The software that creates and manages a virtual machine on a host machine is called the hypervisor, or Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). A hypervisor can run multiple virtual machines on a single host computer. Each virtual machine runs its own operating system. The number of virtual machines that can be made available depends on the host machine’s hardware resources. The hypervisor allocates the physical system resources, such as CPU, RAM, and hard drive, to each virtual machine as needed. This ensures that the operation of one virtual machine does not interfere with another.

There are two types of hypervisors: Type 1 (native) and Type 2 (hosted). A Type 1 hypervisor runs directly on the hardware of a host and manages the allocation of system resources to guest operating systems. A Type 2 hypervisor is hosted by an OS. The Windows Virtual PC is an example of a Type 2 hypervisor.

Windows Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC is the virtualization platform for Windows 7. Virtual PC allows you to partition system resources for a Windows OS among virtual machines running a licensed copy of Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. You can download Virtual PC from the Microsoft Windows website. The figure displays the hardware requirements for running Virtual PC. Virtual PC is required to run the Windows XP Mode program in Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode

Windows XP Mode is a program available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Windows XP Mode uses virtualization technology to allow users to run Windows XP programs in Windows 7. It opens a virtual machine on the Windows 7 desktop that provides a fully functional version of Windows XP, including access to all system resources. After installing a program in Windows XP Mode, you can run the program in XP Mode and access it from the Windows 7 Start Menu.

NOTE: Before using Windows XP Mode, download and install Windows Virtual PC.

To access XP Mode in Windows 7, follow these steps:

Step 1. Select Start > All Programs.

Step 2. Select Windows Virtual PC > Windows XP Mode.