Will Windows 7 Include 'XP Mode'?

A longtime industry observer indicates that Windows 7 may ship with a feature that allows users to backpedal to good old XP if desired.


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In an apparent move aimed at softening corporate resistance to Windows 7, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is readying a surprise addition when the new operating system ships, according to a tech blog.

Windows 7 will sport a new feature called "Windows XP Mode" or XPM, said the Windows IT Pro SuperSite blog Friday.

The new mode will enable users with Windows XP applications that otherwise might have problems running on Windows 7, to run them in a virtualized XP environment.

"XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site," said the blog post by Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott.

"That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop."

Hyper-V waiting in the wings

However, XPM will not be based on Windows 2008's Hyper-V, although that is likely to come later.

The posting said that XPM requires hardware virtualization assistance in Intel and AMD processors. The posters said they had been briefed by Microsoft regarding the development.

"By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM," the post said.

Windows IT Pro's post also said that XPM is planned to be announced when the Windows 7 "Release Candidate" or RC is announced – currently thought to be May 5 – and will ship simultaneously with Windows 7.

A Microsoft spokesperson did not respond to an e-mail by press time.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.

Tags: Windows, Microsoft, virtualization, Intel, AMD

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