Windows 7 XP Mode no longer requires hardware virtualization

Microsoft announced that Windows 7 users who want to run XP Mode on the operating system can now do it with the help of a patch that eliminates the need for hardware virtualization technology.

“Windows XP Mode no longer requires hardware virtualization technology. This change simplifies the experience by making virtualization more accessible to many more PCs for small and midsize businesses wanting to migrate to Windows 7 Professional or higher editions, while still running Windows XP-based productivity applications,” wrote Microsoft’s in-house Windows blogger, Brandon LeBlanc, in a Thursday’s post.

The updated version of the software is available on Microsoft’s Web site for Windows 7 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit. Users who are already running the XP Mode do not require the new update.

However, Microsoft did not mention anything about how the new changes, to run XP mode without hardware virtualization, will affect the performance of the applications.

Changes to make Windows 7 popular
In the past Microsoft has been severely criticized for making things complicated by introducing XP Mode that worked only on PC’s that supported either Intel’s Virtualization Technology or AMD’s AMD-V.

Because of the complications in the adopting the software, customers stayed with Windows XP. Microsoft finally seems to have realized that it needs to uncomplicate the process to popularize Windows 7 adoption.

“This change makes it extremely easy for businesses to use Windows XP Mode to address any application incompatibility roadblocks they might have in migrating to Windows 7. Windows XP Mode will of course continue to use hardware virtualization technology if available,” added LeBlanc in his official blog post.

The XP Mode virtualization is available only for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

Microsoft had introduced Windows 7 back in October 2009 and XP Mode is available only on Professional and Ultimate versions of the operating system.

Changes in Microsoft’s virtualization policy
Microsoft also made some changes in its virtualization policy to reduce obstacles in the way of adoption of Window’s 7 furthermore.

From July 1, Windows Client Software Assurance customers will not require a separate license to access Windows in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment but will be part of Software Assurance (SA).

Before this SA customers were required to pay additional fee of $23 per device annually by Microsoft for Windows Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD).

According to Dai Vu, director of Virtualization Solutions Marketing at Microsoft, this new development will reduce the confusion and complexity of virtual environment licensing issue where, “Customers feel that because they’ve already paid for SA, having to pay again [for VECD] doesn’t make sense.”