Tuesday, 4 August 2009

XP Pro Mode – Hardware Virtualization is Required

The Intel ProcessorFinder site is the place to go when looking up the features that a particular CPU supports.

Each CPU series shares a common feature set with some exceptions where there may be a couple of versions at the low end of the model set that have features "disabled" to augment the value at the high end.

Intel did this with the 5200 series Xeons as well as others, and still does it with the Core 2 Quad series with the amount of L2 cache being 50% smaller on the "value" versions of the CPU line. Most of the CPU lines have subtle feature differences between the entry and top end products.

Virtualization (Intel calls it VT) is a base feature. The desktop Media G series boards support VT (C2D, C2Q), while the Executive Q series (vPro) supports higher end VT-d and VT-Appliance settings for more advanced virtualization scenarios such as embedded VMs or the XP Pro Mode in Win7.

The base G series with VT enabled will also do XP Pro Mode since the hardware virtualization has been embedded in Virtual PC 2007 which is what XP Pro Mode is based on.

In the end, we always try to make sure we have the right product for the job.

Laptops have been very iffy when it comes to BIOS enabled hardware features implemented.

To get hardware virtualization on laptops, the laptop needs to have at least the Centrino Pro series chipset in our experience.

Information on the Centrino Pro chipset:

If XP Pro Mode is required by a client, we need to be particularly aware of the hardware setup Windows 7 will be running on as XP Pro Mode does require hardware level virtualization to be enabled in the system’s BIOS.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

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