How to boost the performance of Windows 7’s XP Mode

There’s been plenty written about Windows 7’s new XP Mode since the launch of the Release Candidate – the most common criticism being that its performance sucks. 

How to boost the performance of Windows 7's XP Mode

That’s partly because, as alarming few of the critics have noticed, the Windows XP virtual machine is only assigned a meagre 256MB of RAM by default, which means it’s effectively running with the memory of a five-year-old PC. 

This situation can be very easily remedied. First shut down your virtual machine – hibernation won’t do, it’s got to be a full shut down. Then back in Windows 7 click Start | All Programs | Windows Virtual PC | Virtual Machines. Right click on the XP virtual machine and select Settings. You should see the screen below:


Click memory, and choose how much RAM you want to allocate to your VM. I’ve given my XP Mode 1GB, and it’s had no adverse effect on the running of my 3GB laptop, but you may need to experiment to find the right balance.

You should now find XP Mode runs much more smoothly. I’ve been using it to host the Twitter application, TweetDeck, as a virtual application after I had issues with it crashing under Windows 7, and it works a treat.

Let me know how you’re getting on with XP Mode on comments below. 

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