Revisiting Windows 7 XP Mode

4. February 2010 11:28 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

Back when it was first announced I made a couple of posts about Windows 7 XP Mode (available here and here). Now that I’ve been using almost every day for the past few months, I wanted to revisit the topic and write about my hands-on impressions. In this post I’ll show how applications that run under XP Mode integrate with the regular Windows 7 environment.

The integration features of XP Mode work really well, for the most part. Applications installed in the Virtual Machine appear right there on the Start Menu:

The Start menu gains a “Windows XP Mode Applications” folder under “Windows Virtual PC”,
which holds all apps installed in the XP  Mode virtual machine (click picture to enlarge)

And even show up when searching, which is extremely convenient.

The Quick Search functionality of the Start menu covers
XP Mode Applications. (click picture to enlarge)

When you launch applications, Windows starts up the XP Mode virtual machine behind the scenes, showing a progress toolbar instead of XP’s boot up sequence.

Windows XP Mode virtual machine startup. Notice it is running under
Windows Virtual PC. (click picture to enlarge)

Once the application starts up, you’ll notice it is running on XP Mode since the UI uses XP’s windows, instead of Aero:

Visual Basic 6.0 on XP mode, complete with default Windows XP “Luna” theme. (click picture to enlarge)

The following screenshot shows this more clearly, by contrasting the Visual Basic 6.0 IDE running under XP Mode and Visual Studio 2008 running directly on the Windows 7 desktop.:

Visual Basic 6.0 on XP mode (Luna theme) vs. Visual Studio 2008
on Windows 7 (Aero Glass theme). (click picture to enlarge)

Another VERY NICE feature is that the "My Documents” folder is transparently mapped to Windows 7’s “Documents” library:

Visual Basic 6.0 on XP mode Open Project dialog showing the My Documents folder.
Notice the same contents on the Documents library in Windows 7. (click picture to enlarge)

These integration features of XP Mode make life much easier for legacy applications, but it is far from perfect. In the next post I’ll mention the annoyances I’ve run into while working with XP Mode.