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Microsoft Unveils Windows XP Mode RC

Microsoft has announced that the availability of the release candidate of Windows XP Mode, a free component that will allow Windows 7 to run legacy applications from Windows XP using virtualisation.

Windows XP Mode is actually a virtualised version of a Windows XP Service Pack 3 installation that can be called upon at any time. Because it is an operating system on its own, it is recommended that necessary patches and security software are installed.

Windows XP Mode will run only on Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate - which comes bundled with it - and will require a virtualisation engine like Windows Virtual PC. Windows users will need to check whether their computer's processor has some sort of virtualisation built in.

All AMD recent processors - except the Sempron range - comes with hardware virtualisation while you will need to download and install a small file to check whether your Intel processor is equipped for virtualisation.

In addition, enabling virtualisation will require an additional 1GB of memory and 15GB extra hard disk space. For most of us though, installing Windows XP Mode won't be necessary if all your Windows XP applications run perfectly under Windows 7.

Indeed early tests carried out by ITProPortal have shown that Windows 7 can run 13 year-old software that were designed for Windows 95.

Windows XP also came with a program compatibility mode that allowed Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 legacy programme. Users simply had to select the appropriate option in the application's property tab.

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Our Comments

Windows XP Mode RC will hopefully solve one of the most annoying issues with Windows Vista - program (in)compatibility. Most of the software affected are likely to be those used in business environments and which haven't been designed to run on later Microsoft OS.

Related Links

Microsoft Windows XP Mode Release Candidate Is Now Available (opens in new tab)

Microsoft Releases Windows XP Mode RC for Win7 (opens in new tab)

Windows XP Mode RC available now (opens in new tab)

Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC (opens in new tab)

Windows 7 XP Mode hits RC (opens in new tab)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

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.