Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows XP Mode which will be a feature of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate has hit Release To Manufacturing status and will be available at the same time as the release of Windows 7.

According to the official Windows 7 Blog - via Maximum PC - the "final release of Windows XP mode" will be available for download from the 22nd of October, to coincide with the official launch of Windows 7.

The specialised version of Microsoft Virtual PC - designed to ensure that businesses are able to run legacy applications without issue, a concern which hindered corporate adoption of Windows Vista - was confirmed back in April this year, but the fact that no RTM version had been announced this close to the launch of Windows 7 had some concerned that it would be delayed.

Sadly for those businesses who have standardised on one of the 18 versions of Intel Core 2 Duo processors that don't support Windows XP Mode, the requirement for either Intel Virtualisation Technology or AMD Virtualisation is still present - meaning no XP Mode for processors including the E7500, the E8190, the E4700, or the T5550 - or even the quad-core Q8200 and Q8300 models.

For those unlucky enough not to have hardware virtualisation support on their processor, there are always the alternatives - although a dedicated licence for the virtualised operating system would be required.

Are you waiting for a final release of Windows XP Mode to be made available for download before taking the Windows 7 plunge, or have you yet to find anything that doesn't work anyway? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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