Have a Windows XP app that refuses to run on your shiny new Windows 8 computer? No problem. Just fire up Windows XP in a virtual machine and run the app that way. Don’t want to pay extra for a Windows XP license? You don’t have to.

Lifehacker has posted instructions for using Microsoft’s Windows XP mode utility to grab a fully functional Windows XP disk image which you can install and run in Oracle’s free VirtualBox utility.

Windows XP virtual

Windows XP Mode is a tool designed to let Windows 7 users run Windows XP apps in a virtual environment. But it’s not officially supported by Windows 8.

Fortunately, all you need to do is download the Windows 7 utility, extra the Windows XP disk image, rename it, and open it in VirtualBox.

The whole process is pretty painless, and the only catch is that you’ll need a valid Windows 8 license in order for everything to work properly.

For step-by-step instructions, hit up Lifehacker. Once you’ve completed those steps, just create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox, choose how much memory to allocate, and when it comes time to pick a disk, pick the .vhd file you’ve extracted from the Windows XP Mode utility.

Windows XP mode in Windows 8

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9 replies on “Run Windows XP in a window on Windows 8 without paying an extra cent”

  1. Hey Brad, how did you get past the XP activation? The key (from inside the xpm archive where you get the vhd) did not work for me. Granted I tried this on Windows 7 64bit. I was trying it on my work computer before going over to my dad’s and doing it on his new Windows 8 computer. He has some old applications that will only work in XP. One thing that I am not sure if it could have messed it up, I do have Windows XP Mode installed on my Windows 7 64bit system here at work, and it works fine.

  2. It’s sad how many hacks and tweaks are needed to try and make Win 8 behave more like Win 7.
    When moving from XP to Win 7 the only trouble I had was partitioning my user data.

    Kudos to the masochists who soldier on with Windows 8 but I’ll keep my $40 and stick with Windows 7.

    1. It’s sad people think there’s any more need for hacks for Windows 8 than for Windows 7.

      Really, what do you think Windows XP Mode was for in Windows 7? It was a running XP in emulation for the same reason! This particular solution was originally developed for Windows 7 but just happens to also work for Windows 8 despite not being officially supported.

      A long with lots of other mods and hacks done for Windows 7. So it’s rather strange that anyone should think it strange that any version of Windows wouldn’t need changes for people who don’t want to wait for their apps to be updated or prefer the old versions or just have their own ways of doing things.

      A one size fits all OS will always have the need for those who don’t want to adapt. Really, I know people still using Windows NT and have seen people rather use XP and make it look like Windows 7 rather than use Windows 7.

      Everyone has their preferences and people tend to resist change, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by not using the $40 upgrade. You don’t even have to install it right now but you’ll eventually be pushed to use Windows 8 and when that day comes it’ll be more expensive for you to make the switch than it is just to get the copy of it now.

    2. cause you don’t have the right machine,I’m using all slates and tablets and I wouldn’t go back to Windows 7 even if Microsoft would give me 400$
      Microsoft did a good job with Windows 8 and people are whining for nothing this time

      1. You can’t get past “Activate Windows” since no key will work. Who cares that you can run XP for 30 days.

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