Windows® XP Mode provides seamless integration of the VM (guest) with the Windows 7 host desktop, by means of Integration Components (ICs). ICs are a set of binaries which run inside the VM and communicate directly with the host OS. They enable Integration Features like clipboard sharing, printer sharing, file system and drive sharing, Start menu integration and file association with virtual apps. This allows the user to switch freely between the XP VM and Windows 7 desktops and applications. You can run Windows XP Mode as a full Windows XP desktop in two different ways: Enhanced Mode and Basic Mode.
Figure 1. Using XP Mode VM Tool Bar to switch between Basic and Enhanced Modes
Virtual Applications Mode is the third mode – a completely seamless solution to application compatibility. This is the most likely and preferable way to launch and run your virtual applications, as they are seamlessly integrated with the Windows 7 desktop and Start menu. When an application is installed in the Windows XP Mode VM, a shortcut is automatically published to the Start menu of Windows 7, as explained in the previous blog. The key features of using virtual applications are:
Figure 2. Language bar use and System tray integration of virtual applications
Figure 3. Adding a Virtual App (MS Outlook) to the Windows 7 Startup Folder
Here is an overview of how Virtual Applications work, with a reference to the RemoteApp technology. Diagrams presented below are only a logical abstraction:
Figure 4. Architecture of XP Mode Virtual Applications (Right) compared to RemoteApp Architecture (Left)
There are three ways of using a Windows XP Mode VM. Virtual Apps and Enhanced Mode typically are preferred for business desktops. Windows XP Mode is prepared such that its configuration and setup are easy for the user and IT Admin. Joining the XP Mode VM to a network domain and using USB devices also is very easy. We will cover these aspects in the next article. Check out Windows XP Mode RC Build today, and let us know what you think, either via the comments section here, or sharing your feedback on the WVPC and Windows XP Mode Forum on Technet here.
Principal Program Manager
Microsoft Virtualization Team