One of the best features of Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate and Professional editions is Windows XP Mode. Windows XP Mode is the last resort when a legacy application cannot be adapted to run on Windows 7. XP Mode uses Virtual PC to manage a Virtual Machine containing Windows XP Service Pack 3. Installing XP Mode is a multi-step process. The first step is to download a pre-built Virtual Machine of XP and Virtual PC from Microsoft. After installation a new XP Mode Start Menu item will appear in Windows 7. Integration features that allow the sharing of drives, printers, clipboard and the smartcard will already be installed on the preconfigured XP Mode VM.
The really cool thing about XP Mode is how applications installed in XP can be loaded and run from the Windows 7 GUI. An RDP session is created from Window 7 to XP applications. The application is executing in Windows XP but appears to be running in a local window on Windows 7. Devices, including USB hard drives are available to XP and 7. These applications are “Published” to Windows 7 have a Programs Menu entry in both operating systems.
Until recently, XP Mode required Hardware Assisted Virtualization. This feature must be enabled in the BIOS and must be supported by the processor. Intel calls this technology Intel VT and AMD calls It AMD-V. My pc did not have this technology and would not run XP Mode. But Microsoft has recently released an update, KB977206, that will allow non-HAV machine to work with XP mode. The update can be found at: Http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=837f12aa-1d37-464e-ae59-20c9ecbebaf6&displaylang=en
XP Mode is a great way to run legacy apps on Windows 7. Check out Microsoft website for more details.