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Windows 7 XP Mode won’t work on some Core 2 CPUs

Windows 7 XP Mode won’t work on some Core 2 CPUs

Windows 7's XP Mode requires hardware virtualisation, which isn't supported by 18 Core 2 Duo CPUs.

If you were looking forward to getting easy backward compatibility from Windows 7’s XP Mode, then you may be disappointed if you have the wrong type of processor. It turns out that Windows 7’s much-talked-about XP Mode requires hardware-assisted virtualisation technology, and this isn’t supported by a number of CPUs, including some current Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad chips.

Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report revealed the findings after trying out a new BETA of Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 Release Candidate 1. “For your PC to run XP Mode in Windows 7,” says Bott, “the CPU has to support Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V), and this support has to be enabled in the BIOS.”

On the one hand, this is good, as it means that XP Mode will at least run pretty quickly. On the other hand, though, a number of current CPUs don’t support hardware virtualisation, and you won’t get any clues from the CPU model number or logo too. According to Intel, 18 Core 2 Duo CPUs don’t support the technology, including the E7500, E8190, E4700 and T5550. Meanwhile, three Core 2 Quad chips are also lacking Intel VT support, including the Q8300 and Q8200.

A handful of NetBurst chips also support the technology, including the 900-series Pentium Extreme CPUs, and a few Pentium D chips too. Owners of current AMD chips appear to have been a bit luckier here, as all the current Phenom and Phenom II chips support AMD-V, as well as AM2-based Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 chips of the F and G families. However, no Socket 939 CPUs or Sempron chips support the technology.

Bott likens this situation to the recent “Vista Capable” debacle, in which machines with Intel integrated graphics systems that couldn’t run Aero were still labelled as “Vista Capable”. He asks “how much positive Windows 7 buzz will be wiped out in coming weeks and months when consumers and business buyers discover that a heavily hyped new Windows 7 feature, XP Mode, won’t work on some Intel-based products?”

Do you own a CPU without hardware virtualisation technology, and would you feel compelled to upgrade in order to get access to Windows 7’s XP Mode? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

Via CNET.

36 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
SBS 6th May 2009, 15:24 Quote
Oh ffs.
The Bodger 6th May 2009, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBS
Oh ffs.

My first thoughts exactly. When I read about Windows XP compatability mode for Windows 7 last week, I had hoped it was going to be a complete, universal solution to Windows Vista compatability problems. Now I know my PC can't even use it.

Just when I thought Windows 7 was going to do us all a favour and break the trends started with Vista...
Shielder 6th May 2009, 16:04 Quote
VXP mode is also a little slow compared to most Virtualisation programs. According to Anandtech the screen doesn't update fast enough for most games. It seems to be designed for the businesses that mainly use 2D office apps. Tough if you need 3D support and quick refresh rates for the screen.

I might need to keep XP alive for a while yet. Although Vista plays better with Diablo than my install of XP ever did >:)

Andy
oasked 6th May 2009, 16:05 Quote
I don't see this really makes a difference. The vast majority of programs will work anyway, and for that absolutely have to run obsolete software they can - provided they have a legitimate copy of Windows XP and Virtualisation support on their CPU.

In reality 99% of businesses are going to stick with Windows XP and 2000 anyway because they can't be bothered to upgrade - its seen as an unnecessary cost.
general22 6th May 2009, 16:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bodger
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBS
Oh ffs.

My first thoughts exactly. When I read about Windows XP compatability mode for Windows 7 last week, I had hoped it was going to be a complete, universal solution to Windows Vista compatability problems. Now I know my PC can't even use it.

Just when I thought Windows 7 was going to do us all a favour and break the trends started with Vista...

I hope this is sarcasm, because this tech is nothing new and can be done right now on your vista install with virtualbox and an XP license.
PT88 6th May 2009, 16:06 Quote
To be frank this is to be expected, the only way XP was ever going to be included in Win7 was through virtualisation, and a pre requisete of this is a CPU that has hardware-assisted virtualisation technology

I would point the finger of blame more at Intel than MS, look at AMD, all their newest CPU's have hardware-assisted virtualisation technology.....
yakyb 6th May 2009, 16:17 Quote
if this is using Virtual pc to run surely HW virtualisation isnt required but would offer a significant benefit?
cyrilthefish 6th May 2009, 16:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
if this is using Virtual pc to run surely HW virtualisation isnt required but would offer a significant benefit?
Looks like they've tweaked the integrated copy of virtualpc to require hardware assistance, as the standalone copy of virtual PC certainly doesn't require that at the moment.
kenco_uk 6th May 2009, 17:00 Quote
Yay!
The Bodger 6th May 2009, 17:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by general22
I hope this is sarcasm, because this tech is nothing new and can be done right now on your vista install with virtualbox and an XP license.

I understand what people are getting at. My position is that we have some legacy software here that we already know doesn't run correctly on Vista, that we will require for another few years or so. (It was actually written for Win 95 )

When I heard about Microsoft intentionally incorporating XP compatability into Windows 7, I believed that it was about to provide a handy solution to many of the problems being faced by XPs upcoming obscelecence.

Yes, we know about virtual PCs. The point still stands that they require an XP license on top of the Vista / Windows 7 license, and you have to buy the virtual PC software too (granted some are free). Even so, buying two OS licenses makes it a fairly costly solution, and also an unviable one for new PCs once Microsoft stop selling XP discs. Plus it isn't as elegant as the solution apparently being presented in Windows 7.

What I was getting at is that as usual, Microsoft appeared to put a simple upgrade path in place, only to immediately add caveats and complications to it.
thehippoz 6th May 2009, 17:10 Quote
cool the old overclocking goldenchild e6600 is supported.. looks like you need 4m of L2 cache
perplekks45 6th May 2009, 17:28 Quote
Exactly my thought, hippo.
Running an E6600 @ 3.6 GHz 24/7 I'm looking forward to using that. :)

And if I got it right, the XP license comes with the virtualization tool anyways, so that won't cost you anything on top.
Turbotab 6th May 2009, 17:41 Quote
If one really needs to use a legacy OS to run an important app, they could always dual-boot, though its hardly an elegant solution. If you need to use legacy and W7 apps concurrently, you could always use 2 PCs and a KVM, yah for clutter.
perplekks45 6th May 2009, 18:24 Quote
Try to explain that to the average employee.

"All you have to do when you want to use this program is fire up that 2nd PC over there, turn the switch on this box... wtf? The third person whose head just exploded today... nice."

or

"Why don't you dual-boot XP and 7? You just have to... HOLY ****! What a mess!"
Turbotab 6th May 2009, 18:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Try to explain that to the average employee.

"All you have to do when you want to use this program is fire up that 2nd PC over there, turn the switch on this box... wtf? The third person whose head just exploded today... nice."

or

"Why don't you dual-boot XP and 7? You just have to... HOLY ****! What a mess!"

I wonder why IT departments get a bad rep:p
I've seen a dual machine KVM used perfectly easily by a regular employee, they were in accounts / finance though, so perhaps were a tad more logical than your avg peep.
[PUNK] crompers 6th May 2009, 18:32 Quote
if the e6600 works will the q6600?
cyrilthefish 6th May 2009, 18:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Try to explain that to the average employee.

"All you have to do when you want to use this program is fire up that 2nd PC over there, turn the switch on this box... wtf? The third person whose head just exploded today... nice."

or

"Why don't you dual-boot XP and 7? You just have to... HOLY ****! What a mess!"
I work on a IT Helpdesk, trying to get technophobes to try and use complex systems is part of my job!

Actually most people can cope with 2 PC's and a switchbox fairly well.

Though i can see your point with a virtual OS, just last week i really struggled to explain the concept of remote desktop to one of the more clueless users here, took a while but got there in the end. a virtual OS is going to appear the same to them, so it is do-able :)
Turbotab 6th May 2009, 18:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crompers
if the e6600 works will the q6600?


Yes
perplekks45 6th May 2009, 19:31 Quote
I remember at my last job we introduced Office 2003 and people's heads already turned bright red... and we switched from Office XP.

Sometimes being a nerd/geek can be very frustrating. :( ;)
-EVRE- 6th May 2009, 19:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bodger
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBS
Oh ffs.

My first thoughts exactly. When I read about Windows XP compatability mode for Windows 7 last week, I had hoped it was going to be a complete, universal solution to Windows Vista compatability problems. Now I know my PC can't even use it.

Just when I thought Windows 7 was going to do us all a favour and break the trends started with Vista...

Why the hell would anyone blame MS for this issue? Why has no one in this forum damned Intel for being retarded for mixing up the virtualisation on its processors?

I praise AMD for keeping their CPU lineup fully featured!

I really hope Intel is the one to get the black eye for this one.. not MS.

:edit:
PT88 pointed a finger at intel
Cobalt 6th May 2009, 19:54 Quote
Another benefit of cheaping out and going AMD at my last hardware upgrade
Nicb 6th May 2009, 20:19 Quote
I don't understand the complaints by non business people on this TECH savvy crowd. :(

I have Windows 7, XP Pro, and Ubuntu installed on the same computer. It was just as easy to install one as it was three OS. :|

Maybe I expect to much from this site I'm so addicted to and it's people. :D

I've had no problems with all three, and I love it. You just need your main HD to be of adequate size.

I googled "Install XP and Windows 7" to get you all on the right track that would like to do this. This was the first page on the list:

http://lifehacker.com/5126781/how-to-dual-boot-windows-7-with-xp-or-vista

I can get from one OS to the other quickly, my computer shuts down and boots up in about 26 seconds. I don't like the virtualisation, there has always been bugs with it. Plus I love the benefits to having 3 systems if one screws up.

I believe this is a better way and I've been doing it for a few years. All is not lost, you still can have both. ;)
wuyanxu 6th May 2009, 20:32 Quote
meh, IMHO those incompatible CPU should be forgotten.

virtualisation is a must have, it makes Folding as fast as running natively, it makes Vmware run very fast and it's a must have.
Tyinsar 6th May 2009, 20:46 Quote
Apparently XP mode is not without a fair amount of issues anyway - perhaps more trouble than it's worth - at least in the beta stage http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2346532,00.asp
knuck 7th May 2009, 01:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by -EVRE-
Why the hell would anyone blame MS for this issue? Why has no one in this forum damned Intel for being retarded for mixing up the virtualisation on its processors?

that was my first thought but it wasn't really MS bashing, just random complaints
docodine 7th May 2009, 01:57 Quote
Oh baww, this isn't the retail version. It's going to be patched soon, who really cares. This is why people use RC1, to find bugs.
Timmy_the_tortoise 7th May 2009, 02:12 Quote
My Q6600 is safe then?

Sweet.
BurningFeetMan 7th May 2009, 04:56 Quote
I love my Intel E6600. :) Is there anything that this chip can't do?

Currently she's been overclocked to 3.2 Ghz, up from a stock 2.4 Ghz, air cooled to 33°C. :)
korhojoa 7th May 2009, 07:46 Quote
Haha, I noticed this a couple of days ago when I tried to use it.
"Virtualization is disabled in your BIOS, enable to continue"
So i restarted, enabled and yay i was back on my way. Got to love lenovo for sticking a real cpu in the x60. Awesome, I didn't remember that it had virtualization.
The Bodger 7th May 2009, 10:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by -EVRE-
Why the hell would anyone blame MS for this issue? Why has no one in this forum damned Intel for being retarded for mixing up the virtualisation on its processors?

I praise AMD for keeping their CPU lineup fully featured!

I really hope Intel is the one to get the black eye for this one.. not MS.

:edit:
PT88 pointed a finger at intel
Okay, fair point. It isn't just MS that are to blame for complicating the issue. I just wonder why they couldn't have written the XP mode software so that it would at least run on PCs lacking the virtualisation feature, albeit in a slower clunkier manner. I guess having thought about it rather than bashing the limitations, we should be grateful that MS have at least tried to improve backward compatability compared to Vista; the addition of this feature suggests they've been listening to their business customers and are trying to address some of their concerns with legacy software.
Grimloon 7th May 2009, 15:30 Quote
None of the lower end Intel CPUs support VT, including some of the quad core Penryns. The other thing that needs to be remembered though is that this will not be a default feature on release, it is an additional download for the RTM which is available for the pro equivalent editions only. I'm not sure if they'll include Home Premium in that or if it will be just Business/Enterprise and Ultimate only.
Psy-UK 7th May 2009, 16:54 Quote
Well this is a kick in the nuts for some people. At least there's the likes of VirtualBox...
Zurechial 7th May 2009, 17:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
Looks like they've tweaked the integrated copy of virtualpc to require hardware assistance

That seems likely to me.

I suspect they want the virtualised version of XP that's built into 7 to have the best performance it can, so that it doesn't get a bad rap in reviews or from joe public.
It's not like anyone who doesn't have a compatible CPU can't just install VirtualPC and virtualise their own copy of XP if they need to anyway.

Most people who've tested 7 so far will probably tell you that you aren't going to have too much trouble with XP software running on it, and when you do you can either load up this XP compatibility-mode if your CPU supports it, or just Virtualise XP yourself.

Not the end of the world, nor really a big deal.

We've been dual-booting for decades now when we need to, this is a step in the right direction for backwards-compatibility no matter how you look at it.
biebiep 7th May 2009, 17:50 Quote
Look.

Intel released 2 versions of their Core2's since the beginning

The good ones and the Cripples.
The cripples are basicly the good ones minus cache and advanced technology.

So basicly, this is Intel's way of keeping their **** affordable going wrong.
AMD's cripples (tri-cores and stuff) can do it all :-)
r4tch3t 14th May 2009, 07:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
Looks like they've tweaked the integrated copy of virtualpc to require hardware assistance, as the standalone copy of virtual PC certainly doesn't require that at the moment.
As Zurechial said, it is a tweaked version. But in Windows 7 you just run the program from the start menu or where ever and it runs XP compatibility mode. It is transparent, you don't need to start up virtual PC or anything, it just works.
The other advantage is that the program has direct access to the CPU rather than an emulated one. This makes things a lot faster
-EVRE- 3rd June 2009, 02:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bodger
Okay, fair point. It isn't just MS that are to blame for complicating the issue. I just wonder why they couldn't have written the XP mode software so that it would at least run on PCs lacking the virtualisation feature, albeit in a slower clunkier manner. I guess having thought about it rather than bashing the limitations, we should be grateful that MS have at least tried to improve backward compatability compared to Vista; the addition of this feature suggests they've been listening to their business customers and are trying to address some of their concerns with legacy software.

Thats just crazy.. why should MS have to make up for an Intel SNAFU?

AMD has a long line of processors that support visualization... its a base feature, not a hunt and peck..
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