Windows 7 updates

A flurry of news today:

  • The Windows 7 Release Candidate will be available for download by the public on May 5, with early access for MSDN/TechNet subscribers and beta testers on April 30.
  • The Release Candidate build is officially 7100, but functionally it’s identical to the leaked builds that have been circulating for several weeks. No changes, no new UI.
  • One new feature announced today (I had an early warning about it) is called Windows XP Mode. In a nutshell, when Windows 7 is released to manufacturing Microsoft plans to release an add-on called Windows XP Mode for users of its business versions of Windows 7 that will include a fully licensed copy of Windows XP SP3 running in a virtual machine.

I’m also told that some early reports of Windows XP Mode are inaccurate. I’m still waiting for more details and code. The fact that this add-on isn’t available in the RC suggests it’s still under development and you should be skeptical of any reports you read now.

Update Apr-27: Here’s what I’ve posted in the Windows 7 RC FAQ:

Microsoft has announced that it will release a custom version of Virtual PC with a licensed copy of Windows XP SP3 and make the combination available as a download for licensed users of the business editions of Windows 7 (Professional and up). This add-on, called Windows XP Mode) will not be included with the release candidate, nor will it be part of the final RTM product.

I’ve posted my update on XP Mode at ZDNet today (“Why all the fuss over XP Mode?” Hint: It’s not about tech, it’s about licensing.)

If you want a hands-on look, Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott have a report on an early pre-beta release of the add-on. Those who are interested in the gory technical details can read Rafael Rivera’s breakdown of Windows XP Mode Internals.

13 thoughts on “Windows 7 updates

  1. According to Paul Thurrot, it’s available as a download, so would it even be in the code? “[XPM] will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site.”

    So if that’s true it shouldn’t be in the RC at all.

  2. Virtual PC had basically gone silent for the last year or so, which meant one of two things: (1) the product was getting dropped (2) a skunkworks project.

    Quite a relief to see that it’s (2). Networking has always been more reliable in Virtual PC than in VMware or Virtualbox.

  3. Ed are you positive the April 30th release date for the RC includes the Technical Beta Testers, also???

    I am hoping it does.

  4. I was just curious how the current Vista compability mode works…
    The description of it: “Runs the program using settings from a previous version of Windows. Try this setting if you know the program is designed for (or worked in) a specific previous version of Windows.”

    What exactly does it do to change the settings? I know its not virtulization like the XPM mode but I’m intrigued to know, and am having difficulty finding the answer on the interwebs

  5. “I’m also told that some early reports of Windows XP Mode are inaccurate. I’m still waiting for more details and code. The fact that this add-on isn’t available in the RC suggests it’s still under development and you should be skeptical of any reports you read now”

    Ed – if your reference above was to reports of Mr. Thurrott’s article, well he was bang on. Many bloggers, including your compatriot from ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley has acknowledged Paul Thurrott breaking this news except you. Curious.

    1. My reference was not to what Paul and Rafael wrote. If I had meant to call out anything they wrote, I would have mentioned them by name. There are some inaccuracies floating around in published reports I’ve read. I have a follow-up post scheduled to go live at ZDNet today. I’ve also updated this post with links to their articles and another one that Rafael posted over the weekend.

  6. This is a nice feature, but VMWare and even Virtual PC are bloated. A user would be better off installing VirtualBox to do virtualization.

    Currently, I have a PIII with Linux (TinyME) as the host and 2 virtual machines running on it. One is XP, the is another flavor of Linux. Both are handled very well.

    So if I can do this with an older PIII 800mhz with 768 of RAM, a PIV or higher with 2gb’s would be perfect to run on Windows 7.

    VirtualBox is light weight and easy. There are Linux and Windows versions of it.

    1. Dan, if you follow the link and read my post you will see that I am running XP SP3 in a VirtualBox VM. I even have a screenshot of it.

  7. I am sorry ED.. I was commenting more on

    I didn’t see your post… I am very sorry..

    I just get tired of people thinking Microsoft is so great or the only solution. I am sorry, I get worked up and try to explain to people there are other options besides Microsoft and M$ isn’t the best out there. There are free products that are powerful and light weight that you can do wonderful things with.

    I work as a .NET developer for a large company. So I am forced to use MS products daily, but when I get home, it is 95% Linux. Linux makes sense, Windows doesn’t. Although, Windows has gotten much better since the Win3.1, 9x and NT days, but they charge too much for their stuff. I just don’t think it is worth the $$. I enjoy the benefits of OpenSource. And I not saying Microsoft hasn’t done some good things, they do cater to developers. Their develop tools are great, but expensive.

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