Earlier yesterday, Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera revealed a secret new feature in Windows 7— Windows XP Mode (XPM). XPM allows you to run Windows XP in a virtualized session, and includes a license for Windows XP SP3. As Thurrott & Rivera’s blog post says:
Windows XP Mode dramatically changes the compatibility story for Windows 7 and, we believe, has serious implications for Windows development going forward.
Interestingly, XPM does not require you to run a separate desktop with Windows XP. Applications installed in the virtual environment are published to the Windows 7 host and shortcuts placed in the host’s Start menu. Users can run Windows XP applications (installed in XPM) directly and transparently in Windows 7 desktop!
All I can say is— this is super cool! And although I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, it seems application compatibility is quickly headed to be a non-issue with Windows 7.
More details in Secret No More: Revealing Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 on Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows, and screenshots in Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 Screens.
Scott Woodgate confirmed it later in Coming Soon: Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC on the Windows Blog.