Windows 7 XP Mode: New Download Processes

Continuing a series of articles in support of virtualization on Windows 7… For
the previous post, see: Windows 7 Virtual Environments: Supporting Floppy
Drives.

The method to acquire Windows XP mode for Windows 7 has changed, and can be both confusing and challenging, since several pieces have moved and have been added.  The goal of this blog is to simplify your quest for Windows XP mode for your Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate platforms.

Start at the latest Microsoft directions for installing and using Windows XP Mode.

This portal provides the most comprehensive overview, guides you toward many of the other component processes, and serves as a reasonable starting point.

As you read down the page (and you should read the documentation as you go in order to note some of the recommended compatibility approaches), you will first be redirected to the Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool. You will need to check and ready your system before you can continue to acquire Windows XP mode.

001-download-Windows-7-XP-Mode

Once downloaded, execute the tool with elevated (administrator) rights.

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If you system meets the requirements, and BIOS or UEFI have been configured to support Hardware Assisted Virtualization, you may proceed with downloading Windows XP Mode or Windows Virtual PC. In my further examples, I address acquisition of Windows XP mode, though the process is identical for Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7.

003-virtualization-administrator-rights-Windows-7-XP-Mode

You should then be redirected to the Windows XP Mode Download Page. Make a language selection and Continue.

004-download-center-Windows-7-XP-Mode

You will be redirected to the Genuine Windows Validation page.  And here-in your challenge might begin.

005-download-center-Windows-7-XP-Mode

Should you download and run the GenuineCheck.exe file. You will be notified that the downloaded version is no longer current.

006-genuinecheck-Windows-7-XP-Mode

Just to be certain, I used an elevated command prompt with the slmgr /dli command to confirm that I was using a fully licensed version of Windows 7 Ultimate.  I also confirmed that it is activated, since I use evaluation copies as I prepare classroom images.

007-script-host-Windows-7-XP-Mode

After some hunting around, I discovered that using IE 9.0 with wide open Active-X controls helped me locate the new tool – an Active-X script rather than a downloadable executable.    Actually, I could not locate the new tool, even with multiple searched using Bing.com.  The tool found me on my fourth or fifth retry of the process.   You need to run the entire XP mode process through an IE browser that has been previously configured to allow Active-X scripting for downloads.

I could not get the solution to work with Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari.  Further testing confirmed that IE 8.0 and IE 10.0 will also work if ActiveX scripts are enabled.

I accepted the script at the top of the page, and was never asked to enter a validation code as suggested by the Windows Genuine Validation page.  Once I clicked the Yes button below, my browser dropped me back to the Windows XP Mode page, and the Continue button changed color from Green to Orange.

008-uac-host-Windows-7-XP-Mode

After being taken BACK to the Windows XP mode download page and selecting the Continue button a second time, I was offered the opportunity to download two files.

009-choose-xp-version-Windows-7-XP-Mode

If you select a file (or both), you will be encouraged to download and install the Microsoft Download Manager.  What the heck, as long as I am testing…

010-download-manager-xp-version-Windows-7-XP-Mode

 

011-download-manager-xp-version-Windows-7-XP-Mode

Layers of application wizards are now populating my desktop, from UAC authorization to setup wizards.  I decided I had better complete the Download Wizard process before selecting one or both XP Mode files for download.  I followed through the three screens of the Download Manager Installer, and waited for it to ask me to Finish the install.

Pop-ups for IE then asked if I trusted the Microsoft Site for downloads.  One pop-up for each file.  And then the Microsoft Download Manager appeared on my screen.

012-download-manager-xp-version-Windows-7-XP-Mode

There is no clear notification on the Microsoft site distinguishing between the WindowsXP_N_en-us.exe versus WindowsXPMode_en-US.exe files.  With a little digging, I was able to identify that the version with the _N_ does not have Media Player and was created for the European environment.  You want to run WindowsXP_en-us.exe for most scenarios.

Once the download has completed, you may simply select the Open button next to the XP mode version you desire (it appears where the Suspend button is placed in the prior snapshot).  This will initiate the installation of Windows XP Mode.

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You are on your way!  Best luck creating your virtual environment on Windows 7.
Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

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