Windows 7 Premium to Support Windows XP Mode (XPM)

Dennis Faas's picture

Apparently Microsoft has learned a few lessons from some of their many Windows Vista fiascos. In a move that appears aimed at backwards compatibility, some versions of Windows 7 will include a virtualized Windows XP mode.

Dubbed Windows XP Mode, or XPM (formerly known as Virtual Windows XP or Virtual XP, VXP) will ship alongside the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) in May and then in its final version with Windows 7's own ultimate release. (Source:

Dramatic Changes in Compatibility

XPM is the next generation Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line, and according to Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, dramatically changes the compatibility story for Windows 7 and may have serious implications for Windows development going forward.

PC Requirements for XPM will include the need for processor-based virtualization support (Intel and AMD), similar to Hyper-V, Microsoft's server-side virtualization platform, to be present and enabled on PCs running XPM.

XPM is a host-based virtualization solution, like Virtual PC, and is expected to include a Hyper-V-based hypervisor in future client versions of Windows. (Source:

Windows XP SP3 with Premium Versions of Windows 7

XPM consists of a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) and the virtual PC-based virtual environment and will be made available as a free download for users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from Microsoft's web site.

However, it will not be included with boxed versions of Windows 7.

XPM Applications Run On Same Desktop

XPM will not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, applications you install inside the virtual XP environment are published to the host (Windows 7) OS, too, and shortcuts will be placed in the Start Menu so users will be able to run XP-based applications alongside Windows 7 programs under a single desktop.

The ramifications for XPM are huge. On certain versions of Windows, it removes compatibility issues for customers needing to run older applications, especially corporate customers who will be able to control XPM's behavior via the standard Microsoft administration and management tools they use. (Source:

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