09 July 2012

Windows 7 XP Mode - Virtual PC

Did you know that windows 7 users have the option to create easily virtual machines with Windows XP? It is called "XP mode" and works really great?

A colleague of mine has recommended it a long time ago, but until recently I had no real need to use it, because all my critical work tools ran smoothly on win7. But a few days ago I wanted to set up a test environment for some IBM software and I didn't want to infest my usual Win7 machine with additional software, which I will probably want to discard soon. So, having downloaded XP mode package I configured it, wondering will it be useful at all. It turned out pretty good!

Installation is quite quick - I guess VPC shares some libraries with the host system and does not really create VMWare-like virtual machine - rather slices out some system resources and presents it as a standalone VM. Anyhow it makes it, it does it really well. XP machine starts literally a few minutes after you begin installation of XP Mode and it runs pretty quickly, letting your work on the VM to be quite nice - no noticable lags, hard disk scratching and so on. And it is all on the encrypted hard disk.

You can use XP Mode twa ways: either as a standalone vm, or as a "xp native" runtime for applications hosted in fact on your Win7 system, with whom for some reasons xp compatibility set in program properties is not enough. I did no try the latter, but I assume the experience would be good as well.

The XP VPC is istantly connected to the internet (provided of course your host system is) by the means of NAT. However, if you want to connect over tcp ip to some software running on the VM, like some specific port, you need to do some tweaking. It'd be a nice topic for another post, but I did not solve this issue myself, so I just post a link to a forum page with solution by "judios".
So anyway - if you are a licensed Win7 user and you need a simple WinXP virtal machine VPC is definately a thing for you! Good luck, have fun and don't bother to leave a comment!

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