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
2,851 Tutorials

How to virtualise Windows XP

Use 'XP Mode' when it's not in your OS

QUESTION I was very interested to learn that it's possible to run older programs in Windows XP Mode on my Microsoft Windows 7 PC. However, I've been unable to make this work on my Acer Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit laptop. Can you tell me where I'm going wrong? Glyn Foster

HELPROOM ANSWER Unfortunately, only the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 let you run Windows XP Mode. However, other free virtual computing options are available for Home Premium, including VirtualBox.

VirtualBox is easy to use and comes with full instructions.

Once downloaded, check that the 'Virtualisation' option is turned on in the Bios. Your computer needs to have enough RAM to power both Windows and any virtual machine you run. Ideally, a minimum of 4GB RAM should be installed for Windows 64bit.

You'll also need an XP installation disc and a valid licence key – you can pick one up for around £30 online. Alternatively, you can run a free version of Linux with VirtualBox.

Other similar tools include VMLite XP Mode.

See also: How to fix everything: the ultimate guide to fixing technology

Free tech support in the Helproom Forum

IDG UK Sites

45 Best Android games: top Android games for your smartphone or tablet in 2014 (24 are free!)

IDG UK Sites

How Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others have let us down over UltraHD and hiDPI screens

IDG UK Sites

Do you have the X-Factor too? Mix Off app puts fans in the frame

IDG UK Sites

iPad Pro release date, rumours and leaked images - 12.9 screen 'coming in 2015'