I finally had a chance to work with the new Windows XP Mode available in Windows 7 Professional today in an actual production environment. I also did not expect it to work as smoothly as it did. I have to say, I am very pleased with the relative ease I was able to utilize this feature.
Windows XP Mode is a virtualization technology built on Microsoft Virtual PC. It allows you to run applications in a virtual environment, separate from the host operating system & applications. This is a technology that can be utilized the enable companies to take advantage of new hardware and new features in Windows 7 by allowing users to still use older applications.
I was contacted by a small business today that needed some assistance with setting up a new 64bit Windows 7 Professional computer. The computer that was being replaced was an older 32bit Windows XP system that contained a specialized CRM application that is no longer supported on Windows 7. I was excited to have this opportunity to finally try Windows XP Mode in a full production environment.
Luckily, the new computer that was purchased came pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional and already had Windows XP Mode installed, but had not been configured. After spending a few minutes of configuring the software, I was presented with a familiar, trusty old friend; the Windows XP desktop. I then added the virtual machine to the client's domain, added the client as a local admin, mapped the required network share and installed the old application. Everything worked as if I were setting up a normal system. The client could even use the USB printer that was attached to the host machine in the virtual environment. Needless to say, the client was very happy, and finally turned off the old computer that was still hooked up and being used alongside the new computer.