Install and use Windows XP Mode in Windows 7

Applies to these editions of Windows 7

Professional

Ultimate

Enterprise


Important

  • As of April 8, 2014, technical support for Windows XP and Windows XP Mode is no longer available, including updates that help protect your PC. This means that if you continue to use Windows XP or use Windows XP Mode on a Windows 7 PC after support ends, your PC might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Therefore, to keep your Windows 7 PC secure after support ends, we recommend that you only use Windows XP Mode if your PC is disconnected from the Internet. Learn more about Windows XP end of support.


Using Windows XP Mode, you can run programs that were designed for Windows XP on computers running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions. Windows XP Mode isn't supported on Windows 8.

A program running in Windows XP Mode and a program running in Windows 7
Programs can run in both Windows XP Mode and in Windows 7.

How does Windows XP Mode work?

Windows XP Mode works in two ways—both as a virtual operating system and as a way to open programs within Windows 7. It runs in a separate window on the Windows 7 desktop, much like a program, except it's a fully-functional, fully-licensed version of Windows XP. In Windows XP Mode, you can access your physical computer's CD/DVD drive, install programs, save files, and perform other tasks as if you were using a computer running Windows XP.

When you install a program in Windows XP Mode, the program appears in both the Windows XP Mode list of programs and in the Windows 7 list of programs, so you can open the program directly from Windows 7.


Windows 7 Start menu listing programs installed in Windows XP Mode
Programs installed in Windows XP Mode in the Windows 7 Start menu


Notes

  • The majority of programs compatible with Windows Vista and Windows XP run well in Windows 7. If a program doesn't, first try the Program Compatibility troubleshooter. It's included in all editions of Windows 7. For more information, see Open the Program Compatibility troubleshooter.

  • Some hardware and devices that work in Windows 7 might not be detected or work in Windows XP Mode.

  • Windows XP Mode was primarily designed to help businesses move from Windows XP to Windows 7. It isn't optimized for graphic-intensive programs such as 3D games, nor is it well suited for programs with hardware requirements such as TV tuners.

  • If you're playing music or video in Windows XP Mode using Windows Media Player, and you maximize or minimize the Windows XP Mode window, Windows Media Player will stop playing. To resume playback, click the Play button Play button in Windows Media Player.



Before you begin

In order to use Windows XP Mode, you need to make sure your computer meets certain system requirements, otherwise Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode won't work correctly, even though you might be able to download and install them. Before you begin, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you're running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate. To find out which edition of Windows 7 you're running, click the Start button Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

  2. Find out whether your computer's CPU is capable of hardware-assisted virtualization. To check, download and run the Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.

    • If you receive the message “This computer is configured with hardware-assisted virtualization,” you can run Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. See the instructions below.

    • If you receive the error message "There is no hardware-assisted virtualization support in the system," your computer's CPU doesn't support hardware-assisted virtualization. You can still use Windows XP Mode by installing an update to Windows 7. See Why am I receiving errors about hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) when I try to use Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC?. Be aware that XP Mode will run much better if hardware-assisted virtualization can be enabled.

    • If you receive an error message saying "Hardware-assisted virtualization is disabled," this means your computer supports hardware-assisted virtualization, but you need to change settings in your computer's basic input/output system (BIOS) to turn on hardware-assisted virtualization. Procedures to turn on virtualization settings in your computer's BIOS vary depending on the BIOS manufacturer. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the computer manufacturer's website.

Warning

  • Be careful when changing BIOS settings. The BIOS interface is designed for advanced users, and it's possible to make a change that could prevent your computer from starting correctly. For more information, see BIOS: frequently asked questions.



Installing and using Windows XP Mode

To use Windows XP Mode, you need to download and install Windows XP Mode, and Windows Virtual PC, the program that runs virtual operating systems on your computer.

When you install a program in Windows XP Mode, the program becomes available for use in both Windows XP Mode and Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode follows the same support lifecycle as Windows XP—extended support ended on April 8, 2014. Learn more about Windows XP end of support.

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