Windows XP Mode Release Candidate is publically available today at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

Since the beta release of Windows XP Mode, several updates have been made responding to user feedback. These changes reflect Microsoft’s goal to increase ease of use for users, increase flexibility for the IT pro, and ensure Windows 7 retains high level of security when using Windows XP Mode.  The following features are new:

  • Create virtualization technology and bios check tool to allow OEMs to check for platform readiness for Windows XP Mode
  • Incorporate the tool into Windows Upgrade Advisor (WUA) to allow typical users to see if their PCs can run Windows XP Mode and if they need additional steps to achieve this goal
  • Tutorial on how to use Windows XP Mode when setting it up for the first time on the PC
  • Configurable path for differencing disk for Windows XP Mode (instead of mandate a location), which provides flexibility for IT pros
  • Option to allow drive sharing between  Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode at the setup
  • More granular sharing options available for IT pro (e.g. map specific folders) 

Small and Medium Businesses Information:

As part of our broader virtualization strategy, we’re focused on providing the right tools to help customers maximize productivity, manage their technology infrastructure and total cost of ownership.

Microsoft is committed to providing a smooth transition as its customers move to Windows 7. Microsoft knows many of its SMB customers will be moving from XP and will require the flexibility to run older applications.

Windows XP Mode allows Windows 7 Pro users to run many Windows XP productivity applications. 

Ease of use: Microsoft recognizes time is precious for its small-business customers and have made Windows XP Mode easy to use. Utilizing Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP applications can be launched with a single click directly from the Windows 7 desktop. 

Business continuity: In addition to enabling customers to run Windows XP applications virtually on their Windows 7-based PC, Windows XP Mode also supports many Windows XP devices, for instance, those connected via USB.

Cost management: VPC7 extends the life of existing Windows XP applications and devices and reduces the learning curve by using many familiar applications and devices.

The Windows XP Mode feature is specifically designed to help small businesses still using older XP applications move to Windows 7 with no interruption to productivity. 

IT Pros/ Enterprise Specifics:

Windows XP Mode allows Windows 7 Pro users to run many Windows XP productivity applications. 

  • Utilizing Windows Virtual PC, these applications can be launched with a single click directly from the Windows 7 desktop. 
  • Windows XP mode uses Windows Virtual PC which has USB support and support for multi threading. 
  • Windows 7 Virtual PC is designed for small business users with unmanaged PCs.

IT professionals can reduce the cost of deploying and managing virtual Windows environments by using Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) which is part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. This allows IT professionals to:

o Deploy: deliver virtual Windows images and allow users to customize them.

o Provision: define which applications and websites are available to end users

o Control: authenticate users, assign and expire permissions, and restrict Virtual PC settings.

o Maintain and Support: update images, centrally monitor users and remotely troubleshoot.