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Definition: Windows XP Mode

An option for users who have the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and must run 16-bit DOS applications. Only 32-bit versions of Windows can run 16-bit DOS apps natively (see NTVDM), and Windows XP Mode (XPM) includes a complete copy of the 32-bit version of Windows XP along with Microsoft's Virtual PC software. See Virtual PC and virtual machine.

XP Mode Availability
XP Mode is free for users of Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise and Ultimate. Users of 64-bit Vista, 64-bit Windows 7 Home versions and 64-bit Windows 8 may employ VMware, Virtual PC (free) or any other Windows desktop virtualization product along with their own copy of Windows XP.

Although Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP Mode in Windows 8, it can be installed in Windows 8 if a user has technical expertise and a Windows XP installation disc. See desktop virtualization and Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode in Windows 7
XP Mode supports 16-bit applications, which require a 32-bit operating system.

XP Mode Uses Remote Desktop Protocol
Communication between the Windows 7 desktop and XP Mode applications is made via the Remote Desktop Protocol (see RDP and Remote Desktop Services).