• I am running Parallels Desktop 5.0.9344 for Mac.
  • I am running Mac OS 10.6.3 10D2094
  • I have bought a retail copy of Windows 7 professional specifically because I need the XP compatibility.
  • Windows 7 is installed and working.
  • I have problems with the XP activation

Windows7 'Virtual PC' does not run under Parallels (strange error about Server Execution failed 0x80080005).

I have used the Parallels Transporter to convert the "Windows XP Mode Base.vhd" file into a parallels Virtual Machine. This copy of XP now starts normally, however it records itself as unregistered. There was a KEY.txt file in the same directory as the .vhd file; although this file contains a valid-looking activation key, it does not appear to activate the instance of XP. I have also tried to enter the Windows 7 activation key; this does not work either.

I have tried calling the two phone numbers; an automated system asked me to enter 56 digits through the telephone and then accused me of being a pirate.

I believe it may be possible to install Windows 7 via Bootcamp, start Windows XP under Virtual PC, activate it and then import this activated .vhd into Parallels; but that seems a long way round, and is far from certain.

What can I do to get Windows XP running under Mac Parallels Desktop ?

  • Personally I would be leery of trying to run what amounts to a virtual machine inside a virtual machine. And while it is not a solution to your problem, you can still buy XP. If all you need is XP on your box, that would be a better way to go. – Peter M May 8 '10 at 20:53
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    Parallels 5 doesn't support hardware virtualisation. Virtual PC requires hardware virtualisation. Therefore it is not possible to run XP compatibility under Win7 Virtual PC under Parallels. Therefore I am attempting to run the XP compatibility as a Parallels Virtual Machine. It works - but it refuses all the activation keys I have – Ben Hammond May 8 '10 at 22:12

The XP Mode VHD will only accept that key if it's running in a Windows 7 version of Virtual PC. It will not take that key otherwise. Also the license does not entitle you to run the XP Mode VHD from anything else (just in case you're thinking about asking for a way around this little 'feature').

You can still use a valid XP Retail key to activate Windows however.

  • My understanding is that the license entitles me to a 'downgrade'. Running WinXP off a Win7 license surely counts as a downgrade. I'd be quite annoyed if, having spend 150GBP on a retail copy of Win7 Professional specifically because of the XP compatibility, M$ demanded more cash. – Ben Hammond May 8 '10 at 22:17
  • Where is the best place to pick up an XP retail key (give that its EOL), and how much would you expect to pay for one. – Ben Hammond May 8 '10 at 22:17
  • If you have Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, you're entitled to downgrade, the other editions are explicitly not. If you have Prof or Ult, just call MS licensing and they'll get you a XP key. Best place to buy XP: google.com/products?q=windows+xp – Chris S May 9 '10 at 14:49
  • Thanks for the help. I gave up on Parallels and used BootCamp instead. Its a pain not being able to switch back to MacOS without rebooting, but it seems the most responsive way to run Win7 and XP together. Had I known this beforehand I would not have bothered to buy a Parallels license. – Ben Hammond Jun 5 '10 at 17:43

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