For a while now I have been seeing random people complaining about the fact that they cannot install Windows Virtual PC on Windows 7 Home Editions (Basic or Premium). This always struck me as odd – as I was sure that this was a supported configuration – but I did not reply as I did not have the time to try this configuration myself and confirm that it did in fact work.
I finally had the chance to try this out – and while I can confirm that running Windows Virtual PC on Windows 7 Home Editions is supported and does work – I also stumbled upon the probable cause of peoples confusion.
If you go to the official Virtual PC website (http://www.microsoft.com/virtualpc) and indicate that you are running Windows 7 Home – you will be (correctly) informed that you are not eligible to run Windows XP Mode:
Unfortunately this page does not explain that you are eligible to run Windows Virtual PC.
To clarify – “Windows Virtual PC” is the virtualization program that allows you to create and run virtual machines on Windows 7. “Windows XP Mode” is a free pre-configured Windows XP virtual machine. “Windows XP Mode” is not available for people running Windows 7 Home editions; but these users can download Windows Virtual PC and use a separate (fully licensed) copy of Windows XP to create their own Windows XP virtual machines and get all the functionality of Windows XP Mode.
You can download Windows Virtual PC directly from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD
And as you can see – on this page it does state that Windows 7 Home editions are supported:
Hopefully the main webpage can be updated to make this less confusing in the future.