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Windows 7 XP Mode Won't Work On Dozens Of AMD, Intel Processors

Dozens of AMD and Intel desktop and laptop processor models could well not support the XP compatibility mode in Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.

Microsoft offered the XP compatibility feature to wow businesses which have been reluctant to migrate from XP to Vista and had preferred to wait for Windows 7 to be launched.

As its name implies, the "XP mode" will allow XP-only applications that are not explicitly compatible with Windows 7 (and for which there are no current upgrades) to run in a virtual machine on Windows 7.

The XP Mode is not available in Windows 7 per se, but is offered as a download (Windows XP SP3 & Virtual PC) to those who have a license to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate.

Only platforms that have had support for Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) enabled in their BIOS will be able to run the XP Mode.

A number of Intel and AMD processors won't be compatible with the XP Mode as they don't offer so called Virtualisation technologies (like Intel's own VT).

Intel said in a statement that it shipped more than 100 million chips with that feature (which came as part of the vPro platform aimed at businesses) but the are possibly tens of millions others which won't be supported. These include a number of Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, older Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors.

Although most current AMD processors have inbuilt AMD Virtualization technology (AMD-V), older socket 939 processors or Sempron-based CPUs don't support it.

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Our Comments

There are some similarities between the current situation and the so called Vista capable fiasco which apparently saw Intel and Microsoft collude to push products including obsolete graphics chipsets as Vista capable models.As Ed Bott from ZDNet puts it, "how much positive Windows 7 buzz will be wiped out in coming weeks and months when consumers and business buyers discover that a heavily hyped new Windows 7 feature, XP Mode, won’t work on some Intel-based products?” Hopefully not much.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.