Lately in the Tech Press there’s been a lot of interest in Microsoft’s new “Virtual XP Mode” for Windows 7. This addition has the possibility (and some headaches) or allowing older, XP only software to work just fine in the Windows 7 environment. Not running the Windows 7 RC here, I decided to see if it could be made to work on Vista.
The answer is Yes.
You can download Virtual PC 2007 for Vista here.
You can download the “Virtual XP Image” from Microsoft here.
You’ll need a little utility to extract the VHD from the Virtual XP Image you downloaded from Microsoft. You can find that here.
Simply install Virtual PC 2007 for Vista, extract the.VHD file from the MS download, and then create a new virtual machine in VPC2007 with the XP image. And it works! Install the Virtualization Additions and the performance will be just fine.
My only complaint with VPC 2007 is that it does NOT have USB support. The whole reason for me to use it is to get my old NEC SuperScript 1400 laser printer working in Vista x64. I have a hack for Vista x86 (32-bit), but not x64 for not having printing is a pain. Yes I could buy a printer, but, this one works just fine.
To get the printer working, I did a little Virtualization magic. I converted the .VHD image from MS into a .VMDK file, and ran it with VMPlayer 2.5 from VMware. I installed the Windows VMware tools, and everything works just fine. I now have my old USB printer working on Vista x64. I expect to use the same trick on Windows 7 when I upgrade. Incidently, the USB support is pretty slick in VMplayer 2.5. Unity mode rocks too.