Redmond-based software giant Microsoft made available the release candidate flavor of Windows 7’s XP Mode add-on on Tuesday. The beta iteration of XP Mode was released on May 6, along with the beta variant of Windows Virtual PC, and the RC version comes as another step the company is taking towards launching the final iteration of the add-on. The new flavor has been designed to work both on the Windows 7 Release Candidate and on final Windows 7 RTM variants.
When available, starting October 22, Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate will run the final version of XP Mode, as Microsoft plans on releasing it around the same time. The new RC iteration includes a copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3, 450 MB in size, along with a Windows Virtual PC file of 5 MB. The XP Mode enables Windows 7 users to run Windows XP applications on Windows 7, and has been designed mainly for small/mid-size business users.
Scott Woodgate, director of Windows Enterprise and Virtualization Strategy, ZDNet reports, showed the tweaks Microsoft included in the new RC flavor of the add-on, such as an easier way to access devices from XP Mode, including USB drives or printers. The process now features fewer steps, and clicking on the Windows 7 icon will enable users to add devices. At the same time, there is a better integration with Windows 7.
Another new feature that XP Mode RC comes with is “Turn off and discard changes,” which will appear when turning off a virtual machine in case the Undo disk option is enabled. In addition, a Windows XP Mode RC tutorial has also been included in the package, and it will run during the setup process of the XP Mode. File sharing between XP Mode and Windows 7 has been improved as well.
Interestingly enough, it seems that Microsoft also made up its mind when it comes to the pricing of XP Mode. According to ZDNet, the software giant said the following in this regard: “Customers purchasing the Pro/Ultimate and Enterprise SKUs will get access to Windows XP Mode as part of their purchase. If someone has a valid license of XP to run in VMs, then they can just use that license instead of Windows XP mode. We do provide a RAIL QFE for Windows XP SP3 to have the integration features with Windows Virtual PC. (RAIL QFE are the integration components required for XP and Vista virtual machines to run corresponding apps on the Win7 desktop. XP Mode already has the RAIL QFEs installed and Win7 has them natively).”
Download Windows 7 XP Mode RC and Virtual PC RC List: