the RC, I decided to try out Virtual Windows XP (or ‘XP Mode’ as the media calls it). Here’s how I went about doing it:

  1. Restart the computer and enter BIOS. Make sure Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) is enabled.  (Hint: Look under CPU options) This requires a processor that is HAV enabled with technologies like Intel VT or AMD-V, which is common on most of recent machines.
  2. Download Windows Virtual PC. This will require a restart at the end of the installation.
  3. Download XP Mode Beta. This is a 400+ MB download.
  4. Complete the installation, see screenshots below:
  5. Check out the Start Menu, you will find Virtual Windows XP.


  6. When Virtual Windows XP starts for the first time, it will take a while. Once it has started, you will find the Windows XP Virtual PC instance as below:
  7. Right click on the Windows XP Start menu and choose Open All Users.
  8. Place shortcuts to the Windows XP programs that you want to publish in Windows 7 in this folder. All shortcuts you place here will automatically appear in the Windows 7 Start Menu! Let’s put Internet Explorer 6 as an example:
  9. Close the virtual machine. You cannot open a virtual Windows XP application while the virtual machine is open, and you will be prompted to close the machine.
  10. On your Windows 7 Start menu, point to Windows Virtual PC > Virtual Windows XP Applications. You will find the XP shortcuts you placed in Step 8 here!
  11. Open your Windows XP application from the Windows 7 Start menu. See Internet Explorer 6 from Windows XP running side-by-side with Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7!
    Notice the Luna theme of Windows XP is maintained on the IE 6 window, even while it is running on Windows 7.

How does one end a process running on the Virtual Windows XP machine?

Simply by opening the Windows 7 Task Manager, the user can see both Windows 7 applications as well as Windows XP mode applications in a single interface. The user may end the Windows XP task (labeled ‘(remote)’) from the same Task Manager instance:


XP Mode is a really cool feature that will help organizations running Windows XP to make the move to Windows 7 much easier. Legacy applications that do not support running on Windows Vista or Windows 7 can still continue running on XP mode, just like we ran Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 7 in this example. The user simply clicks on a shortcut on the Windows 7 Start Menu or desktop and the Windows XP application opens, giving the end-user a seamless experience.