Windows 7 XP mode is a feature, which is a part of a downloadable add-on to a Windows computer, which enables you to run a virtual Windows XP computer, right on your Windows 7 computer without having to manually install the full operating system.
In order to activate Windows 7 XP mode on a Windows computer, Windows Virtual PC must be installed. Windows Virtual PC is a copy of the Windows XP, fully activated, with the Service Pack 3 installed.
Windows 7 XP mode comes in handy when you need to use programs for Windows XP, but are no longer supported on Windows 7. Using this feature is simple, but before you proceed, you must ensure that your computer’s CPU and hardware are configured to use your Windows 7 computer in XP mode.
If you want to determine if your CPU supports Windows 7 XP mode, you’ll have to follow the simple steps outlined below. For ease of access, here’s a table of contents to jump you around.
How to detect if your PC supports Windows 7 XP mode
Support for this feature is largely dependent on your CPU capabilities. As there are two major CPU types for Windows computers, I’ll be taking you through the steps required to check if your computer supports Windows 7 XP mode, both on an Intel CPU, and AMD.
The feature that your CPU is required to have before it can run Windows XP on your Windows 7 computer is known as hardware virtualization support. Intel processors identify this support as the Intel Virtualization Technology, while it is known as AMD-V on AMD processors.
Here, I’ll show you how to check if your PC has the hardware virtualization support.
Checking for hardware virtualization support on Intel
To check for hardware virtualization support on an Intel processor, you have to download and run the Intel Processor Identification Utility on your computer. Once you’ve accepted all terms and launched the program, you’ll click on “CPU Technologies”.
Once you get to the next screen, you’ll have to find Intel(R) Virtualization Technology. This should be at the top of the page. There will be either “Yes” or “No” next to it.
If it is “Yes”, then you can use Windows 7 XP mode on your computer. Otherwise, you can’t or you’ll have to configure your BIOS to support hardware virtualization.
Checking for hardware virtualization support on AMD
Checking for hardware virtualization support on AMD processors is similar to that of Intel processors. To proceed, you’ll have to download AMD Virtualization Technology and Microsoft Hyper-V System Compatibility Check Utility.
Once the download is complete, extract the files to an identified folder. Find the folder where you extracted the files and find amdvhyperv.exe. right click on the file and select Run as Administrator.
Wait for the program to load, and it will show you if your CPU supports AMD-V.
If your CPU supports AMD-V, then you can use Windows 7 XP mode without further configurations. Otherwise, it’s either your CPU can’t support the feature, or you’ll have to configure your BIOS to support hardware virtualization.
How to configure BIOS to support hardware virtualization
If the test for hardware virtualization comes out negative for your computer, you might just have to enable hardware virtualization in your motherboard’s BIOS.
As BIOS is different for every computer, giving an accurate step by step instructions here won’t be a wise thing to do, as you will end up getting confused and finding out that I just typed a bunch of shit.
However, on every computer, you’ll have to enter the BIOS (which has different entry modes). You’ll then have to search the BIOS settings for “Virtualization”, AMD-V or Virtual Machine and ensure it’s enabled.
Once you’ve enabled it, you still have to go back to the first section to check if it has changed. If you can’t get it to change, then I’m afraid you’ll have to give up. If you can get it right, congratulations, you can move on to the next section.
This might be painstaking, but it’s worth it, if you really have to run that XP program on your Windows computer.
How to enable Windows 7 XP mode
Once virtualization is enabled on your computer, you’re good to use XP mode on your Windows 7 computer. Below are the steps you need to follow in order to achieve this without stress.
Downloading and installing the needed programs (Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 and Virtual PC)
In order to run Windows XP on your Windows 7 machine, you must have Virtual PC installed. You have to search up the Windows Virtual PC downloads page and find your operating system, and language version.
Once you’ve found the correct version for your machine, click on Download Windows Virtual PC RC next to it. You should also click on the Download XP Mode RC to download both files simultaneously.
Under normal circumstances, Windows Virtual PC Beta should be the first to finish downloading, and should be installed first. Its file name is Windows6.1-KB958559-x86.msu for 32 bit computers and Windows6.1-KB958559-x64.msu for 64 bit computers.
Double click on the one you’ve downloaded on your computer. It scans your computer for a particular update, and when that update isn’t found, it is downloaded automatically.
By the time you’ll finish the setup of Virtual PC, XP mode should’ve finished downloading. Click on the installation file and follow all the necessary prompts. You’ll have to wait for a few minutes to download the program to your computer.
When the program is completely installed on your computer, click “Finish” and the Windows XP will open on your computer.
How to configure Windows XP for the first time
When you’ve successfully set up the Windows 7 XP mode on your computer, you still have to configure your new virtual PC to work normally. If you’ve ever set up a XP, then you can skip this section, otherwise, you should read this section.
When the Windows 7 XP Mode opens for the first time, you are required to accept a license agreement. Then, you have to set up the user. Create your password and input it into the two password fields. Follow the prompts to complete. This user is what all the Windows XP programs will run under.
You should also check the box “Help protect my computer by turning on automatic updates”, then proceed to click the Start Setup button.
Windows Virtual PC will now set up your Windows XP computer for use. It also integrates all your computer resources and hardware with the virtual computer so it can used.
You can shut down your Windows XP virtual computer by holding down CTRL+ALT+DEL and selecting “Shut Down” from the resulting menu.
How to install Windows XP Programs on Windows 7
You install it like any other normal program. Download a Windows XP program from the web and install it using the shortcut already added to the Windows installer.
When you’re done running the program, you close it normally. This puts the Windows XP virtual PC into a hibernating state. You can completely shut it down by following the previous procedure.
Note that apps start faster when the Windows XP is on hibernating mode than when it’s shut down.
The Windows 7 XP Mode is another brilliant idea from a company known to manufacture brilliant ideas. If you’ll need to run Windows XP programs desperately, congratulations. You won’t have to spend on another XP computer.
Read this guide and implement it, and you’re good to go.