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    Using Windows 7's XP Mode — step by step




    TOP STORY

    Using Windows 7's XP Mode — step by step


    By Fred Langa

    Looking for a sure-fire way to keep your oldest Windows applications alive while living in a Windows 7 world?

    You'll find it with Win7's XP Mode, a free and fully functional version of XP Professional SP3 that runs entirely inside Windows 7.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/using-Windows-7s-xp-mode-step-by-step/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Is the virtualised XP Pro SP3 a 32 bit version? I have a Win 7 Professional x64 and would like to run XP mode. Will that XP, in the 64 bit system, be a 32 bit version and will it still run 16 bit applications. Yes, I have one from about 1993 which still runs OK, without any compatibility modes, on any modern 32 bit OS and I have not yet found a decent replacement. It did not even need updating for Y2K and it is a calendar application. It worked OK.
    Bob
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    It's worth mentioning that the massive vhd file gets changed every time you run the virtual machine. It might be an insignificant change, but it's a change, and your backup software is likely to notice it and try to back up the "new" version. That's time-consuming, and thrashes your drives pretty hard, and if it's also saving "old" versions, you'll run out of disk space in a hurry. Be sure you set your backup program to ignore the vhd file, or to back it up only rarely.

    You will want to back it up, by the way ... if the vhd file gets corrupted, it's the equivalent of a hard drive crash as far as XP is concerned. Without a backup, you'll have to go back to square 1, downloading and installing XP, and all the installed applications, all over again.
    Last edited by jpdemers; 2011-09-22 at 03:28.

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    1 - XPmode has two VHD files, the 1st is the base XP-SP3 installation and it should not change, the 2nd is a difference disk for the applications and patches you install.
    2 - XPmode is specific to the person logged in - stored information in the c:\users\whomever\... If you have multiple people logging into a machine i.e. a typical office, Then modify the install to be in a shared directory like c:\xpmode for the base VHD and c:\xpmode\shared for the 'Differencing VHD'. BE SURE to write down the user password for xpmuser so you can have the integration feature for users 2, 3, etc.
    3 - After installing all your applications as the first user. logon as the 2nd and goto Virtual PC in the menu. Note that the work you just did is not there so create a new virtual PC (.vmc file) and edit same to point at that shared VHD. Bingo you have access to the virtual PC with all your applications.
    4 - If you forgot to write down the password or want to change it, use the F8 safe mode login as 'Administrator' trick.

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    Yes it is 32 bit, and yes regular WOW will let some 16 apps run. Test carefully, Some 16 bit apps will crash the system if they try to directly control hardware! I recommend NEVER trying to run a 16 bit app as a virtualized window app. Being able to get access in the xpmode box is surprising enough.

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    Couple of years ago I bought an HP computer that was a Windows 7 downgraded to XP. Is this the same thing?
    The more things change, the more grey hair I get

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitol Press Svc View Post
    Couple of years ago I bought an HP computer that was a Windows 7 downgraded to XP. Is this the same thing?
    No. XP Mode only works from within Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, as a virtual pc. The HP computer you purchased arrived with Windows XP installed rather than Windows 7.

    Give the article another read to clarify.

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    You say "Note: XP Mode won't help keep older, Win7-incompatible hardware working."
    However, I installed XP Mode primarily to run an old H-P scanner that had no Win7/64-bit drivers available -- I wasn't able to install the H-P scanner/OCR software in Win7 using any number of tricks. With the WinXP mode, I was able to get it working -- I now bring up the VM, mount the USB-connected scanner, and run the old software provided by H-P, as well as Acrobat (for scanning to PDFs).

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    You can run Linux - by itself, dual-boot, VM or Wubi - and run a lot of antique Windows programs and devices. For programs, you'll have to install Wine. Seems like the older and simpler they are, the higher the probability they'll work. Devices, you'll probably just have to plug them in. Maybe a couple clicks to install a program, like XSane for scanners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howard2nd View Post
    Yes it is 32 bit, and yes regular WOW will let some 16 apps run. Test carefully, Some 16 bit apps will crash the system if they try to directly control hardware! I recommend NEVER trying to run a 16 bit app as a virtualized window app.
    what is "regular WOW"?

    Being able to get access in the xpmode box is surprising enough.
    not sure what you mean here
    Bob
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    I only need a replacement for NetMeeting that runs under Win7

    Looks like an excellent article on the virtual OS approach that has been the only recommendation I have been given so far for a way to continue using NetMeeting. I need NetMeeting to interact with all the other folks at my company that are stuck with XP & NetMeeting until the next year or so when hopefully the IT deparment will finally upgrade us all to Win7. However, I only have Win7 Home Premium and loading a complete virtual OS just to get NetMeeting running seems like massive overkill / complexity. Does anyone know of a Win7 compatible version of NetMeeting or a similar program that will interoperate with other NetMeeting users? Thanks

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    Fred Langa's article claimed that " For those versions, or in any case where Microsoft’s XP Mode doesn’t work, there are other alternatives I’ll discuss at the end of this article.". I can't find alternatives discussed at all - I think he forgot.

    I have Windows 7 x64 home premium, which doesn't have an XP mode option. It would need a rather expensive upgrade to get that, and I'm unwilling to pay out without considerable confidence that the software, and printer drivers, that I used to be able to use will again be available. It might be cheaper just to buy another printer.

    In any case, it would be nice for Fred Langa to cover these other options, since my guess is that the vast majority of users have Win 7 Home Premium, so his article will not have been much use to them.

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    Where there's a will, there's a way to port to Win7 HP. One has to have a friend or somebody with a system with at least W7 Pro so XP mode qualifies, then the favor is to install XP mode there, then install VMWare Player, another virutal machine program. That has an option to import XP mode into VMWare Player; I've done it several times and it works very well. Once that's done, the virtual machine folder maintained by VMWare Player is easy to copy and move anywhere and run on any compatible system also running VMWare Player, which of course, includes W7 HP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cgp View Post
    Fred Langa's article claimed that " For those versions, or in any case where Microsoft’s XP Mode doesn’t work, there are other alternatives I’ll discuss at the end of this article.". I can't find alternatives discussed at all - I think he forgot.
    He did give links to VMware and Virtual box. But there is even a free *Microsoft* alternative - Virtual PC 2007. Works fine in Windows 7 Home Premium, though you do get a warning about it not being supported when installing.

    All three of the above give one a Virtual PC in which XP or other OS can been installed. They do *not* include the Windows XP installation! - you have to supply that yourself. (An advantage of XP Mode in W7 Pro is that a virtual XP, installed and pre-activated, is included.) If you have a Windows XP boot disk that can be activated you can certainly roll your own.

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    From my perspective, XP is getting very difficult to aquire so getting it via XP mode is like the last excellent renewable resource left...my guess is it won't be included in Win8.

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