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Running Windows XP in VMWare, how should activation be handled?

Last time I did this, I do not remember having to do any activation. Now it is asking me to activate Windows XP.

Am I suppose to buy and use a real WinXP key?

What is this about a "Windows XP Mode" I'm hearing about that you can enable in VMware to activate it?

The availability of Windows XP Mode is equivalent to a free license to Windows XP operating system.

My host machine runs Win7.

My goal is to get WinXP running in VMWare the simplest way, but this activation is giving me issues (such as that WinXP doesn't seem to be sold anymore). I Googled around and found that VMWare has a xpmode.enabled = "TRUE" feature which instantly activates Windows XP (with limits, like only once), but I do not know anything about it or how to use it.

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Windows XP Mode is a Windows 7 feature and is not related to VMware. – iglvzx Apr 15 '12 at 4:58… mentions VMWare – Zeno Apr 15 '12 at 4:59
You are only licensed to use "XP Mode" if you own certain versions of Windows 7. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 15 '12 at 5:01
@techie007 I'm running Win7 Pro 64bit – Zeno Apr 15 '12 at 5:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Short answer, yes, you need a valid license and activation for each copy of Windows you intend on using. Real machine or VM, doesn't matter.

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Is WinXP still sold today? – Zeno Apr 15 '12 at 4:54
Not really, no. If you call Microsoft they will do everything in their power to help ensure you are 'legit'. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 15 '12 at 4:57

As noted above: Windows XP mode is a feature of Windows 7. It is essential an XP VM, designed to be run by Microsoft Virtual PC.

VMWare enters into the picture with their support to load this XP VM into VMWare workstation/player, etc. The line xpmode.enabled = TRUE is from the .vmx configuration file that defines a VMWare VM.

A blog that appears to have pretty good step-by-step instructions for the whole thing is here:

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