Install and Use Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 Using Windows Virtual PC – Part II

Welcome to the second part of this three-part series about installing and using Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 using Windows Virtual PC.

In Part I of this series, we covered determining whether your computer can run Windows XP Mode, downloading the required files, and installing Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC.

In this post, we are going to discuss installing the Windows XP Mode update and setting up Windows XP Mode. Part III of this series will discuss installing and running software in Windows XP Mode.

Make sure you have downloaded and installed the Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC prior to following the steps in this post. Also, we recommend you go through the steps in Part I before proceeding with the post. To download the required installation file, go to the following web page in your browser:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx.

Install the XP Mode Update

If your computer does not support hardware virtualization, you must install an update to Windows that will remove this requirement. To do this, double-click on the Windows XP Mode Update installation file (Windows6.1-KB977206-x86.msu) you downloaded. Again, the name of the file may differ, depending on the edition of Windows 7 you chose on the download page.

Running the XP Mode Update installation file

A Windows Update Standalone Installer dialog box displays as the installer searches for updates on your computer. This dialog box automatically closes when done.

Searching for updates

Another Windows Update Standalone Installer dialog box displays confirming that you want to install the Windows XP Mode Update. Click Yes.

Windows Update Standalone Installer confirmation dialog box

A screen displays showing the progress of the installation of the update.

Updates are being installed

The Installation complete screen displays when the installation is done. You must restart your computer at this point. Click Restart Now.

Clicking Restart Now on the Installation complete screen

A message displays both when the computer is shutting down and starting up telling you that Windows updates are being configured. You are warned to not turn off your computer during this configuration.

Configuring Windows updates

Finish Installing XP Mode

Once your computer restarts, select Windows XP Mode from the Windows Virtual PC group on the Start menu to continue the setup process.

Starting Windows XP Mode

The Windows XP Mode License Agreement screen displays. Select the I accept the license terms check box and click Next.

Windows XP Mode License Agreement

The Installation folder and credentials screen displays. If you accepted the default location when installing the Windows XP Mode virtual hard disk file, you do not have to change the Installation folder. If you changed the location, use the Browse button to select the location you specified.

Your user name in the Windows XP Mode virtual machine is automatically set to XPMUser. Enter a password you want to use in the Password edit box and again in the Confirm password edit box. If you want to be automatically logged in when you start your Windows XP Mode virtual machine, select the Remember credentials check box. Click Next to continue.

Installation folder and credentials

The Help protect your computer screen displays. This screen allows you to turn on Automatic Updates to keep your Windows system up-to-date. If you want Windows to automatically update itself, select the Help protect my computer by turning on Automatic Updates now radio button. This option is recommended by Microsoft. Click Next.

Help protect your computer

A screen displays telling you that Setup will share the drives on your computer with Windows XP Mode. This allows you to easily transfer files between the Windows XP Mode virtual machine and your Windows 7 computer. Click Start Setup to continue.

Setup will share the drives

A Welcome screen displays showing the progress of the setup for first use.

Setting up Windows XP Mode for first use

Set Up XP Mode

Once your Windows XP Mode virtual machine is setup for first use, a Windows XP Mode – Windows Virtual PC window displays. It is a copy of Windows XP running in a separate window on your Windows 7 computer. You can run all the programs that come with Windows XP, such as Paint and WordPad.

Windows XP Mode virtual machine window

Normally, in Windows XP you can press Ctrl + Alt + Del to access a dialog box that allows you to shut down your computer safely. You can do the same thing in your Windows XP Mode virtual machine. To do this, click Ctrl+Alt+Del on the menu bar at the top of the Windows Virtual PC window.

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del in the Windows XP virtual machine

The Windows Security dialog box displays. This dialog box allows you to lock your computer (the Windows XP Mode virtual machine), log out of your Windows session (the Windows XP Mode session), shut down the computer (the Windows XP Mode virtual machine), change your password, and open Task Manager. Click the Shut Down button to shut down the Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

Shutting down Windows XP Mode

On the Shut Down Windows dialog box, select an option from the drop-down list. You can Log off XPMUser, Shut Down, or Restart. If there are updates for Windows XP that were downloaded while the virtual machine was open, the Install updates and shut down option is available. Click OK.

Shut Down Windows dialog box

If updates need to be installed, a dialog box displays showing you the progress of the installation. A warning also displays telling you not to turn off your computer (the Windows XP Mode virtual machine) while the updates are installing. Do not close the Windows Virtual PC window while this is happening.

Windows XP Mode shutting down

To change settings for the Windows XP Mode virtual machine, select Windows Virtual PC from the Start menu.

Opening Windows Virtual PC

A Windows Explorer windows displays with the folder open that contains the Windows XP Mode virtual hard disk file. Select the Windows XP Mode.vmcx file and click the Settings button that becomes available on the Explorer toolbar.

Clicking Settings for the virtual machine

There are a couple of other ways to access the settings for a Windows XP Mode virtual machine. You can right-click on the Windows XP Mode.vmcx file and select Settings from the popup menu.

Opening Settings from the context menu

When the Windows XP Mode virtual machine is open, you can change settings by selecting Settings from the Tools menu.

NOTE: There are some settings that cannot be changed while the Windows XP Mode virtual machine is open.

Opening Settings from within Windows Virtual PC

You can change the amount of memory allocated to the virtual machine by selecting Memory in the list of Settings on the left side of the Windows Virtual PC Settings dialog box. Be sure you don’t allocate all of your computer’s memory to the virtual machine. Your Windows 7 machine also needs some memory to run.

NOTE: See our post, Increase the Memory to an XP Mode Virtual PC in Windows 7 Professional, for more information on changing the memory for your Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

Changing the amount of memory for the virtual machine

You can add up to two more virtual hard disks to your Windows XP Mode virtual machine. Click Hard Disk 2 or Hard Disk 3 in the list of Settings on the left to add a virtual hard disk file to have more space for your Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

NOTE: See our post, Add a Virtual Hard Disk to a Windows XP Mode Virtual Machine, for more information about adding virtual hard disks to your Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

Creating another virtual hard drive for the virtual machine

If you want to be able to discard any changes made to a Windows XP Mode virtual machine once you are done with a session, select Undo Disks in the list of Settings on the left. Select the Enable Undo Disks check box so there is a check mark in the box. Then, to revert to the state of the Windows XP Mode virtual machine before you opened it and made changes, open the Windows Virtual PC Settings dialog box and click the Discard changes button.

Undo Disks setting

Programs that you install in your Windows XP Mode virtual machine can be made available in the Start menu on your Windows 7 computer. To automatically do this, select Auto Publish from the list of Settings on the left. Select the Automatically publish virtual applications check box so there is a check mark in the box.

Auto Publish setting

You can specify the default action to be taken when you close your Windows XP Mode virtual machine. To do this, select the radio button that corresponds to the action you want taken every time you close your Windows XP Mode virtual machine.

NOTE: See our post, Change How an XP Mode Virtual Machine Closes in Windows 7 Professional, for more information on specifying how your Windows XP Mode virtual machine closes.

Setting the default Close action

To save your settings and close the Windows Virtual PC Settings dialog box, click OK.

Clicking OK on the Settings dialog box

Wrap Up

In this post, we covered installing the Windows XP Mode update and setting up Windows XP Mode.

In Part I of this series, we covered determining whether your computer can run Windows XP Mode, downloading the required files, and installing Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC.

Stay tuned for Part III where we are going to discuss installing and running software in Windows XP Mode.

by Lori Kaufman

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