April 30, 2009 is not only synonymous with the broadening of the Windows 7 Release Candidate testing pool, but also with the delivery of additional features for the RC development milestone. MSDN and TechNet subscribers not only got the fully-fledged Windows 7 RC Build 7100 bits today, but also the Beta builds of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC. The two releases are designed to work in tandem, in order to provide Windows 7 customers with 100% compatibility with Windows XP-centric applications. What Microsoft is essentially offering is a virtualized XP environment running in Windows Virtual PC.
“Windows XP Mode standalone is suitable for small and medium business users, who are able to set their XP applications themselves and may or may not have IT Professional staff. Each PC has its own virtual Windows XP environment that is controlled and managed by the end user. Windows XP Mode standalone is not designed for large, centrally managed deployments that have widely deployed business applications that require Windows XP,” explained Scott Woodgate, director of product management for Windows Enterprise & Virtualization Strategy at Microsoft.
MSDN and TechNet subscribers are now able to download the 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows Virtual PC Beta in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. By comparison, both the x86 and x64 versions of Windows XP Mode come only in English. Windows XP Mode is designed to run on top of the Ultimate, Enterprise and Professional SKUs of Windows 7, and require machines powered by processors capable of hardware virtualization, with AMD-V or Intel VT turned on in the BIOS.
“Windows Virtual PC (Beta) is the latest Microsoft virtualization technology that allows you to run many productivity applications on a virtual Windows environment, with a single click, directly from a Windows 7-based PC,” the Redmond-based company revealed in the solution's description. “Microsoft has added several new features to Windows Virtual PC to make it easy to use and to help you run many older Windows XP applications in Windows 7. Easy setup of Window XP Mode; one click launch of Windows XP Mode applications; USB support,” the software giant added on the official Windows Virtual PC website.