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How to Run Windows XP in Windows Vista – Part 1

written by: sammy•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/11/2009

Want to run your favorite Windows XP in Windows Vista? If you are not able to run an old program on your new Laptop that has a Windows Vista operating system, then setting up a virtual Windows XP PC is an ultimate solution.

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    Step 1 – Installing Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

    You can download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 from this link:

    An uncomplicated setup procedure is involved. You can accept the default settings, and Virtual PC will install in a few minutes.

    When the installation is complete, launch VPC and click on Settings to configure your first VM. Here you’ll need to specify details like how the mouse works and the number of hard disks your XP installation will have. We suggest that you start by clicking on a File Name and give a mane to your VM. For example, you could use “My XP PC.”

    Next, select the memory option and set your VM to use something like 256 MB of memory or more. Selecting half of your PC’s memory size will let you run both versions of Windows properly. Click OK when you’re done.

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    Step 2 – Setting up Windows XP

    Now place your Windows XP installation disc into your computer’s optical drive and click Start in the Virtual PC console.

    You will see that a window will appear which shows your VM as it boots. If the Windows XP setup screen does not appear, give it more time. If you still don’t see a window, then the program may need a little help. Right-click on your computer’s drive and choose “Use Physical Drive D:” (or whichever drive name contains your XP disc.)

    Then close the VM Windows and click Start again. This time you should see Virtual PC boot from your Windows CD and launch the Windows XP Setup program. Press select the Set up Windows XP now option, and work through the installation. While you are installing this Virtual machine you might feel that it could affect your Vista installation. However, you need not worry. Nothing of this sort will happen because the setup program is actually running inside your VM. Your Vista settings will be untouched.

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    Step 3 Customizing Windows XP Desktop

    After finishing the setup your VM window will contain a complete XP desktop.

    This desktop may appear to be very small, but you can resize the contents in the normal XP way. Right-click on an empty part of the desktop and select Properties → Settings and choose a larger resolution.

    You will also note that by now the VM has captured your mouse and keyboard. You're not able to move the mouse cursor away from its window to launch a Windows Vista application, and pressing the Windows key affects your Windows XP installation instead of Vista. To switch the control back to your Windows Vista, press the right-hand Alt button and drag your mouse to the host desktop. To return to Windows XP, just click your mouse again somewhere within the Virtual Machine window.

Solving compatibility woes in Vista by installing Virtual PC

A brief description of common compatibility woes faced by users in Windows Vista and their effective cure by running a PC within a PC by installing Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.
  1. How to Run Windows XP in Windows Vista – Part 1
  2. How to Run Windows XP in Windows Vista – Part 2