Windows XP Mode Reviews

Slow and with a very reduced feature set

Windows XP Mode is horribly slow, I don't know what the heck it is doing, or what Microsoft did to Virtual PC after acquiring Connectix. I run all sorts of different Windows versions on virtual machines under VMware Workstation/Player and Oracle VirtualBox, and they usually handle very swiftly.

In XP Mode, after clicking the Start button for the first time in a session, it may take some 20 seconds for the menu to actually pop up. While the applications themselves don't seem to process much slower than on other solutions, it is these actions such as opening and closing windows, starting and exiting programs, that have enormous delays for no apparent reason. This seems to not be limited to the guest system, but extend to the Virtual PC host software; for example, I once seemed to be unable to exit full-screen view. After clicking the toolbar button to go back to windowed mode, XP Mode seemed to freeze for more than a minute before actually leaving full screen mode, and guest applications responding again (they actually didn't even redraw the screen during this minute).

From what I hear around the web, this is not a freak occurence but summarises most people's experience with XP Mode. In addition to the performance issues, Microsoft also decided to remove a considerable percentage of useful features from the original Virtual PC 2007 version. Things such as mounting diskette drives/images, good USB support etc. were simply removed, or hidden from the interface, requiring you to manually write in configuration files what other solutions offer in their comfortable GUIs. It all feels like an almost deliberate effort to botch and mutliate a formerly good desktop virtualisation software.

Unless you absolutely cannot be bothered to set up your own virtual machine using a different software (both VMware Player and VirtualBox are free to use, the latter even open source), or you don't have a spare copy/license of Windows to install on it, I don't see XP Mode as a viable solution to run legacy software.