We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,847 Tutorials

How to run older programs in Windows XP Mode

Improve software compatibility in Windows 7

Following an upgrade to Windows 7, you may find some of the programs you use are incompatible. Rather than dual-booting with an older operating system to get them to run, use Windows XP Mode.

Following an upgrade to Windows 7, you may find some of the programs you use are incompatible. Rather than dual-booting with an older operating system to get them to run, use Windows XP Mode. This functionality is in essence a virtualised copy of XP that’s built into Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate or available from Microsoft's website.

Step 1. If you don’t already have Windows XP Mode on your machine, download it from Microsoft's website. If you installed the software when it first launched and don’t have Automatic Upgrades switched on, you may need to upgrade the program. Select the OS you’re running and language.

Windows XP Mode step 1

Step 2. The site will offer you three downloads: Windows XP Mode, Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode update. These must be downloaded in the order displayed. Click on the first download and press Continue. Follow the instructions to validate your copy of Windows and then save and run the software.

Windows XP Mode step 2

Step 3. You may find you need to restart your PC following validation; otherwise, press Continue. The Windows XP Mode download will automatically begin. Save and run this file, then follow the instructions to choose where the software should be installed. Repeat this process for all the downloads.

Windows XP Mode step 3

Step 4. Once all three downloads have installed, go to Start, Programs and choose Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode. Accept the licence agreement and enter a password. Click ‘Start setup’. A virtual Windows XP desktop will appear onscreen, within which you can use software that won’t run in Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode step 4

Also see:
Upgrade Advisor
Windows 7 Advisor

IDG UK Sites

The 30 best TV shows on Netflix UK: Our pick of the best programmes you can watch right now

IDG UK Sites

Nostalgia time: Top 10 best selling mobile phones in history

IDG UK Sites

VFX Emmy: Game of Thrones work garners gong for Rodeo FX

IDG UK Sites

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina review (2.6GHz, 128GB, mid-2014)