Microsoft Windows Virtual PC hits Release Candidate

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As reported in April, Microsoft is working on a new version of Virtual PC simply called Windows Virtual PC(WVPC), which supports Windows 7 as host OS and can launch a special virtual machine called Windows XP Mode.

Windows XP Mode is just a pre-configured VM with Windows XP SP3 as guest OS, but it seems especially integrated with Windows 7 because the new Virtual PC engine introduces seamless application publishing, USB virtualization and multi-monitor support.

The Windows XP Mode VM is available at no additional cost for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise SKUs but requires a CPU with AMD-V or Intel VT enabled (so all the Sony customers worldwide will be unable to use it).

Windows 7 was released yesterday to Microsoft partners through MSDN and TechNet facilities,  so the company made available the release candidate of this new Virtual PC to grant compatibility.

Microsoft has included a few refinements to this new build:

  • USB devices can be attached to Windows XP Mode applications directly from the Windows 7 task-bar
  • Windows XP Mode applications are accessible with a “jump-list” (right click on the Windows XP Mode applications from the Windows 7 task bar to select and open most recently used files)
  • The location of differencing disk files can be customized
  • Drive sharing between Windows XP Mode and Windows 7 can be disabled