does Windows 7 come with something like Virtual PC built in?

I have an i7 which is suppose to be great with virtualization and I wanted to try it out. Is there a specific app I should get that takes advantage of a 64-bit OS?



You can download Virtual PC - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/ which now has Windows XP mode built in to it so that it is very easy to virtualise. Only down side is that it is only at RC stage so it may change.

Personally, I still prefer VMware Workstation! http://www.vmware.com/products/ws/ However, Virtual pc is free!

  • 4
    Windows Virtual PC does not have Windows XP Mode built in, it is a separate download. Also, you need to be sure to get Windows Virtual PC, not Virtual PC 2007. – Scott Dorman Aug 12 '09 at 14:50

No, Windows 7 does not provide built-in support for running virtual machines. It does have built-in support for mounting Virtual PC disk files (.vhd) but that only allows you to treat them as data drives.

What you are looking for is the Windows Virtual PC offering. Virtual PC 2007 will still run on Windows 7, but doesn't have all of the features of Windows Virtual PC.

Windows Virtual PC does require hardware virtualization support, which you should have, and allows you to create and run virtual images. Windows XP mode is a separate product download (and requires Windows Virtual PC) that allows you to run a virtual and seamless Windows XP environment for legacy applications. You don't need to install Windows XP mode if you just want to create and run virutal machines.

You can also use VMWare (which is not free) and Sun's VirtualBox (which is free). Both of these will use hardware virtualization if present, but don't require it like Windows Virtual PC. I currently use VirtualBox since my current machine doesn't support hardware virtualization.

  • Actually Windows 7 does support the ability to Boot the machine from a VHD. So really you can use them as both a data drive and a boot disk. It's not virtualization since it runs on the bare hardware so you get the full performance of the machine when booting from VHDs. – Chris Pietschmann Aug 16 '09 at 6:29
  • @Chris Pietschmann: It does, but not "out of the box". There are several manual steps that you must go through, including editing the bcd data. The only support "out of the box" is to mount a .vhd as a data drive. – Scott Dorman Aug 20 '09 at 4:14

it supports .vhd files by default, take a look here http://www.hanselman.com/blog/LessVirtualMoreMachineWindows7AndTheMagicOfBootToVHD.aspx

and a video demonstration here :http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=80EDE31D-3509-407B-A896-0BEEA8705589&displaylang=en

  • This is incorrect. It only supports .vhd files in Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate. – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 12 '09 at 14:48
  • sorry, I didn't know about that, I'm using win7 RC so I didn't notice – user3864 Aug 12 '09 at 15:03
  • Please expand your answer more, link only answers are discouraged. – studiohack May 3 '11 at 23:49

Just for the sake of completeness, I'd like to recommend the use of VirtualBox:


No, Windows 7 does not come with a Virtual Machine built-in. There's still a plethora of free and good VMs to download though, such as Virtual PC or VirtualBox.

There is also the Virtual XP Mode which runs on the same backend as Virtual PC with some added niceties. However, it has to be downloaded separately.

Also Windows 7 includes the option to directly boot from VHD files (which is what Virtual PC uses and VirtualBox can use as the format for virtual hard disks).

  • Windows 7 includes the ability to mount .vhd files "out of the box" but there are several manual steps you must go through to boot from a .vhd. – Scott Dorman Aug 12 '09 at 14:49


But you have few options

WinXP mode

  • licensed copy of Windows XP SP3
  • based on Virtual PC
  • application runs via Terminal Services
  • not included at installation disk

MS Virtual PC

  • free

VMware Workstation - my recommendation

  • around 190 USD
  • 2 screen support
  • great performance But you can using VirtualPC (free) or other VM software.
  • Windows XP Mode is for Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate only. – Daniel A. White Aug 12 '09 at 14:26
  • Also it's not installed by default but rather a separate download. – Joey Aug 12 '09 at 14:28
  • But it is only licensed for Windows 7. – Daniel A. White Aug 12 '09 at 14:34
  • Windows XP Mode is not built in to Windows 7. You have to download Windows Virtual PC (not VPC 2007) and Windows XP Mode separately. – Scott Dorman Aug 12 '09 at 14:52

You need to download the XP Mode RC.


Windows 7 will come with a built-in virtualization of Windows XP called XP Mode. This should allow you to run some programs which may not work properly with newer versions of Windows.

As MicTech has eluded to, you can also download VirtualPC (or any other virtualization software) as well to give you more options.

  • Not for most people, it won't. Only for Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate. – ChrisInEdmonton Aug 12 '09 at 14:47
  • 1
    Windows XP Mode is not built in to Windows 7. You have to download Windows Virtual PC (not VPC 2007) and Windows XP Mode separately. – Scott Dorman Aug 12 '09 at 14:52

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