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XP Mode doesn't work

If you've ancient software that won't work under Windows 7 then in theory you can use XP Mode, a virtual machine with an installation of Windows XP that should be more successful. In practice, however, it doesn't always work out that way.

Problem 1 is XP Mode requires hardware support from the CPU. The Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool can check your system to see if it's compatible.

Problem 2 is the feature must be enabled in the BIOS. Microsoft has some instructions, but essentially you just need to browse your BIOS setup program looking for an AMD-V, Intel VT or VIA VT virtualisation setting and ensure it's turned on.

Unfortunately problem number 3 is that some laptop manufacturers have previously disabled this setting for "security" reasons. Sony Vaios had the feature turned off for a while, for instance, prompting some to recommend ways in which you can edit their firmware to restore the setting, although Sony seems to have restored it recently. If hardware virtualisation is turned off on your system then check with the manufacturer - a BIOS upgrade may fix the problem.

And if all else fails, just use a package like VirtualBox that doesn't insist on hardware support. You will need to provide a licenced copy of XP (or whatever other version you want to use) to install on it, though.

XP mode in windows 7



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