Windows XP Mode just hit RTM status this week and will be made available for download later this month in its final version. Once installed, this optional Windows 7 feature will let anyone run their XP-only applications which wouldn’t otherwise work on the new operating system. Designed primarily for small businesses who sometimes run mission-critical apps that are not updated to work with new versions of Windows, XP Mode adds a virtualization layer comprised of the Windows Virtual PC engine a licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 running as a virtual machine, both of which will be made available for download. Larger businesses will likely use MED-V which will offer XP Mode in its new version due to be released in beta 90 days after the Windows 7 public release.
Programs running in XP Mode will can be launched right from the Windows 7 desktop and even integrate with Windows 7 features like the Taskbar’s “jump lists” which show recently used files and common tasks. In order for XP Mode to run, PCs are required to have at least 2 GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.