Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Virtual machines allow you to run multiple operating systems on one computer. There are several software packages that will help you get started.
Can I run Windows XP on my new computer with Windows 7?
In this excerpt from Answercast #48, I look at virtual machines as a way to run XP inside of another operating system.
The short answer is yes.
There are actually a couple of different ways to do that. The technology that I recommend is what's called a "virtual machine."
What a virtual machine allows you to do is:
Run (in a window) a simulation of a separate computer.
So, you have this other program:
That sets up a simulation of a standalone PC...
Then, on that simulated PC, you can install whatever operating system you like.
So, for example, on my Mac, I run a software called Parallels. Parallels allows me to install Windows (in this case, Windows 7) on my Mac in addition to (or underneath, if you will,) the Mac operating system.
That means that I can open up a Window on my Mac and sure enough:
The same thing can happen on a PC. I do it heavily. I have a Windows 7 machine and I have several virtual machines set up on that computer that allow me to, when I want to:
Run Windows XP;
Run Windows Vista;
Run a different version of Windows 7.
I can even run Ubuntu Linux;
Or anything else that would install and run on a normal PC.
So, virtual machine is the technology.
If you want a general-purpose solution, I personally recommend Parallels. But I know that there are other solutions out there. At least one of which is free, and I think it's called Virtual Box from Oracle.
The other solution is:
If you are running Windows 7 Pro version or better (this is not available for the Home or other editions like that. It's on Pro or Ultimate or whatever's better than Pro);
You have the option of downloading from Microsoft, something called XP mode.
Now all that XP mode is, is exactly what I just described:
It's a virtual machine.
In this case, it's a virtual machine that comes pre-configured to run Windows XP.
So what you'll do is you'll download it, you'll install it, and when you run it, up will come a copy of Windows XP that you can then configure to your heart's content.
It's a virtual machine;
It runs in a window;
It's separate from your Windows 7.
You can share files between the two.
They have a copy/paste enabled between the two; but it really is like having a completely separate machine that happens to be running Windows XP.
I have a couple articles I want to point you at.
That discusses the whole concept I just mentioned about virtual machines in general.
This is an article I wrote not long after Windows 7 came out when people were concerned about losing Outlook Express.
"XP mode" is a way to get Windows XP on your machine at the same time as Windows 7 is running.
And yes! It's Windows XP. It actually comes with Outlook Express.
I don't recommend Outlook Express for other reasons, so I don't want to make
that a red herring here, but the fact is Windows XP is available to the users
of Windows 7 Pro or better as a free download.
Next from Answercast 48 - What's the difference between an image backup and a files and folder backup?
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