Virtual PC, Virtualization, Windows, Windows 7
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Windows 7 – WinXP Mode; Final thoughts

I thought of writing another post on how to install your own VM but then there is a guide from MS about all that. I don’t want to repeat the same stuff here. However, I am working on a few issues I have identified with XPM on my home computer. I will write about those issues and hopefully a solution to those issue later.

This is probably the first time I did multiple posts on the same topic. Being a virtualization enthusiast, I naturally got interested in Windows Virtual PC feature and picked up only this feature after I installed Windows 7 RC. I feel it is a nice attempt by Microsoft to eliminate the application compatibility woes everyone had with Vista. Using virtualization to solve the problem is really impressive.

For the home and small business customers this really makes sense. Of course, one must try and upgrade the app itself when needed. XPM is a good alternative until you upgrade your apps to work on new OS. XPM is certainly a nice feature but there is nothing great about it. Many people already started comparing this to various products in the market such as VMWare Fusion’s Unity feature, etc

To conclude my thoughts on this, I will list a few pros and cons of this feature

PROs

  • I can run my Windows XP application as is without any upgrades or any new licenses. XPM is free; of course, not for home premium customers.
  • Virtualized application can be accessed directly from your desktop or Start menu without opening the virtual machine console.
  • XPM has access to the host file system through integration components and hence you don’t realize the difference between a virtual application and the one installed on your Windows 7 system.
  • I can use MED-V to manage lot of aspects of this new deployment if I have more PCs running XPM and I have a volume licensing agreement with MS
  • performance overhead of running a full OS on top of host OS is relatively less. Of course, if you are running an app that requires more memory and processor resources than the default values, you may see some degradation in host performance

CONs

  • You need to maintain two operating systems. This point is quite debatable. If your Virtual Windows XP is conneted to external network, you will have to manage it (security updates, support packs, etc) like any other OS.
  • No support for x64 guest OS. So, if your app is that legacy 64bit one, you are out of luck
  • requires hardware assisted virtualization i.e. you need a process that support Intel-VT or AMD-v. So, if you want to run XPM on a netbook, you may have an issue.
Filed under: Virtual PC, Virtualization, Windows, Windows 7

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Ravikanth is a principal engineer and the lead architect for Microsoft and VMware virtualized and hybrid cloud solutions within the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell EMC. He is a multi-year recipient of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in Windows PowerShell (CDM) and Microsoft Azure. Ravikanth is the author of Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration Revealed (Apress) and leads Bangalore PowerShell and Bangalore IT Pro user groups. He can be seen speaking regularly at local user group events and conferences in India and abroad.