Windows 7’s XP Mode offers users a great option when it comes to providing legacy application compatibility. Using Integrated Mode to run applications can be almost seamless. Setup and configuration is easy, especially if you’re already familiar with Virtual PC.

Just installing applications from the XP Mode desktop is often all you need to do. (Assuming the Auto Publish setting is enabled.) I always test the applications once in the desktop mode before running in integrated mode. Also, make sure you completely log out of the XP Mode desktop before trying to run the newly installed application.

If you want access to an application already installed, like Internet Explorer 6, it requires a little more setup. Adding a shortcut to the Start Menu folder for All Users will work for most applications. This also works for applications don’t have installers or don’t setup the Start Menu for you.

Accessing other Windows XP features like Windows Explorer via Integrated Mode isn’t possible by just adding a shortcut. Also uncommon shortcut types like VPN connections won’t work. To call Windows Explorer, I created batch file on the XP Mode desktop to “call explorer.” I then made a shortcut to the batch file, changed the name and icon to match the original, and put it in the Start Menu. Now I can access VPN connections and other features without having to open the XP Mode desktop.

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