Microsoft thought it would leave Windows XP behind when it launched Vista, but the tide of netbooks has kept the old OS active for far longer than expected. Now, the Windows team have confirmed that Windows 7 will have its own little slice of XP DNA, in the shape of an emulator intended for those with legacy apps. Called Windows XP Mode, it will run as a Virtual PC in the new OS.
The Virtual PC will be more integrated with Windows 7 than many will be used to, with XP Mode accessed not as a separate desktop but on a per-app basis. That is, legacy software is installed within the XP Virtual PC but shows up on the Windows 7 Start Menu; apps run as if native to the new OS, alongside Windows 7 software.
Microsoft will “be soon releasing” the Windows XP Mode beta, together with Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate. That tallies with suggestions that the XP Mode feature will only be available to those with the Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise versions of Windows 7.