VM Junkie

April 24, 2009

Virtualization in Windows 7: XP Mode

Filed under: hyper-v, microsoft, vdi, view, vmware — ermac318 @ 6:22 pm

Hopefully some of you have seen the exciting news about Microsoft’s “secret feature” in Windows 7 that’s been kept under wraps: built-in hosted virtualization of a Windows XP desktop. As an add-on feature in the Business-targeted versions of Windows 7, you can run a virtual applications in a virtual machine running Windows XP, but using seamless windows on your main desktop. This is similar to what VMware Fusion does with their “Unity” mode on Macs. This is a very interesting development, but not totally unsurprising. Running apps in a VM for compatibility is an old strategy, and it’s interesting to see Microsoft including this in their product. But what does it mean for VDI?

Once the various VDI vendors start supporting Windows 7 as a Virtual Desktop, how will XP Mode be supported? Paul’s article describes that the feature will require hardware virtualization assist technology, which could mean that it won’t work as a VM-in-a-VM…

But what if we took this a step further? Why couldn’t Microsoft (or for that matter, VMware) use this technology in a VDI solution to provide simultaneous desktops to a particular user? What if, when a user logs in, they are logged into two desktops at once, and when they launch applications, they appear on their delivered desktop? These desktops would both be hosted on the same hypervisor (ESX, Hyper-V, whatever) but delivered with one seamless desktop. And the interesting thing is, VMware could do this today with their technology by combining ESX for VM hosting and Fusion’s Unity code. And how much do you want to bet this will be a feature of Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2?

Interesting times we live in!

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1 Comment

  1. […] has been kind enough to offer a special XP Mode VM to all business-class Win7 customers. I made a blog post about this previously when it was announced. But now it was time to really give it a try. At the […]

    Pingback by Windows 7 XP Mode – Virtual PC vs. Workstation 7 Unity « VM Junkie — November 11, 2009 @ 6:03 am


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