Windows 7 to Include “Windows XP Mode” for Application Compatibility

The Windows Product team have made a really smart decision to put in some effort around the Windows XP Virtual PC experience.  This feature will is aimed at businesses that need to maintain XP compatibility with line-of-business applications.  Essentially, prior to this feature announcement, businesses would have had to have an XP license and use VMWare Workstation to unify the desktop with a single start menu.  Some would argue that you could also use Virtual PC already but then users would have to actively deal with a second OS.  “Windows XP Mode” abstracts the look of two OSes on a machine so end-users don’t have to be bothered about firing up VMs and two start menus.

The technology used is very similar to Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, or MED-V for short, which provides centralized enterprise class management of the VM images.  MED-V, however, is an additional purchase as part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, or MDOP, which is only available to Software Assurance customers.