Thursday, 12 November 2009

Want to run XP programs in Windows 7? Only got the Home Edition?

[Adapted from a Usenet post]

If you still have an XP (full, not upgrade) copy handy, there's a possible get-out. It's a one-time faff but, after you've done it, you'll be able to do more or less anything you ever could under XP.

Go to, and download VirtualBox. Install and run it.

Now install your XP under VirtualBox as a new "virtual machine". You'll need XP's CD key, of course.

When you've finished installing XP, and you have it running, you have to install VirtualBox's drivers into it. With the XP session still running, select the Devices menu from the outer window, and click on "Install Guest Additions...". Follow the prompts that ensue.

When it's all completed, shut down the XP session as if you were powering off the XP's computer.

In VirtualBox, select the XP session, and click on "Shared Folders". Share your home directory with the XP session. (c:\Documents And Settings\[your user name]\)

Now you have an XP installed and running under Windows 7 that you can use for any non-Win7-compatible software.

Start up the XP session again, install your XP programs into it, and tell the programs to use the files in your (now shared) home directory - and you're away!

The best bit of all - when you have finished with XP for now, just close the XP main window, select "Save the machine state", and next time you start up XP again under VirtualBox, it'll pick up exactly where you were before, as if you'd never left.

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