What are the ways to support XP application in Windows 7?

Some months back, there was no direct upgrade from XP to Windows 7 and now  there is “XP mode”(XPM) supported in windows 7 that would run XP applications. I am curious to learn what is “XP mode” and want to know more on it. so is it that I do not need to migrate XP application to Windows 7?

  • You can try to run XP applications  in Windows Virtual PC. Beware that the virtualized apps might run slower and your company need to support both the new and old operating system. This means each of the o/s needs to be secured, antivirused, firewalled and patched. Win XP is not part of the mainstream support. Does business want to support two instances of Windows on each machine?
  • You can run your application in Windows XP mode. XPM is host-based virtualization solution like Virtual PC. XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. when  you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (Start Menu is ready too.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.
  • You can run your application as part of Win XP shims. Here we fool some applications into running on versions of the operating system they may not have been designed for. For example, UAC can break programs written for XP that assume users are running as administrators. A shim  can either fool the app into believing the user has admin rights or you can shim it to demand for admin rights. But in order for your application to obtain administrator rights with UAC enabled, the user will have to approve the elevation and there is no way to bypass this. Shim can neither bypass compatibility issues with device drivers or with other kernel-mode code. Be aware that  shim does not solve application  compatibility problems directly, but use tricks to sidestep them. Thanks to Chris Jackson article How Shims Work to Address Compatibility Issues for better understanding.

I hope that  all of the above do not provide false security that XP applications would run fine on windows 7 and enterprise need to make sure that all their applications run on Windows 7. one more reason is beyond 2014, XP is no more supported.