Over the weekend, I downloded and installed Windows 7 RC on my home PC. The download was pathetically slow but the install just took ~10mins. I am not really a client OS guy and so, was not very keen on “on the surface” features such as Aero *, etc. They are good features from an end user perspective but not my cup of tea.
There is one new addition in RC, Windows Virtual PC which enables WinXP mode of application compatibility. This feature is not native to OS. You need to download a seperate package. You can read more about it here. You don’t have to wait until 5th May — if you have MSDN / TechNet subscription — to get a copy of this feature. This download included a MSU file and a MSI file which contains Windows XP virtual machine. Quite easy to Get started. You can refer to the Virtual PC Guide Here.
This feature requires hardware assisted virtualization and hence your processor must have support for Intel-VT or AMD-V. Of course, this should not be a big concern because most or all PCs shipping today have this and OEMs provide a way to enable / disable the feature in the BIOS. Once you install the updates and Windows XP virtual machine, you can install your legacy applications inside the XP VM and access them from Windows 7 desktop or start menu directly. I kinda love this because you don’t really have to worry about your legacy applications not working on a new OS.