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Windows 7's "XP Mode" Won't Run on Some CPUs

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Hoping to use Windows 7's XP Mode on your new laptop? Better check your specs, because many big-name, Intel-powered notebooks including Asus, Dell Studio, HP Pavilion, Sony Vaio, and Toshiba Satellite models may not have what it takes to run Windows 7's XP mode. Featured in the recent Windows 7 release candidate, XP mode allows XP-specific applications to run inside Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows 7.  Microsoft included XP mode to entice business customers to upgrade to Windows 7 even if they're using custom-made programs that run only on XP.

To run XP Mode, your Intel-powered computer must support Intel Virtualization Technology. Problem is, many Intel laptops found on retail shelves aren't packing Intel VT. Affected chips include Intel Celeron, Pentium Dual-Core, Pentium M, and Atom 270 and 280 processors.   If you've got a Pentium D, Core, or Core 2 Duo chip you'll need to check your model number because P7350/7450, T1350, T2050/2250, T2300E/2350/2450, T5200/5250/5270/5300/5450/5470/5550/5670/5750/5800/5850/5870/5900 and T6400/6570 do not support VT, according to ZDNet. AMD-powered computers may also find difficulties running XP mode since Sempron processors and some Athlon 64 chips don't support virtualization.

That's a pretty big list of processors that can't support virtualization, so it's no surprise that many laptops will be frozen out of Windows 7's XP mode. However, for the everyday user this may not be as big an issue since XP Mode is targeted at a small segment of the market anyway -- gamers take note that XP mode was not built to support video games.

If you are a part of the XP-specific minority running a custom application or another XP-specific program, you'd better make sure your processor supports virtualization before making the switch to Windows 7.

Can't find your processor's model number? Run GRC's Securable a free app that can tell you if your processor supports virtualization.

Connect with Ian Paul on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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