Setting up Windows XP Mode consists of either one or two phases, depending on whether the Windows XP Mode package has already been installed on your computer. The first phase installs Windows XP Mode (including the parent virtual hard disk) on the computer. The second phase is always required. It sets up a virtual instance of Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 (SP3) as a virtual machine. When you set up this virtual instance, you will be prompted to configure the following:

If Windows XP Mode is not installed on your computer, you can download the Windows XP Mode installation package, which is distributed separately from Windows Virtual PC. This package is distributed free of charge and contains a preactivated copy of Windows XP with SP3 in .vhd file format. To download the package, see the Windows Virtual PC home page (


We recommend that you keep an archival copy of the Windows XP Mode package (WindowsXPMode_xx-XX.exe, where xx-XX is the locale) as a backup in case you need to restore the Windows XP Mode environment. For example, you could burn the .exe package to CD or DVD and store it in the same location as your other installation media. An archival copy is recommended because the Windows XP Mode environment uses two virtual hard disks—a parent virtual hard disk and a differencing disk. The differencing disk is unusable without the parent disk. If the parent disk is deleted or damaged and you need to recreate an existing Windows XP Mode environment, you must use the same parent virtual hard disk that was used when you set up Windows XP Mode.

To set up Windows XP Mode
  1. Open the Windows XP Mode shortcut. From the Start menu, click Windows Virtual PC, and then click Windows XP Mode. If you are not prompted to download the setup file, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, complete the following steps:

    1. Download Windows XP Mode from the Windows Virtual PC home page (

    2. Double-click WindowsXPMode_xx-XX.exe, where xx-XX indicates the locale (for example, WindowsXPMode_en-US.exe).

    3. Windows XP Mode Setup opens. If you do not want to store the virtual hard disk file on the system drive, specify a different location.

      Proceed through the remaining pages of the setup wizard to complete the installation. To complete the next part of the process without interruption, leave the option Launch Windows XP Mode selected. Otherwise, to continue later, click Start, open Windows Virtual PC, and click Windows XP Mode.

  2. Windows XP Mode Setup opens and displays the license agreement. To use Windows XP Mode, you must accept the license agreement. Click Next to proceed through the pages and complete the setup.


    We recommend that you avoid canceling Windows XP Mode Setup—you should complete it in one session.

After you set up Windows XP Mode, note the following:

See Also