One of the interesting features in Windows 7 is the new Virtual PC and companion XP Mode products. Microsoft posted release candidates of both these products in early August.
Virtual PC has been around for quite some time, however this new version has a number of interesting features that take advantage of the new processor virtualization capabilities.
What’s very new is the companion Windows XP Mode add that’s also been released. Microsoft has provided a fully licensed version of XP Pro that runs only with the new Virtual PC. By using XP Mode , it’s possible to run legacy line of business apps on Windows 7. Even better, the app appears in the start menu and runs in a window instead of the usual “desktop within a desktop” that’s confused many users in the past. Clicking on the start menu shortcut runs the app in a virtual XP session without revealing all the compatibility “gymnastics” going on behind the scenes.
We’ve been testing this mode for the past week and there’s some great parts about it and some not so great things. The not so great could be due to the fact that it’s still not released or because we’re not completely knowledgeable about it. We’ll fill you in as we learn more about our experiences with it.