Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a MacBook Pro and I've run VMware Fusion's unity mode and Parallels' cohesion mode along side the Mac OS X, and both work pretty seamlessly. I figured XP Mode in Windows 7 would be something similar, but I then learned my machine requires hardware virtualization support, which it does not have.

My machine is an HP dc7800. That's a dual core 2.2GHz machine with 4GBs of RAM. Certainly it has the horsepower to run a virtual environment alongside the primary OS.

I'm wondering:

1) Why Microsoft decided to make hardware virtualization a requirement


2) What am I missing? Is the experience similar to Parallel's cohesion mode / Fusion's unity mode?


share|improve this question
Ill try running the image in Virtual Box and let you know – Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 6:43
It's nagging about permissions, but it does recognize it as a normal virtual hard disk. So I would suggest trying out Virtual Box (or whatever) to load it up. – Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 6:58
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can run SecurAble to determine if your machine has hardware Virtualization capabilities.

alt text

If your computer does not have that green tick then XP mode shouldn't work. You also require some extra resources to virtualize stuff as well.

Excerpt from GRC:

• How does Hardware Virtualization help with security?

“Virtual Machine” technology is used to create fully contained environments that can be used to insulate the real hosting operating system from any actions taken by software running within the “virtual” environment. Although this security benefiting virtual machine technology has been used for many years, its widespread adoption has been slowed down by the significant performance overhead imposed by software emulation of the virtual environment. Intel's and AMD's native hardware support for virtual machines means that virtually all of this emulation overhead can be eliminated from both the host and virtual environments. This makes the use of virtual machines for security containment much more practical.*

The second benefit of hardware support is that even malicious software running with maximum privileges in the system's kernel is unable to escape from virtual containment. Thus, hardware support for virtual machine technology introduces the possibility of creating a “hypervisor” to operate at a hardware-enforced level below the operating system “supervisor” which opens many exciting possibilities for further enhancing the system's security. It will likely be several years before these capabilities are offered natively within Windows, but we might expect to see third-party security software publishers taking advantage of these features in the near future.

To answer your questions:

1. From reading this I guess it requires HV due to security purposes.

2. Well if your missing HV then it isn't going to work.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, that's the answer I was looking for. I do wish I could get it running without HV, even if it means a slightly riskier environment and slower PC, but knowing the reasons now helps me get over it. :) – Ken Pespisa Jul 31 '09 at 2:18
hardware virtualization no longer required… – steampowered Oct 9 '11 at 13:41

Hardware virtualization is no longer a requirement. For more info click here.

(Haven't tried it, since my machine does support Hardware virtualization)

share|improve this answer
this is the correct answer! – tonyr roth Apr 2 '10 at 14:30

Windows 7's XP mode actually only consists of the license, I believe; you can run the hard disk in another VM solution. It recomends a specific version of Microsoft Virtual PC (big surprise!), which requires hardware virtualization. I do not know why this is required, but this article explains the UI well:

share|improve this answer
It recommends a specific version of Microsoft Virtual PC because said version was supposed to be on Windows Update... so was XP Mode. However, seeing as both are still a Release Candidate, they haven't been pushed to Windows Update yet. – Powerlord Sep 21 '09 at 13:28
  1. Because XP-mode is based on VirtualPC

  2. Yes, it's look like Unity from Fusion/VMware Workstation, but apps available from host system start menu and etc. Apps looks like not virtualized

share|improve this answer

Not really an answer to your question, but have you downloaded the XP Mode VHD?

You could just load it into VMWare probably and run it from there, at least it saves you the trouble of creating your own installation.

I'm verifying if it's possible right now

It seems I don't have permission to use the VHD in anything else than Virtual PC, so I guess you'll have to resort to creating your own Windows XP VHD for VMWare :-(

share|improve this answer

Not an answer - but I figured out how to manually hack my bios to enable hardware virtualization because I have a Sony Vaio, and Sony turn off Hardware virtualization, even though the hardware is capable of this - just a bios flag!

Perhaps instead of trying to figure out why MS made this a requirement. Might be time to find some google posts on manually applying a BIOS hack for your model of notebook, and enjoy the benefits of hardware virtualization.

In your case though - HP dc7800, seems like your system actively supports VT.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .