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Microsoft Provides Guidance on Windows XP Mode

Resources designed to help with Windows 7 desktop virtualization.

Third-party vendors are eyeing revenue possibilities around Windows 7 desktop virtualization and hoping to reach out to Microsoft partners to get their customers. For partners trying to figure out which pitches -- if any -- are best, a solid understanding of the underlying technology in Windows 7 would help.

Some resources released by Microsoft in late October for IT pros could be just the ticket. Designed for IT pros planning to use the new desktop virtualization solution in Windows 7 known as "Windows XP Mode," the resources are available as a free download and include installation instructions and release notes, plus a guide for deploying XP Mode and scripts. In addition, Microsoft produced a video that illustrates how to deploy XP Mode in corporate environments and walk-through guides showing how to customize XP Mode in a step-by-step process, written by Microsoft MVP Shawn Brink.

Microsoft describes XP Mode as useful for smaller organizations, allowing them to switch to the Window 7OS while continuing to run legacy Windows XP-based applications. For larger organizations that need centralized management of multiple PCs, Microsoft recommends using its Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization app, or MED-V, which is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

Microsoft just released MDOP 2009 R2 for Windows 7. Software Assurance licensing is required to use MDOP tools, although TechNet and MSDN subscribers can evaluate it without additional cost. The new MDOP release includes MED-V 1.0, and Microsoft expects to release a beta of MED-V 1.0 SP 1 by year's end, with the final SP1 version expected in "the first quarter of calendar year 2010," according to Microsoft's MDOP blog.

XP Mode works in conjunction with the Windows Virtual PC runtime engine and it only works with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions. End users running XP Mode will get a complete XP SP3 desktop environment, which runs on top of the Windows 7 desktop. XP Mode only supports the 32-bit version of XP SP3.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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