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Windows 7 Release Candidate Out; New XP Mode Revealed

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Windows 7 is shaping up to be the next coming of Windows XP. It’s doing so many things right. Like Windows XP Mode.

XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today’s Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

What does this mean?

Obviously, XPM has huge ramifications for Windows going forward. By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM.

That is awesome for day to day business applications, but what if you wanted run a game? Can it be done through XPM? I don’t think so. However, this is still an impressive feature. It helps businesses transition from Windows OS to Windows OS with relatively ease; no longer will you have to delay an OS upgrade simply because one piece of vital legacy software isn’t working on the latest version of Windows.

Super cool. While you can’t try XP Mode yet, you can take a look at the newly leaked Release Candidate via torrent or via WinSuperSite’s gallery.

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