In a previous article we talked about the requirements and installation procedure of Windows XP Mode. Now it is time to show you how to actually work with it. I will start with where to find Windows XP Mode, continue with how to use it's interface and finish with how to run an Windows XP application directly from Windows 7. Also, I'll be showing how to work with USB devices in Windows XP Mode.
Where to Find Windows XP Mode
After you install Windows XP Mode, you can find it in Start Menu -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode or you can search for 'xp mode' in the Start Menu's search box and click on the appropriate search result.
How to Work with the Windows XP Mode Interface
When you open Windows XP Mode, you will see the default appearance and features of Windows XP and a top menu with a few buttons: Action, USB, Tools, Ctrl+Alt+Del and Help.
The Action button will allow you to view in full screen Windows XP Mode, to Close, set to Sleep or Restart the virtual machine. The USB button allows you to access USB devices while the Tools button gives you access to the Windows Virtual PC settings.
The last two buttons are self-explanatory, Ctr+Alt+Del can be used to Lock the virtual machine, Log Off, Shut Down, Change Password and launch the Task Manager.
The Help button will show you local and online help resources.
How to View Full Screen Windows XP Mode
In order to view Windows XP Mode in full screen, click on the Action button from the top menu and select 'View Full Screen'.
In a few seconds, Windows XP Mode will automatically adapt to your screen resolution allowing you to use Windows XP exactly like you would in a non-virtual environment.
The top menu will still be available with a few extra options. You can hide the menu if you click on the small pin icon, you can switch to the Windows 7 desktop if you click on the Minimize icon, you can revert to the default window size or you can close Windows XP Mode.
How to Sleep, Restart or Close Windows XP Mode
To make Windows XP Mode Sleep, Restart or Close, click on the Action button from the top menu and select the option that you want. The Close option will cause Windows XP to hibernate.
How to Access an USB Device from Windows XP Mode
First, you have to physically plugin your USB device. Then, click on the USB button from the top menu to see all the devices that are connected to your PC through an USB port.
For example, I have a flash memory stick attached to my PC. As you can see, the item has the attribute Shared. This means that the device is shared between Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode using the integration features. Click on it to disconnect it from Windows 7 and to attach it to Windows XP Mode.
A new window will pop-up asking if you want to continue attaching the device to the virtual machine. Click on Yes.
In a few seconds the flash memory stick will be visible and accessible from My Computer in Windows XP Mode.
Now, if you want to make the USB stick available to Windows 7 again, click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode and click on the Mass Storage Device option. This time the attribute of the USB stick will be Release. In a second the USB stick will disappear from Windows XP Mode and will appear in Windows 7.
You can also attach USB devices that are not shared by the integration features, like an USB webcam. Just like in the previous case, plug the USB device in the USB port of your PC and click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode. There you will see an Unidentified Device with the attribute Attach. Click on this Unidentified Device to make it available in Windows XP Mode.
In a few seconds the USB device, in my case a web camera, will be accessible from My Computer in Windows XP Mode.
To make the USB device available for Windows 7 click on the USB button from the top menu of Windows XP Mode and then click on the device which now will have the attribute Release. Also, you can simply close Windows XP Mode, for the same result.
How to Access Applications Installed in Windows XP Mode
A great feature of Windows XP Mode is that you can launch applications installed in this mode, directly from the Windows 7 Start Menu. This is helpful when you have to use old software which has no support for Windows 7.
First you need to install the application in Windows XP Mode, exactly like you would on a Windows XP system. Just start Windows XP Mode, run the setup file and install it with the options you want. I choose for demonstration purposes only, Yahoo Messenger (version 6).
To launch the Windows XP application from Windows 7 you have to Log Off and then Close the Windows XP Mode.
Now you can use the instant search from the Start Menu to search for the application or you can browse to Start Menu -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode Applications an select the application that you want to run.
If you receive a warning about Windows XP Mode that was closed with a user logged in, click on Continue. In a few seconds the application will start.
To easily access an application, you can create a shortcut on the Desktop or pin it to the Start Menu or the Taskbar.
Working with Windows XP Mode is really easy and the fact that you can launch applications directly from the Windows 7 Start Menu is a great feature which leads to better usability. If you have some useful tips & tricks about Windows XP Mode, don't hesitate to leave a comment.