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Does Windows 8 Have XP Mode?

Question: XP mode in Windows 8 doesn’t work. I tried it anyway. Microsoft only offered the Windows 7 XP mode. I have some old DOS games that either returned an error or crashed. I don’t know if it’s because I now have a 64-bit processor.

The problems that you’re experiencing could be happening for any number of reasons, but I suspect that those games are just fundamentally incompatible with Windows 8 and 64 bits.

Sure, XP mode isn’t available on Windows 8, but you can do something almost exactly like it.

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XP mode on Windows 7

XP mode in Windows 7 was nothing more than a pre-configured virtual machine that ran Windows XP. If you fired up the XP mode window, it ran a fully functional copy of Windows XP and you could open your DOS games and do anything else you wanted to within it. Your machine was still running Windows 7, and you were also running Windows XP, in a window.

“XP mode” isn’t available for Windows 8, but you can do almost the same thing with any operating system (not just XP) in Windows 8 by using virtual machine software.

Windows XP Start MenuRunning a virtual machine

In fact, that’s exactly what I do. On my Windows 8 desktop machine, I have several virtual machines available to me. I regularly run Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even another copy of Windows 8. In the past, I’ve run Ubuntu Linux and tried out a couple of other Linux flavors.

To do this, get a copy of Virtual Box from Oracle. Install that and you will be able to create virtual machines for almost any operating system that runs on a PC.

Remember, this is like installing Windows on a completely empty machine. You’ll need the original installation media. For Windows XP, that means you’ll need the actual installation CD and a product key to activate the operating system once installed.

XP mode in Windows 7 was simple to download, install, and run. Oracle’s Virtual Box takes just a little more work.

Watch your RAM

If your machine is already tight on memory, you may not have enough RAM to run a virtual machine.

In my case, my desktop is limited to only 8 GB of RAM.  I’m running Windows 8, 64 bit, and if I’m doing much of anything else I really have to limit myself to running only one virtual machine at a time. I can run two or even three, but it’s easy for things to bog down if I do anything else as the operating system in total runs out of or low on memory. If I had more RAM in my machine, I could run multiple virtual machines at the same time.

That’s the bottom line. All you’re really looking for here is virtual machine software. Once you get a Windows XP virtual machine running within Windows 8,  you should be able to run pretty much everything that you used to in Windows XP.

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7 comments on “Does Windows 8 Have XP Mode?”

  1. Virtual machines are useful for so many things like trying out new operating systems, sandboxing new software or just running legacy software.

    I enjoy playing around with the legacy stuff and to that end I use VMWare to run DOS 6.22, Windows 3.11, 95, 98SE, ME, 2000, NT4.0 and XP. I’ve also been using VMWare to play around with the Windows 8.1 Pro & Enterprise previews.

    Additionally I have a half dozen Linux distros running in VirtualBox. :)

  2. On my old HP Pavilion notebook running Windows XP, I ran Hoyle’s Table Games-Maximum Pool. Unfortunately when I bought my new Dell Inspiron notebook running Windows 7, the game would not run. Hoyle states they dropped the game from their new edition of Table Games because they could not get the game to run on dual core processors.
    If I installed Virtual Box, would that overcome the dual core processor problem and allow Hoyle’s Table Games-Maximum Pool to run? Or would the dual core processor problem still be in play?

  3. I use Windows 8 pro, and to be able to run some older games I right click on the desktop icon, go to properties, then click compatibility which offers win XP, Win Vista, and win 7, and their different service packs, works great on many older games and apps.

  4. i got a old note book laptop thing its windows xp i brought a game for my son as he has this computer i put the game in and install it and i get a message when he presses play it says “the video does not meet the minimum memory reuirements to run this product” what can i do to make it work?? please help :(

    • Getting more RAM (memory) for the computer might help if it has the capacity to accept more RAM. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that will work, because after installing the RAM, you might find that some other component on the machine might come up short.


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