Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to run Windows XP programs in Windows 7?

If you have programs (or we call them apps nowadays, thanks to Apple) that runs only on Windows XP and will not run on Windows 7 at all. Even you tried to execute the program by setting "Compatibility" (in properties) to run as Windows XP, the program will stubbornly not run at all. It is time to install a virtual PC on your Windows 7.

There are other methods  to allow you to run the native Windows XP program:
1. Install Windows XP and Windows 7, and make the PC dual boot - Windows XP and Windows 7 co-exist on same system. However this will create quite a messy files system and I am not sure will it works.
2. You can also install virtual box on Windows 7 and then install the Windows XP. However you will need the original setup CD of Windows XP. Who would ever keep the Windows XP setup CD?
3. Buy a second hand system that come with Windows XP. Or install Windows XP on the old system, but need the original Windows XP setup CD as well.

Microsoft is kind enough to provide this Windows XP virtual [read: MS is not always so generous, okay]. Here are what to do:
1. Go to the virtual pc website of MS
2. Choose to download for Windows XP virtual pc.
3. The website will need to verify if your Windows 7 is a legitimate, you will need to allow the download and execute this file "WindowsActivationUpdate.exe". I have to use IE to do this, using Chrome to download and execute taking forever (Probably MS purposely make it that way?).
4. After verification, it will bring you to the actual download page. There are 4 steps to follow, first step is to save that web page or print it for reference. I skipped the first step and jump to step 2 to step 4. :P
5. There are 3 files to download:
  1. Windows XP virtual PC (WindowsXPMode_N_en-us.exe) ~460MB.
  2. Virtual PC update (Windows6.1-KB958559-x64-RefreshPkg.msu) ~16MB
  3. WinXP virtual PC update (Windows6.1-KB977206-x64.msu) ~4MB
6. Install the files in order listed in step 5. It will ask to restart in every step, I just wait until all has been install.
7. After restart your PC, time to run Windows XP virtual PC for first time.
a. Start -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode
8. You will have to wait a while for the first time because it will install the Windows XP.
a. Key in a password for the Windows XP virtual PC when it ask for it. Not needed to be same with your Windows 7 password.
9. After Windows XP boot up in virtual PC, you will able to see this. Note the BlueStacks gadget next to it. :D
Windows XP virtual PC on

10. The C drive and D drive in this virtual PC is not the same one on your Windows 7. They are virtual disk on this virtual PC. However your actual disks on Windows 7 should be link as a network disk in the virtual PC.
11. Go ahead and install the programs that you want to use in Windows 7.

Things to note: there are no shutdown option in this virtual Windows XP. Click on "Ctrl+Alt+Del" on the virtual PC windows and select shutdown. Or course no hibernate for this Windows XP as well.

It took ~2 to 3GB of disk space from the Windows 7 system for the Windows XP virtual PC default installation, not including the additional software you going to install on the virtual PC.

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source: I wrote this!

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