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  1. http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2009/04/24/secret-no-more-reveali...windows-7.aspx

    Secret No More: Revealing Windows XP Mode for Windows 7

    Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott reveal a new Windows 7 application compatibility feature called Windows XP Mode. Yes, it's that "secret new feature" you've been hearing about ...

    Over a month ago, we were briefed about a secret Microsoft technology that we were told would be announced alongside the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) and would ship in final form simultaneously with the final version of Windows 7. This technology, dubbed Windows XP Mode (XPM, formerly Virtual Windows XP or Virtual XP, VXP), dramatically changes the compatibility story for Windows 7 and, we believe, has serious implications for Windows development going forward. Here's what's happening.

    XPM is built on the next generation Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line, which requires processor-based virtualization support (Intel and AMD) to be present and enabled on the underlying PC, much like Hyper-V, Microsoft's server-side virtualization platform. However, XPM is not Hyper-V for the client. It is instead a host-based virtualization solution like Virtual PC; the hardware assistance requirement suggests this will be the logical conclusion of this product line from a technological standpoint. That is, we fully expect future client versions of Windows to include a Hyper-V-based hypervisor.

    XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today's Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

    Obviously, XPM has huge ramifications for Windows going forward. By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM. For Windows 7 specifically, XPM is a huge convenience, especially for Microsoft's corporate customers, who can of course control XPM behavior via standard Microsoft administration and management technologies like Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy (GP). And it significantly recasts the Windows 7 compatibility picture. Before, Microsoft could claim that Windows 7 would be at least as compatible as Windows Vista. Now, they can claim almost complete Windows XP compatibility, or almost 100 percent compatibility with all currently running Windows applications.

    We've both been using and testing Virtual XP for over a month and we we've been dying to communicate what we've discovered, as you might imagine. So here's what you can expect. Paul will publish a high-level screenshot gallery on the SuperSite for Windows showing off Windows XP Mode and what it's like to run Windows XP and Windows 7 applications side-by-side. On Within Windows, Rafael will provide a deep technical dive into Windows XP Mode and explain how it works and how you can make it work the way you want. Later, Paul will add a Windows XP Mode article to his Windows 7 Feature Focus series as well. And of course we'll be covering this feature in-depth in "Windows 7 Secrets," which will be published by Wiley & Sons later this year.

    Thanks for reading!

    Paul and Rafael
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  2. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    First sentence, paragraph 3: Does this indicate that in order for the virtual environment to work one must have certain (recent issue) AMD or Intel CPUs, otherwise you're out of luck ?
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  3. This is nothing new. Vista had an XP compatibility mode. but it did not run in Virtual PC. At any rate, this is hardly earth shattering.
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  4. Originally Posted by Seeker47
    First sentence, paragraph 3: Does this indicate that in order for the virtual environment to work one must have certain (recent issue) AMD or Intel CPUs, otherwise you're out of luck ?
    I can't say for certain, but it sure sounds like it.
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  5. Interesting.

    This kind of difference between Vista and 7 makes me question the assignment of 7 as 6.1

    Re the claim for almost 100% compatibility, how does this relate to XP software that has specific hardware driver requirements, most notably audio.

    I'd like to see virtualization (horrible word) that exposes the host's hardware beyond the usual limited set. e.g., FireWire within a virtual host would be great (for me).
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  6. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    This sounds more like thin-apping XP applications through a virtual desktop environment then running them on the host. It may not require specific hardware, but you still aren't going to get 100% of your machine's performance from it. This is just a way to ease transition of your legacy applications to the new OS until those developers update their code.

    Hyper-V is not a very good hypervisor to begin with. MED-V is MS trying to move in on desktop virtualization infrastructure like Citrix and VMware have already. The worst part is MS is pulling their trust card on their opponents again and setting ridiculous licensing costs for virtualized copies of their desktop OS (Vista and XP) to drive people to use their VI. I was just starting to warm up to MS again prior to hearing this from our MS rep who I nearly got into a shouting match with. It's back to MS muscling out the competition again
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I bet this "XP mode" is targeted at business users who are resisting upgrade of all legacy programs to Vista spec.
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  8. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rallynavvie
    This sounds more like thin-apping XP applications through a virtual desktop environment then running them on the host. It may not require specific hardware, but you still aren't going to get 100% of your machine's performance from it.This is just a way to ease transition of your legacy applications to the new OS until those developers update their code.
    Some apps (including some good ones) never will get updated: they are "legacy" and will remain as they were.
    Good emulation -- which I've heard VMWare is -- need not take that much of a performance hit, given enough Ram and
    sufficiently fast CPU power. I've seen impressive OS-running-its-apps-inside-another-OS demos using VirtualBox, which
    is probably not even in the same league as VM.
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  9. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    given enough Ram and sufficiently fast CPU power
    Actually with CPU, memory, and HDDs the VMs come extremely close to host system hardware performance. Bare-metal hypervisors offer nearly 99% of the hardware resources above to their guests. Hosted versions, like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox, are still pretty close when the host is idle. The greater issue still being developed with virtualization is the ability to use other hardware such as video card acceleration, hardware decoders, or PCI cards like TV tuners. The issue is teaching the hypervisor to share those resources and avoid conflicts with the guests which is much easier said than done. 3D acceleration is getting better though; the latest version of VMware Workstation does DirectX 9.0c which Shader Model 2.0 rather well. I've been using my Win2k VM to dust off some classic video games like the first Rainbow Six and Baldur's Gate just to put it through its paces.
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  10. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Has there been any VMWare that was free ? I was surprised when free VPC versions were released, after MS
    bought the company. VirtualBox is free, I believe -- or at least there was a free version of it -- but the development
    may not be continuing.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  11. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    VMware Player and VMware Server are free. Player requires pre-built VMs but if you wanted to you could just download the 30-day trial of Workstation, build your VMs in it, and then use player to use those VMs forever. There are some limitations but it works. You could also use Server to set up your VMs but it doesn't have all the neat features that Workstation can build into the VMs (like some host integration pieces). Server is nice but you really need to know what you're doing in order to really get the most use out of it.
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  12. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    If I had to virtualize, I would far and away trust the products from Parallels, VMWare or Sun --- not MS.
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  13. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    If I had to virtualize, I would far and away trust the products from Parallels, VMWare or Sun --- not MS.
    I think it was Sun who acquired the company that originally developed VirtualBox. But hasn't someone just bought out Sun ?
    Whenever that happens, it is unclear for awhile as to which products will or won't continue.

    rallynavvie, thanks for the info on VM. I had heard their stuff was not inexpensive, was unaware any of it might be free.
    It sounds like you're saying one need not be an uber-techie to roll a VM, except for the Server version ?
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  14. FYI Oracle bought Sun.

    It sounds like you're saying one need not be an uber-techie to roll a VM, except for the Server version ?
    Actually no. For awhile the only free version for VMWare was the server version. You had to pay for the workstation version.

    No it's not hard at all to setup. The documentation is pretty straight forward.

    One recommendation is to run the Guest OS on a separate HD from the HD the Host OS runs on - performance is suppose to be better.

    Cheers.
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  15. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    No, setting up VMs is pretty simple. Installing them on a separate HDD is a good idea but memory is really the bottleneck with them. Make sure you have enough free RAM (and an extra CPU core) to run the VM on its own, it makes things run a lot smoother. Download an ISO of Ubuntu and install that in its own VM so you can start learning Linux on your Windows desktop! I also highly recommend downloading the free internet surfing appliance at the VMware site. It's a small Ubuntu VM with Firefox meant specifically for browsing and you can reset it every time you turn it off so it's a safe way to browse without worrying about viruses. In fact I do the majority of my surfing in my VMs (often Windows 7 or Ubuntu). If I virus gets installed you simply revert your VM back to the last good snapshot. Think of it as a really quick and easy version of Windows Restore.

    I forgot to mention that VMware ESXi is free as well. ESXi is the unhosted version of Server (they used to be called GSX and ESX) meant to run directly on the hardware. Think of it as its own OS. Then you remote into it with a client from another computer and run your VMs directly on it without requiring Windows. Once you're more familiar with VMs and you have a spare computer with a lot of resources ESXi is a pretty great way to run VMs.
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  16. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    VMs are more or less idiot-proof for desktop emulation.

    For servers, yes, you need some more knowledge.
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  17. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    interesting

    I have WIN 7 ... build 7100 64bit installed on a harddrive that I use in Dual boot

    Is it anywhere ... NOW ... to try out ??

    I also have the 32bit ISO downloaded ... but not installed.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    If I had to virtualize, I would far and away trust the products from Parallels, VMWare or Sun --- not MS.
    I fear how things might change at Sun now that Oracle is acquiring them. I suspect that Oracle will suck out the parts of Sun that support Oracle's objectives and flush the rest down the toilet.
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  19. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SCDVD
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    If I had to virtualize, I would far and away trust the products from Parallels, VMWare or Sun --- not MS.
    I fear how things might change at Sun now that Oracle is acquiring them. I suspect that Oracle will suck out the parts of Sun that support Oracle's objectives and flush the rest down the toilet.
    Then that could be bad news for Open Office, VirtualBox, and some other things . . . .
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  20. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    I doubt they'd dump development on any virtualization efforts seeing as it is the way of the future. Also they may not dump OpenOffice since I'm sure they don't mind giving MS the finger with it.
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  21. I fear how things might change at Sun now that Oracle is acquiring them. I suspect that Oracle will suck out the parts of Sun that support Oracle's objectives and flush the rest down the toilet.
    That all depends. OpenOffice and VirtualBox are all open source. So they can continue to exist on their own. It will be a matter of how they live on, in their own organization or in other existing organizations.

    This also assumes Oracle doesn't have plans for them.
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  22. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lacywest
    I have WIN 7 ... build 7100 64bit installed on a harddrive that I use in Dual boot

    Is it anywhere ... NOW ... to try out ??

    I also have the 32bit ISO downloaded ... but not installed.
    I just met with our MS reps today and they mentioned that the virtual XP component will be available as a optional update or delivered in some such similar channel, not included by default with Windows 7.

    In other news VECD is yet another product of Microsoft crookery
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  23. More details:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10229125-56.html

    at least 2GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.

    At its core, XP mode consists of two things, the Windows Virtual PC engine and a licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 as a packaged virtual machine. Although neither piece will be included in the Windows 7 box, XP Mode will be a free download for those who have a license to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate.

    One of the benefits of XP Mode over Microsoft's existing virtualization products is the fact that, after a setup process, the Windows XP virtual machine runs in the background so users don't have to manage multiple desktops. XP Mode automatically installs shortcuts for XP programs in the Windows 7 start menu. The experience from that point on is similar to the one offered by VMware's Fusion and Parallels in their virtualization products.
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  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    More details:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10229125-56.html

    at least 2GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.
    Uh Huh. I'm not gonna go out and buy a newer CPU just to accommodate something like this . . . and I doubt many others would do so either.

    I like what rallynavvie had to say about worry-free browsing: the strategy (which I've heard a number of times before) of being able to swim through any range of malware infections out there, then just blow the VM away once your session is done, knowing a good base image of it can be quickly reconstituted on-the-fly. That leaves me with a question, though: is it possible to update your VM with security patches, etc. ?
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  25. contrarian rallynavvie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    That leaves me with a question, though: is it possible to update your VM with security patches, etc. ?
    Absolutely. It depends on where you set your "snapshots", which are much like Windows Restore points or backup images, but a little better because it captures even the virtual hardware state. For my browsing VMs I have a snapshot of a safe build that I have them set to automatically revert back to whenever the VM is shut down (you can also hit a button to revert back on the fly). If I need updates I launch that clean VM, do updates to it only, then take a new snapshot to revert back to.

    One thing to keep in mind when doing snapshots for a surfing VM is to make sure to keep your snapshots "clean". What I mean is don't snapshot something after you've been browsing just in case a cookie or a field is saved to the VM and then gets locked into the snapshot. More advanced users might create a separate virtual disk for their temp internet files (cookies, etc.) with different persistence so they can wipe that independently of the OS updates as needed (similar to the way some people put their OS on a different drive or partition).

    Keep in mind that VMs don't have to revert to snapshots. Most of mine get powered on, used, then shut down as I need them. All of the changes made stay with them when I next power them on. That's the whole idea really is that it's a machine inside of a machine. It takes some playing with it to really start wrapping your head around the idea, I'm still explaining it to some of our engineers.
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  26. Originally Posted by Seeker47
    Originally Posted by jagabo
    More details:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10229125-56.html

    at least 2GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.
    Uh Huh. I'm not gonna go out and buy a newer CPU just to accommodate something like this . . . and I doubt many others would do so either.
    Sticking your head in the sand does not help your cause. Technology innovates and improves. People that do not update their software to accommodate the changes in technology are their own wost enemy. It is not Microsoft's fault that developers do not want to update their software.

    Parts do wear out and these companies are in business to sell products and make money. If you are not going to buy new products, then you do not really hace a leg to stand on when griping.
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  27. Bazinga! MJPollard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    More details:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10229125-56.html

    at least 2GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.
    What does this mean for Intel CPUs? Is the minimum here the Core 2 Duo? Core 2 Quad? Core i7? Something less? It's remarkable the things this isn't saying. I'm somewhat interested in Win7 and this virtual XP feature, but I'd be rather dismayed if I have to move up to an i7 so soon after putting together a spiffy new Quad-based machine...
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  28. Originally Posted by MJPollard
    chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.
    What does this mean for Intel CPUs? Is the minimum here the Core 2 Duo? Core 2 Quad? Core i7?
    Started with some P4 CPUs. Most C2D and newer CPUs have it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization#Intel_Virtualization_Technology_for_x8...8Intel_VT-x.29
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  29. Sticking your head in the sand does not help your cause. Technology innovates and improves. People that do not update their software to accommodate the changes in technology are their own wost enemy.
    And having your head up your ass is just as bad. :P

    The guy simply stated he wasn't going to buy a new CPU simply to use this feature in Windows 7. There's nothing wrong with that. Most people don't run out and upgrade their hardware just to run the newest OS. They wait until it's time to build a new system.

    Why do you assume people have to run out and buy the latest software simply because it's the latest software. There's no point to that. So people should run out and buy Office 2007 because it's the latest and greatest and Office 2003 is old but then they should run out and buy Office 2010 because Office 2007 is old??

    In the business world, you don't run out and buy the newest release simple because it's new. Money doesn't grow on trees. You have budgets. You have a tough economy. So unless there's a justification you don't buy the new version.

    It is not Microsoft's fault that developers do not want to update their software.
    You obviously are not a developer nor do you develop custom enterprise applications. If you were, you would no how stupid that statement is. You can be running the latest and greatest and be developing for the latest and greatest and still have your application break because Microsoft released an update that breaks your application. I have seen Microsoft break their own applications with their own update!

    Parts do wear out and these companies are in business to sell products and make money. If you are not going to buy new products, then you do not really hace a leg to stand on when griping.
    And when the part wears out and is no longer useful, if you have the resources, you buy a new part. Wow, that's so hard to do.

    However, there's no reason to buy a new part when the current part is working and serves its purpose.

    You don't like that, tough donkey balls.

    :P
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    Originally Posted by Dv8ted2
    Sticking your head in the sand does not help your cause. Technology innovates and improves. People that do not update their software to accommodate the changes in technology are their own wost enemy. It is not Microsoft's fault that developers do not want to update their software.
    What a heads up your ass comment. Sounds like something a kid would say. We use QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Rev. 5 in our company. It a high-end multiuser version of QuickBooks and a number of people in the company use it. It's the backbone of running our business. Rev. 5 will not run on Vista, only XP. The cost to upgrade is $6,000! That's $6,000 of OUR money, not yours! Rev. 5 does everything we need. Upgrading it brings NOTHING that we need or use. We have MANY better things to do with our money than hand it over to Intuit! Stick to your gamer computer or whatever it is you do but wake up and realize there is a world outside your front door! Corporations can't just spend huge amounts of money just because some feel-good kid with a mouth thanks they should.

    I use Vista on my own computer and like it but it not so simple for companies with expensive high-end software that does everything they need.
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