How to run Windows XP under Windows Vista
John has got a computer at home. He purchases sound
card from some shop and plugs it in his computer. It
works fine in his existing operating system environment
of Windows XP. One day, John decides to upgrade the
operating system itself to Windows Vista. He goes to
the shop and purchases Windows Vista and installs in
his computer. After installing the new Windows Vista,
he finds that his sound card is not working properly,
meaning that it is not producing sound at all! What
might be the problem? Is it the problem with the sound
Solve hardware incompatibility
In the above John problem, the answer is clear. Because,
the sound card worked fine with Windows XP, no one can
expect anything wrong with the sound card. Then, what
is wrong? Is it the problem of Windows Vista?
ne thing is clear, that is, if it worked fine with
Windows XP, then it must be the problem with the driver
software of the sound card. The driver software is a
small program developed by the manufacturers to detect
and enable the services of external or internal add-on
Whenever one installs a new operating system, the entire
environment will be changed which in turn affects the
existing driver performance. This problem is common,
and is often known as problem of incompatibility. One
can solve these kinds of problems by installing new
set of device drivers for the operating systems.
Normally, some manufacturers develop and release the
new drivers whenever new operating system is being released.
If not, the customers have to have old operating systems
along with the new one in a single computer. Likewise,
one should have old operating systems to solve the problem
of incompatibility among the applications also. The
Application program which was working fine in Windows
XP may not run at all in Windows Vista, because Windows
Vista is next higher version than Windows XP.
Dual booting is a slow process
One can make Windows XP and Windows Vista dual boot
in a system. But, the dual booting process will be a
slow process. One may take minutes together to switch
from one operating system to another. In order to work
faster without the option of dual booting, it is better
to make use of a conceptual program called as Virtual
The virtual PC is a program, which allows running
operating system within an operating system. The main
operating system which allows running other one within
it is called as the host operating system.
The operating system which is running within the host
operating system is termed as guest operating system.
One can run Windows XP within Windows Vista by setting
up Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista. Here, Windows XP
is termed as guest to Windows Vista, which acts as host
Run Windows XP under Windows Vista
To run Windows XP within Windows Vista, you need to
have RAM capacity to run host and the guest operating
systems. For example, if Windows Vista needs 1 GB and
Windows XP needs 256 MB, then, you must provide 1 GB
and 256 MB of RAM in the system to run using Virtual
Adding to this, one must also take into account, the
amount of RAM which is needed to run Virtual PC. This
is a serious, major drawback of operating systems running
through Virtual PC, when compared with dual boot option.
Virtual PC mode
Now, let us see, how to setup and run Windows XP in
Windows Vista through Virtual PC. But, before that,
let me present you the required things in the system
to run Windows XP within the Windows Vista environment.
The required things are,
- A computer system with,
- Memory capacity to run Vista, Virtual PC 2007
and Windows XP,
- Hard disk capacity to hold Vista, Virtual PC
2007, Windows XP files,
- Internet connectivity to download Virtual PC
- Windows XP setup disk with a license,
- Total time of about an hour, which depends on how
fast the computer is.
Virtual PC 2007 is best suited for home users
Today, other Virtualization softwares other than Virtual
PC 2007 are made available in the internet. These softwares
are better and faster than Virtual PC. The claims may
be true, but, the virtual PC is free for use, which
is cheap for home user. Virtual PC 2007 is best suited
for home users who often love to conduct experiments
in their home PC’s.
Create a new XP Virtual Machine first
One word of caution goes here. The PC functions slower
in Virtual PC software, if the processor speed is low
or, and the memory capacity is low.
One needs to create a new XP Virtual Machine first,
before start running Windows XP in Windows Vista. After
getting the Virtual PC 2007 downloaded and installed
in the Windows Vista computer, one can create a new
virtual Machine for XP by choosing "New Virtual
Machine Wizard" from the Virtual PC’s Action
In the VM Wizard, first, you will be prompted with
the total amount of RAM to be allocated for running
Windows XP virtual machine and also prompted to setup
a new Virtual Hard drive with the size that XP will
store its data.
Configuring RAM in Virtual Machine Wizard
Configuring Virtual Hard disk in Virtual Machine wizard
Once the wizard configures the RAM and Virtual Hard
disk, one can now continue to setup Windows XP. You
need to run the setup from within the Virtual PC.
Virtual PC console
lick start button to run Windows XP setup from Virtual
Windows XP setup screen from Virtual PC 2007
Follow the on screen installation instructions to continue
with setup. You will be prompted to format the new partition
which will be the virtual hard drive.
Windows XP - guest to Windows Vista
One will be prompted to set the date and the regional
settings in Windows XP which act as the guest to Windows
Vista. When one clicks inside the XP virtual machine
window for the first time, Virtual PC attempts to capture
the mouse pointer. Once captured, mouse pointer lays
inside the Virtual Machine.
After this process, one will not be able to move the
mouse pointer outside the Virtual Machine window, unless
the special key (Right-alt, by default) is pressed.
We can change the special key combination. This is a
bit troubling for new users. One can expect XP ready
to be used within half an hour, if the computer configuration
Once the setup gets over, Windows XP reboots in the
Virtual Machine Window and starts running inside Windows
Vista as shown below.
Windows XP running inside Windows Vista
Install virtual machine additions
Now, be sure to install virtual machine additions,
before changing the settings and properties of Virtual
machine. One needs to install these additions, in order
to get additional features like sharing the mouse and
folders between the guest and the host operating systems.
One can install these additions by selecting “Install
or Update Virtual machine additions” from Action
menu, by starting up the Windows XP Virtual Machine.
The virtual machine then installs selected additions
and reboots the Virtual Machine.
Once the virtual machine additions are installed, one
will be able move the mouse pointer within Windows Vista
and also within Windows XP without the need to press
Right Alt key (Special Key). Added to this, one will
be able to share folders between the host PC and the
Use Windows XP inside Windows Vista
Once it is done, one can use Windows XP inside Windows
Vista, in case, the installed hardware is outdated,
or application program is having problems in Windows
Alternative to the dual boot option
The Virtual PC 2007 acts as an alternative to the
dual boot option, which is slow when compared with Virtual
PC option. However, one may need to have high configuration
in their systems to ensure that the Virtual PC software
along with the guest and host OS works together smoothly,
without any trouble.
What ever the problems, mistakes, Windows Vista will
be the new feature rich, possibly strongest in security,
among the operating systems, that we saw till date.
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