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In the past, people using Windows Vista could run into the problem that their Windows XP applications would not run on the new operating system. Given that Windows 7 Ultimate and later versions of Windows are advertised as including support for Windows XP applications, I was wondering just how easy or how compatible such systems are with older Windows XP applications and whether there are any issues or whether such applications work as a charm on the newer Windows systems.


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And the same problem can occur in Windows 7. Support isn't full, Microsoft just tries to make most programs work. This being said, I rarely see any program that fails to run on Windows 7, even without compatibility mode, unless it is very (+10 years) old. – Doktoro Reichard Nov 23 '13 at 1:33
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows 7 Ultimate, along with Professional and Enterprise, support a feature called Windows XP Mode. This is a fully-functional version of Windows XP, running as a virtual machine on top of Windows 7. That is how full compatibility is achieved: running the XP applications on the operating system for which they were built.

Windows 8 does not support XP mode. I would suspect 8.1 does not either.

(Side note: Enterprise users, this is built on Microsoft's MED-V technology.)

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I see, full Windows XP compatibility is obtained by running a full instance of Windows XP inside Virtual PC which is Microsoft's version of comparable virtualization systems such as VirtualBox, VMWare, and Parallels. Too bad support was removed from Windows 8. I wonder why? I don't see why recompiling Virtual PC to run on Windows 8 wasn't possible. – John Sonderson Nov 23 '13 at 2:32
Even with XP Mode compatibility is not 100%. Although I can only think of 1 application where this was this case. – AthomSfere Nov 23 '13 at 2:40
@John - I suspect it has more to do with killing off XP than some kind of inability to get it to work. Just my opinion though. – Patrick S. Nov 23 '13 at 14:05

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