By Harry McCracken | Friday, October 2, 2009 at 12:22 am
Over at ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley reports that Microsoft has finished up Windows XP mode, the Windows 7 feature that lets you run programs that are incompatible with Win 7 in a window that’s really a virtualized copy of Windows XP. Windows XP mode isn’t quite a feature: It’s an optional 350MB download that requires Microsoft’s Virtual PC and only works with Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Yes,the end result is similar to what you can already get via VMWare or Parallels (or Virtual PC), but if you buy one of the qualifying versions of Win 7, XP mode doesn’t require you to pay for virtualization software or a copy of XP.
I have a hunch that Microsoft devised it as much to provide cautious business customers with a security blanket as because it think that XP mode will be widely used. For every company that actually uses it, there will probably be several who are a little more likely to make the leap to Win 7 sooner rather than later because they know it’s available if they need it.