'Windows XP Mode' revealed for Windows 7

Remember that major announcement that was planned for Windows 7 a while back? Well, it's finally here, revealed on Paul Thurrott's Windows SuperSite. So, what is it? It's a feature of Windows 7 called 'Windows XP Mode'.

So, what exactly is this new mode? As you can probably tell from the name, it's a method to provide better compatibility in Windows 7, and to pull it off with as little trouble as possible. It's also dubbed XPM, or formerly Virtual XP. According to Thurrott, "XPM is built on the next generation Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line, which requires processor-based virtualization support (Intel and AMD) to be present and enabled on the underlying PC, much like Hyper-V, Microsoft's server-side virtualization platform. However, XPM is not Hyper-V for the client. It is instead a host-based virtualization solution like Virtual PC; the hardware assistance requirement suggests this will be the logical conclusion of this product line from a technological standpoint. That is, we fully expect future client versions of Windows to include a Hyper-V-based hypervisor."

XP Mode will bring a Virtual PC-based environment, as well as a fully licensed version of Windows XP SP3, free for all owners of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. This is good from a commercial point of view. Earlier, Microsoft could happily say that Windows 7 was just as compatible with software as Windows Vista, but now they can add 100% compatibility with Windows XP, too. So, for you IE6 users, you're in luck. Do not expect this to run like a proper Virtual PC; that being, a separate operating system running within a window. XP Mode will integrate itself with the Windows 7 desktop, and so the older software will run just like a normal Windows 7 application. Essentially, this is two operating systems running under an updated desktop.

Thurrott expects to have screenshots up of it running shortly, and also look forward to seeing an in-depth guide of it on Within Windows very soon. Neowin will publish more information as it arrives. Thoughts?

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Hrm... does this mean that Microsoft will continue to support bug fixes and security patches in Windows XP for as long as it does so for Windows 7? If they decided to stop supporting Windows XP prior to the support cycle of Windows 7, then does that mean a Windows XP security hole could be a Windows 7 security hole as well (I wonder)?

medium_pimpin said,
What about support for XP/non-Vista hardware?

Probably not. This just seems to be a packaged Virtual PC w/ Windows XP pre-installed. I don't think that a "guest" OS can use hardware that not compatible with the "host" OS. This is probably only useful for software compatibility (although I could be wrong).

That's a great idea but I've been testing applications on Windows 7 and had zero issues so far. I think this is a safety cushion more than anything. Most users shouldn't need it.

I would be interested to know whether it supports USB2 transfer speeds. I have a Visioneer 9020 scanner that is not compatible with either Vista or 7 and would love to be able to use it.

Right now, I either have to dual boot or install it in XP in virtual box with USB2 support enabled.

The picture series does show mass storage USB support... which might be a yes.

This is great news, although it was not totally unexpected. I must say from a personal standpoint it doesn't directly affect me as I didn't come across programs I used on XP not working on Windows 7.
What is great about it is that this will hopefully create the opportunity to get rid of as much legacy stuff as possible in Windows and make it even more leaner. I haven't been as excited about a new Windows release since Windows2000, I feel it's a game changer

Can a machine with 2GB RAM will be able to run Windows 7 AND virtualized XP all together?
I hope M$ aren't pushing too much...

There appears to be an error on the S key on your keyboard.

No, wait a minute! You pressed the wrong key! Keep practicing!

I run virtualised Vista on a Win7 machine with 2GB RAM, slow but workable, and in the current version of VPC. The new version of VPC this comes with is probably quicker so I am guessing the answer would be ............. yes!

Unlikely. I think XP Pro has security patching until 2014. It sounds like this is being released as a separate add-in to Win7 (free download) so it won't be covered by the Win7 support policy I'd say.

XPM is built on the next generation Microsoft Virtual PC 7 product line, which requires processor-based virtualization support (Intel and AMD) to be present and enabled on the underlying PC, much like Hyper-V, Microsoft's server-side virtualization platform.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization

Updated list and links 1/2 way down.

In short, many dual/quad core CPUs and ALL of the new i7 Core CPUs, which is likely to mean ANY machine you buy with Windows 7 will support this out of the box, since that is the CPU that Intel is pushing into all segments this summer/fall (when Windows 7 will reach store shelves on OEM machines).

:)

Why cant they integrate this feature inside the OS.... instead of separate app? and i thought Windows 7 had objective of supporting more apps than Vista and gaining extra app compatibility natively without needing of VXP or such stuff

Because they would have too much bloat otherwise. Remember Windows ME? They had issues because they tried to load too much stuff on top of the already over-loaded MS-DOS layer in the name of compatibility. I'm kinda happy that they are giving themselves an opportunity to remove the excess fat from the OS and move on with making a faster and leaner product.

rakeshishere said,
Why cant they integrate this feature inside the OS.... instead of separate app? and i thought Windows 7 had objective of supporting more apps than Vista and gaining extra app compatibility natively without needing of VXP or such stuff

Do not expect this to run like a proper Virtual PC; that being, a separate operating system running within a window. XP Mode will integrate itself with the Windows 7 desktop, and so the older software will run just like a normal Windows 7 application. Essentially, this is two operating systems running under an updated desktop.

For people that dont understand this yet, this is *NOT* just virtual pc with windows XP... this is windows XP "integration" with windows 7... aka you can run XP apps inside windows 7 like they run on Xp fully "integrated" into the windows 7 system... aka USB/D3D/all that fun stuff... only if you have "Integration mode" enabled which is a NEW feature in this... it wasn't in VPC

Nope. I just allows you to post XP-installed app shortcuts to Win7 Start Menu. It is still VPC. No D3D.

neo7 said,
Nope. It just allows you to post XP-installed app shortcuts to Win7 Start Menu. It is still VPC. No D3D.

neufuse said,
For people that dont understand this yet, this is *NOT* just virtual pc with windows XP... this is windows XP "integration" with windows 7... aka you can run XP apps inside windows 7 like they run on Xp fully "integrated" into the windows 7 system... aka USB/D3D/all that fun stuff... only if you have "Integration mode" enabled which is a NEW feature in this... it wasn't in VPC

You clearly don't understand the technology as this is the second incorrect comment you've made. It is Virtual PC. It is a second app. It is regular virtualisation. This is nothing new or even close to new.

It requires VX technology in the CPU because it is hardware assisted, as is most modern virtualisation - not exclusively HyperV.

For similar products (to back my nothing new claim) look at Parallels Workstation or VMWare Fusion for Mac. Both have this exact functionality (windows apps available on the mac dock running within a window that has an XP border and no other hint of windows) and are just virtual machines with an integration mode; nothing new.

One thing is unclear to me here...

Why is this requiring processor-based virtualization technology if it's basically "just" a Virtual PC solution and not a Hyper-V client?

Jugalator said,
One thing is unclear to me here...

Why is this requiring processor-based virtualization technology if it's basically "just" a Virtual PC solution and not a Hyper-V client?


it's because of how it runs, its not a VM environment, its a virtualized application layer (you can use a VM environment if you want to though) and to do this inside windows you need the virtualization features of your CPU... it's kind of like windows side by side (SxS) but its like Windows inside Windows WiW

neufuse said,

it's because of how it runs, its not a VM environment, its a virtualized application layer (you can use a VM environment if you want to though) and to do this inside windows you need the virtualization features of your CPU... it's kind of like windows side by side (SxS) but its like Windows inside Windows WiW

This shouldn't be much of an issue though. Most computers within the past couple of years either has an AMD or Intel processor that supports the virtualization extensions. My laptop from almost 3 years ago did. My current laptop does.

who about Software that has got made for XP64 ??

i guess they will at last support 64bit OS now in VPC aka WVPC ?

Oh wow, now I can run outdated applications for the hell of it :P

Seriously, the industry needs to catch up and ditch Office/97/2000/XP/IE6. All this does is further allow companies to reside on unsupported/no longer updated/unpatched software, that is more of a security risk than anything

whats the odds that this "feature" will end up getting exploited and allow the hacker access to the entire system, just because MS want to allow people to run out dated software.

like Neobond said the industry needs to move on.

xSuRgEx said,
whats the odds that this "feature" will end up getting exploited and allow the hacker access to the entire system, just because MS want to allow people to run out dated software.

like Neobond said the industry needs to move on.

Actually I don't see that happening. This type of functionality is typically sandboxed. I'm sure MS has thought it out but it is no more exploitable than their current Virtual PC software or Innotek VirtualBox or VMware Workstation/Server.

How good will the virtualization be? The article wasn't clear if it was going to be like either:
Running a VirtualBox guest XP and sucking up quite a lot of ram/cpu.
Or if it's something very new in 7 that makes it tightly integrated with the OS and the performance draining you'd usually see when running a Virtual OS in Vbox/VMware etc, unnoticeable.

One of the pictures suggested a ram allocation setting but I think if MS was smart about it they put the system on standby and free the ram if there are no other XP apps running inside of XVM. On that note you can run an XP with a 1GB allocation quite comfortably on a Vista machine with 4GB of ram. I expect no less here.

Marc Podito said,
what's with IE6 here? i thought xp sp3 has ie7 installed?

Windows XP SP3 still has IE6 installed on a default setup. Most machines that still come with XP preinstalled have already been updated to IE7 these days but if you go out and find a XP SP3 OEM cd you will get IE6 first. If you check out the screenshots you will see the old IE6 icon there on the desktop.

I'm not sure I like the idea of having some kind ov XP emulation inside Windows 7. I guess this is mostly so that larger companies know they can migrate to Windows 7 and still know they can use their old software.

*sighs* Did you even read the article? This is a free addon like all of MS's Live apps. You don't need to install it if you don't want it. Its an option. plus you can bet a month's paycheck that this thing will be sanboxed up the ying yang.

fobban said,
I'm not sure I like the idea of having some kind ov XP emulation inside Windows 7. I guess this is mostly so that larger companies know they can migrate to Windows 7 and still know they can use their old software.

That's probably good for the businesses who have critical legacy business applications. For me, at home or at work, it's a feature I am unlikely to use: every applications I use is compatible with Vista.

Still, a brillant move by Microsoft to help the said business bump their machines to Windows 7 from XP

Yea but I have found the advantages of that kind of feature. I tried to create some diagnostic discs using Western Digital's programs and they kept complaining that the write protect tab was set when I tried to run them under Vista. I fired up my XP VM under VMware and mounted the Floppy into that. The program ran fine there and I was able to make my disk. It is good for legacy apps that were not updated to Windows Vista and don't work properly under compatiblity mode.

Precisely. This sounds much more useful than it will actually prove to be. But it's a great "assuaging fear of upgrade to a new OS" feature to be sure. 8)

Seems to be a free version of MED-V (MS Enterprise Desktop Virtualization), which was part of this years MDOP (MS Desktop Optmisation Pack), great stuff! Now if they'd only give us a free version of APP-V.......

Haiden
I don't see much of its use in the business world which have and hold their XP licenses.

Why not? Most businesses will have PCs that can run 7 since it requires less than Vista. This means they can upgrade, and get all the new security stability features management networking search and other features. And they don't need to worry if some of their old apps only work on XP because they'll still work.

I don't know about others but I've been running Vista since launch and am very used to it now, XP is REALLY hard to go back to. And going back from 7 beta to Vista is hard too once you are used to 7. When I go back to Vista I keep dragging my windows to the top and edge of the screen an nothing happens like in 7.

But reality is, many people don't like learning new things, I get that. And XP Pro still has support until 2014 I think for security patching so I guess there's not really any pressure to move if people really don't see the value.

Saucy said,
Why not? Most businesses will have PCs that can run 7 since it requires less than Vista. This means they can upgrade, and get all the new security stability features management networking search and other features. And they don't need to worry if some of their old apps only work on XP because they'll still work.

I don't know about others but I've been running Vista since launch and am very used to it now, XP is REALLY hard to go back to. And going back from 7 beta to Vista is hard too once you are used to 7. When I go back to Vista I keep dragging my windows to the top and edge of the screen an nothing happens like in 7.

But reality is, many people don't like learning new things, I get that. And XP Pro still has support until 2014 I think for security patching so I guess there's not really any pressure to move if people really don't see the value.

Most maybe. My work though still uses older P4's with a gig of ram. They are Dell Optiplex GX620's just so you know. Nothing that can run Windows 7 comfortably with our applications though. On the upside I installed and ran Windows 7 on an old SX260 with a P4 2.66Ghz and 1 Gig of ram and I thought it did run pretty good but work is gonna want an upgrade before they deploy Windows 7.

I'm running Windows 7 on an old P4 system with a $50 PCI nvidia graphics card quite nicely. Try again with the RC/RTM as the debug code will be gone. Final OS releases are always faster.

But yeah, this "XP within 7" option makes a compelling case at hardware replacement time, especially since a new Windows 7 license will be MUCH cheaper when bundled with a new computer.

I don't get the point. Why did one went get Windows Seven when he can just install XP. Come on, if all the application software works with XP, why not just install XP only rather than having 2 OS that basically acts nearly identical. Plus they can cut more cost.

I don't see much of its use in the business world which have and hold their XP licenses.

Because you can use 7 for better memory management, hardware support, ect. and still have compatability with older software that may not work correctly (or at at all) with 7.

I personally think it's a great addition to an already great OS.

Maybe its because XP is an 8 year old OS that barely supports currently tech without major driver patching to the OS itself. Hib is slower, suspend isn't as robust, security isn't as good out of the box, the graphic subsystem is very much still based around the CPU instead of the GPU where it belongs, and the overall system is designed around more current ideas in computing. And when I say ideas I'm not talking the snazzy UI, but what is under the hood. Do yourself a favor and go read a few of the whitepapers out there on Win 7 and learn what is truly different between Vista7 and XP. Its like saying a Hybrid Camery is the same as a '84 Monte Carlo. Yah they both are designed to get you from A to B, both have engines, both have steering wheels, wipers, and tires....but what is under the hood is what makes all the difference as does what is under Win 7's hood.

Haiden said,
I don't get the point. Why did one went get Windows Seven when he can just install XP. Come on, if all the application software works with XP, why not just install XP only rather than having 2 OS that basically acts nearly identical. Plus they can cut more cost.

I don't see much of its use in the business world which have and hold their XP licenses.


I don't get the point. Why did one went get Windows Seven when he can just install XP.

Because Windows 7 has lots of new features? What kind of strange question is this?

Windows 7 has the combined feature set of Windows Vista and Windows 7, what you get after a combined eight years of OS development time, haha.

Of course I know all the features of Seven and tried 7048 before. The thing is isn't it better to run an Operating System natively (just the lone OS, natively is not on the dictionary ^_^)? Running it virtually causes some application to run slower and have more processing power. 2. Businesses as one poster said are still stuck with P4 lines making it more questionable. 3. We are all in the hard times so add the cost.

The fear of businesses is compatibility on what they have. Now presented with this thing that they can actually run their old software through a virtual PC using seven on older platforms and will be using XP (virtually) so that their software/applications work is like saying they are complicating things which are made to be simple.

Plus in a test in our present condition. We have a software (can't name it here, due to restrictions) which eats 180-320MB RAM in XP, is doubled in Vista and Seven 390-740MB. We often run 2 to three instances of this. Instance in a sense that one instance is independent on the other. So in general if you have 3 instance of it, in XP you'll be using 540-960MB which is still good, in Vista eats 2GB actual test and makes your computer to a super crawl then locks up and down. In Seven it BSODs with no apparent reason at times in first instance. Though to be fair, I only tried it on the 7048 which I downloaded.

In this scenario considering Seven won't run it and running it virtually is somewhat... forget it.

WHOA... I didn't see it coming and this is a SHREWD business move. They are going to rake in money once the recession is over

Very very nice, too bad it's not in the Home Premium version though. Professional and up is too expensive (I'm expecting them to be in the AUD$600 to AUD$800+ price range). However, I'll wait till the official pricing is released and I'll make a final decision then however, so far it sounds like Professional is probably the version I should aim for (and probably just Home Premium for the laptop).

That is Australian Dollars (AUD) not US dollars and yes I think it will, Vista Ultimate retailed for around AUD$700 so there is a good chance those editions will retail in that price range too. We get ripped off pretty chronically here in Australia unfortunatly

Is it possible to add in XP mode via my old XP oem cd?
Or is it only for the XP SP3 that comes with the more expenive versions of Windows 7?

Reminds me of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

sounds good. I wonder if would support dx too (I mean like dx10, heh). But I wonder why would I need 7 anyways...

Doubt it. This is for backwards compatibility. It would be nice for the old games to at least have DX9 but I don't see it happening. Not on RTM anyways. Maybe on a future update.

And this just adds to the list of why I choose the Ultimate version over the other versions...

Now I really can't wait!

Tanshin said,
And this just adds to the list of why I choose the Ultimate version over the other versions...

Now I really can't wait!

It's available in the Professional version too...

iamwhoiam said,
Yes, but booting from the VM environment is not.

Boot from the VM? I don't see a reference to that although it would be nice none the less.

why wouldn't this support D3D? It's just a layer to run apps in a virtual environment, it would still have full access to the video card as like it says its just windows running in an updated UI... this isn't virtual pc, its virtualized applications... little differences there is you have really one host, that runs applications with different sets of runtimes in a "virtual" environment which then plugs directly into the host enviroment's UI... so it opens like any other windows app, it just runs it under XP mode with XP runtimes inside the Windows 7 UI

roadwarrior said,
Well, other virtualization products have only limited 3D support, why should this be any different?


because this is different, its virtualized applications... you can run the app outside of the "host" os environment so its just like a windows 7 app but runs like windows xp and looks like win xp... it doesnt run inside a windowed host like vmware or vpc... you can launch an app from the win7 desktop in xp mode it pops up like a normal app.. no "os load" time... with integration directly into the OS like its a normal app

neufuse said,
because this is different, its virtualized applications...


No. From everything I'm reading, this is nothing more than VirtualPC upgraded with an implementation of VMware's Unity mode. Notice that this includes a license for Windows XP because it is running XP in the background.

Now at least they will have the option to buy a new computer with all the new OS security and bells and whistles, while remaining backwards compatibility with any legacy XP-only applications.

Not a fan of XP in this day and age, although the fact that it runs within 7 without the need for using a VM is a good way to implement this IMO. Since I plan to buy 7 Professional, it might be worth checking out this feature.

This is a very good move by microsoft!

I hope they make it as seamless integration like vmware fusion or parallels desktop does on mac and remove every code needed for "compatibility" with older windows versions. the OS would be much faster, i think you only need .NET frameworks and stuff like that.

Anyway, this is a wonderful but, how about performance vs commercial products? (vmware/parallels or even virtualbox that is free)

Hm... I see in the screenshots (Buried in the links) that there is USB support (Which makes sense)... Perhaps this means that USB support is coming to the next release of Virtual PC? That would be really great.

Like Someone Mentioned i'm Crossing my fingers this will support Direct 3d, i've given up on getting KOTOR or Homeworld2 to run Under vista...

tabsolution said,
Try googling for "nero lite" or "nero micro"

I wouldn't trust them not to be full of nasties.

If you want nero6 that pretty much means your after standard burning featues only, not video encode bloat.
So use imgburn instead, its free, and the most reliable disk burning app out there.
nero6's media info will be WAAAY out of date now.

yakumo said,
I wouldn't trust them not to be full of nasties.

If you want nero6 that pretty much means your after standard burning featues only, not video encode bloat.
So use imgburn instead, its free, and the most reliable disk burning app out there.
nero6's media info will be WAAAY out of date now.


updatepack.nl has real versions of Nero (Lite and Micro).
I use the micro version. You need a legit serial though.

yakumo said,
I wouldn't trust them not to be full of nasties.

If you want nero6 that pretty much means your after standard burning featues only, not video encode bloat.
So use imgburn instead, its free, and the most reliable disk burning app out there.
nero6's media info will be WAAAY out of date now.


VM uses a virtualized optical drive to link with the real one. Nero won't work, I've tried it.

SiliconAddiction said,


VM uses a virtualized optical drive to link with the real one. Nero won't work, I've tried it.

Awww... no burning inside of XVM? Oh well. I'm sure there will be some breaks. I know it was hard to emulate burning capability inside of a VM. VirtualBox did it but it leaves a ghost drive that doesn't go anywhere. They do a direct pass-through for it.

yakumo said,
I wouldn't trust them not to be full of nasties.

If you want nero6 that pretty much means your after standard burning featues only, not video encode bloat.
So use imgburn instead, its free, and the most reliable disk burning app out there.
nero6's media info will be WAAAY out of date now.

Yes thats why everyone continues to use Nero Lite, because it's so totally full of spyware and viruses....

stezo2k said,
wow sounds even better hopefully i can run nero 6 on it

be great if its integrated in 7100


Try Ashampoo. It works perfectly on Win7 and is just like Nero used to be before it got bloated.

FINALLY!!! That's "BEEP"ing fantastic news!
I was pretty much sold before, but now it's guaranteed! Microsoft, this was the smartest move you could have made!
Well done!

Good for people who need XP compatibilty for certain apps saves having to buy an XP license. Not sure if it's just the new version of Virtual PC so you can also run Linux etc or whether it's tied down to XP? If you can run other OS's then I'd imagine VMWare, Parallels and Sun being none too happy.

I guess the main point is that Windows doesn't have to provide legacy support so they can strip things down or even start from scratch which sounds possible with their talk of a cloud OS.

I believe it was announced that Windows 7 was going to support .vhd files, which would be virtual hard disks (Like used in Virtual PC). I believe this is built into 7 now, which seemed odd to me until seeing this announcement. Now it finally makes sense. Before I was thinking that it was a lot of bloat that many standard users would never use...

m.keeley said,
Good for people who need XP compatibilty for certain apps saves having to buy an XP license. Not sure if it's just the new version of Virtual PC so you can also run Linux etc or whether it's tied down to XP? If you can run other OS's then I'd imagine VMWare, Parallels and Sun being none too happy.

I guess the main point is that Windows doesn't have to provide legacy support so they can strip things down or even start from scratch which sounds possible with their talk of a cloud OS.

Yea. They needed to find an exit avenue so that they could get rid of alot of excess baggage. This is probably the best way to do it. I currently run a XP Virtual Machine inside of VMWare so this will likely save me the trouble of having to set it up again with Win7.

mac6400 said,
This sounds Strangely like how the Mac OS X handles Mac OS 9 (classic mode).

I believe that Mac OSX used emulation to support OS 9 apps. This uses virtualization and will be optimized for CPUs that support virtualization.

This is still handled in a very similar manner. The programs run in a seamless desktop environment. This type of feature goes all the way back to OS/2 though (it ran Windows 3.1 apps in a similar manner).

m.keeley said,
You haven't been able to run OS 9 for ages not that it's any loss for most people.

You can still run Classic Mode on PowerPC Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier. Only Intel Macs and PowerPC Macs running Leopard cannot run Classic.

the OSX version used fat binaries, and emulation to switch the OS9 code to OSX code on the fly.

This as has been said is virtualization and doesn't need any change to the older code of the app etc. Just have the right CPU support.

mac6400 said,
This sounds Strangely like how the Mac OS X handles Mac OS 9 (classic mode).

I thought the same!
But it doesn't handle it anymore, and it doesn't need to :P

Obviously Microsoft's version of the Classic Environment is much newer and runs on modern hardware. It makes sense that it's not going to be exactly the same as Apple's implementation back in 2001: emulation vs virtualization. However the concept and reasoning behind it basically is. Both systems (Mac OS X and Windows 7) allow a second older OS to run seamlessly at the same time in order to run legacy software on the same desktop.

IMO, it's a smart way to tackle the compatibility problem during a transition period.

Yeah, I only seeing this being useful for businesses who are so poorly managed that they are still running homegrown applications that still only work on the NT/2000/XP code base.

So I think this announcement sounds more exciting than it is. Though it is the nail in the coffin for XP and a lovely feature release win for Windows 7.

GP007 said,
the OSX version used fat binaries, and emulation to switch the OS9 code to OSX code on the fly.


Please don't try to explain something to me that you have no idea about. Classic mode had nothing at all to do with fat binaries. Fat binaries allowed the same program to run on different processor architectures (back in the early 90's during the transition from the 68K to PPC architecture). Universal binaries are the more recent equivalent for the PPC to x86 transition. Neither has anything to do with the Classic Environment on OS X. That was a full version of Mac OS 9 running inside of OS X with similar seamless desktop integration that allowed non-OS X software to run on the OS X desktop. I'm well aware that Classic isn't true virtualization, but it isn't fully emulated either (it's somewhere in between, with some parts of the hardware emulated, but many CPU calls virtualized).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Environment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_binary
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_binary

I'm not an expert on old Mac stuff, but as I understand it, Classic works more like the DOS / Win9x VM that Windows NT-based OSes like XP and Vista use to run 16-bit apps.

Agreed. It sounds very much like MED-V...without the server side management. I was just about to being test MED-V (and MDOP), but now with this coming down the pike, I may hold off.

Because it is, but like it was said, without the server side parts. The idea and probably the chunks of the code are the same.

LeoKesler said,
One simple question: Am I able to play D3D / opengl games with "Windows XP Mode" ?

At a guess it's targeted at business users, so like any previous versions of virtual PC, no hardware accelerated 3d.

But here's hoping I'm wrong :)
Though I'd want it for older things than punkbuster. punkbuster just needs to fix their £#^#£% #%^£# code.

LeoKesler said,
One simple question: Am I able to play D3D / opengl games with "Windows XP Mode" ?

Why would you need to? There are very very few games that work with XP and not Vista.

MioTheGreat said,
Why would you need to? There are very very few games that work with XP and not Vista.

This would be for the really old games that may of never been updated for Vista. I'm sure they thought of everything on this. Keep in mind that XVM is based on Virtual-PC but isn't it. Afterall VPC doesn't support integrating to the desktop.

Nice, looks like I will be investing in either Professional or Ultimate version (here's hoping they will be available cheaply for student in 2010 :D)

But where's my nice alternate interface surprise?

Doesn't look as though it's coming, not really suprised as it would have needed a lot of testing. Still possible that they'll add a new theme I guess as that could be added any time and doesn't really need testing as such, same as the rumored Snow Leapard theme revamp.