Using Windows XP Mode, you can run programs that were designed for Windows XP on computers running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions. Windows XP Mode is not supported on Windows 8.
Windows XP Mode works in two ways—both as a virtual operating system and as a way to open programs within Windows 7. It runs in a separate window on the Windows 7 desktop, much like a program, except it's a fully-functional, fully-licensed version of Windows XP. In Windows XP Mode, you can access your physical computer's CD/DVD drive, install programs, save files, and perform other tasks as if you were using a computer running Windows XP.
When you install a program in Windows XP Mode, the program appears in both the Windows XP Mode list of programs and in the Windows 7 list of programs, so you can open the program directly from Windows 7.
The majority of programs compatible with Windows Vista and Windows XP run well in Windows 7. If a program doesn't, first try the Program Compatibility troubleshooter. It's included in all editions of Windows 7. For more information, see Open the Program Compatibility troubleshooter.
Windows XP Mode follows the same support lifecycle as Windows XP—extended support will end April 8, 2014. For more info, see the Windows lifecycle fact sheet.
Some hardware and devices that work in Windows 7 might not be detected or work in Windows XP Mode.
Windows XP Mode was primarily designed to help businesses move from Windows XP to Windows 7. It isn't optimized for graphic-intensive programs such as 3D games, nor is it well suited for programs with hardware requirements such as TV tuners.
In order to use Windows XP Mode, you need to make sure your computer meets certain system requirements, otherwise Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode won't work correctly, even though you might be able to download and install them. Before you begin, follow these steps:
Find out whether your computer's CPU is capable of hardware-assisted virtualization. To check, download and run the Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.
If you receive the message “This computer is configured with hardware-assisted virtualization,” you can run Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. See the instructions below.
If you receive the error message "There is no hardware-assisted virtualization support in the system," your computer's CPU doesn't support hardware-assisted virtualization. You can still use Windows XP Mode by installing an update to Windows 7. See Why am I receiving errors about hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) when I try to use Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC?. Be aware that XP Mode will run much better if hardware-assisted virtualization can be enabled.
If you receive an error message saying "Hardware-assisted virtualization is disabled," this means your computer supports hardware-assisted virtualization, but you need to change settings in your computer's basic input/output system (BIOS) to turn on hardware-assisted virtualization. Procedures to turn on virtualization settings in your computer's BIOS vary depending on the BIOS manufacturer. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the computer manufacturer's website.
Be careful when changing BIOS settings. The BIOS interface is designed for advanced users, and it's possible to make a change that could prevent your computer from starting correctly. For more information, see BIOS: frequently asked questions.
To use Windows XP Mode, you need to download and install Windows XP Mode, and Windows Virtual PC, the program that runs virtual operating systems on your computer.
When you install a program in Windows XP Mode, the program becomes available for use in both Windows XP Mode and Windows 7.
Go to the Windows XP Mode page in Download Center.
Under Quick Details, select your language.
Click Continue and follow the instructions on the screen to validate your copy of Windows 7.
Select a version of Windows XP Mode to install and click Install.
Note: WindowsXPMode_N versions do not include Windows Media Player.
Click Run in your browser's message bar, and follow the instructions on the screen.
When setup is completed, click Finish.
Go to the Windows Virtual PC page in Download Center
Select a version of Windows Virtual PC to install and click Install.
Click Yes to install Update for Windows (KB958559).
If you accept the license terms, click I Accept.
After installation is complete, click Restart Now to restart your computer.
If you accept the license terms, click I accept the license terms, and then click Next.
On the Installation folder and credentials page, accept the default location where Windows XP Mode files will be stored, or choose a new location.
Type a password, type it again to confirm it, and then click Next.
On the Help protect your computer page, decide whether you want to help protect your computer by turning on automatic updates, and then click Next.
Click Start Setup.
After setup is complete, Windows XP Mode opens in a separate window.
Antivirus software isn't included with Windows XP Mode. Even if your computer running Windows 7 already has antivirus software, you should also install antivirus software in Windows XP Mode to help defend your computer against viruses.
In Windows XP Mode, insert the program's installation disc into your computer's CD/DVD drive; or browse to the program's installation file, open the file, and follow the instructions to install the program.
If the Windows XP Mode window is open when you try opening a program in Windows XP Mode from Windows 7, you'll be prompted to close the virtual machine. Be sure to save any data you want to keep in Windows XP Mode before closing it.
Article ID: MSW700017