Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

How to tell whether your machine will support Windows 7 XP Mode (for Intel chips)

How to tell whether your machine will support Windows 7 XP Mode (for Intel chips)

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As you may well have heard, Windows 7 will include an XP mode which allows you to run legacy applications in a virtual machine seamlessly. You also may be aware that the virtualisation technology used for XP Mode requires that the chipset supports virtualisation at the hardware level. So if your chipset doesn’t support it, you won’t be able to use XP mode on Windows 7.

So how can you tell? Well, one way is to inspect your bios to see if it has a hardware virtualisation option but if you’re using an Intel chip then there’s an easier way. Intel have provided a little utility that you can download from their site that will tell you. Get it from here: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?ProductID=1881&DwnldID=7838

Once you have installed it, click on the “CPU Technologies” tab and take a look at the “Virtualization Technology” setting. If it’s “yes” you’re in business.

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  • Can I point out that this information is not correct for Sony laptops. I have a Sony VGN-AR71ZU laptop with a Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz processor. The Intel tool shows Intel Virtualization Technology - YES but XP mode does not run because Sony (in their infinite wizdom) have disabled it in their BIOS!!! Apparently they dont's support more than one processor core! What about allowing me to use the processor I have actually paid for?

    The only way to get it working is to download some rather dodgy tools to allow you to dump your bios code, de-compile it (which is illeagal). Work out where the 0x3A register is set, manually hack the image and re-flash your bios. (If it goes wrong your laptop is dead)

    Not exactly easy, or risk free!

    see http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprovirt/thread/53345ce8-c36d-4808-b939-618ecddb4ba1

  • Thanks for that Andrew, I wasn't aware. I'll see if we can follow up with Sony and/or Intel to find out why this is.

  • Steve Gibson's "SecurAble" works with both AMD & Intel (also shows if your CPU supports 64bit)

    http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

    Blake Handler - Microsoft MVP

    "The Road to Know Where"

  • Very cool, thanks Steve.

  • If you can follow up with Sony that would be fantastic. I am really annoyed that they sell dual core machines but disable hardware virtualisation support in their Bios (they don't mention this 'feature' in their product specs). I have contacted Sony and they say there is "no demand" for including VT on laptops!?!

    Apparently there are quite a few other laptop makers that do the same thing.

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