[How To] Make Your Own VHD to XP Mode or even Vista Mode Ready


As we posted earlier, the easiest way to make it work in Windows 7 is to follow this how-to and download and install the XP Mode ready VHD image from Microsoft website. However, in lot of cases, you may want to just use your already working XP VHD image for XP mode in Windows 7. The good news is it’s totally possible, and the better news is it’s deadly simple. Here is how.

The key to make it work in XP mode is to enable the new setting called Auto Publish in the latest version Virtual PC.  Below is the screenshot of the Virtual PC settings of my working XP virtual machine, named VPC1, in which you can notice that currently the Auto Publish is not available.


In order to make it available so to enable, you will need to,

1. Install/Upgrade Integration Features to the VHD.

Simply do so from Tools dropdown menu from the top tool bar.

2. Enable it once having the latest Integration Features installed.

Simply do so from the same Tools dropdown menu. You may be prompted to enter the username and password for auto-login.


3. Install XP service pack 3 if haven’t done so.

4. Install the Update for Windows® XP SP3 to enable RemoteApp™

Download the updates from here, and install it to the XP VHD image.


It’s done and you will see all the apps installed on XP automatically published in your Windows 7 host system and ready for XP mode. Note that from the following screenshot after I made my existing VHD image VPC1 XP mode ready, I have now got two sets of XP mode applications, one from the original image from Microsoft, and one from the image I already created in previous version of Virtual PC.


Another bonus point about this process, it’s actually offering not only XP mode but also Vista-Mode as well. To make your Vista VHD image as Vista-Mode ready, just follow the same step explained above, and only use the following update instead for step 4.

Update for Windows® Vista SP1 or above to enable RemoteApp™


Thanks to John who commented below how to publish an non-Windows-Installer application from XP VHD to Windows 7 for XP Mode. It’s worth checking out.

How To Hack a New Integrated XP Mode Application



  1. Kent, this tip works great for applications already installed in the VHD using *Windows installer* technology. My blog post from yesterday showed how to manually register existing apps whether from the XP Mode machine or a previously created VHD when they’re *not* installed via Windows installer. The example I used there was Eclipse which is simply unzipped. As more and more apps/tools have this ability, I think my post serves as a corallary to this.


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