Teacup, Meet Storm, pt. II: XPM and Intel Support

Windows XP Mode, the virtualisation tool currently in beta for Windows 7, only works on processors with virtualisation extensions, known as AMD-V and Intel VT-x. Microsoft made this clear from the get-go, but still various news websites regurgitated it as “news” yesterday that some Intel processors do not support XPM. Twenty-four hours down the road, and Intel had a few things to say about this.

Yesterday we came down on Apple websites for lacking in critical thinking and plain old common sense, but many of the Windows-centric media out there are just as bad. Many of them reported, with big headlines, that some Intel chips do not support XPM – which is old news since one of the requirements for XPM is that the host processor has virtualisation extensions. Those are common on all but AMD’s low-end Semprons, but when it comes to Intel, the picture is a little bit less clear, because Intel reserved its virtualisaton extensions for higher-end chips.

One day down the line, and some websites are already talking about “Intel, AMD Tout Windows 7 Compatibility“. This is of course misleading, as we are talking about compatibility with XPM, and not Windows 7. Anyway, in a statement, Intel said the following:

Windows XP Mode is targeted for business customers. It is available on the mid to higher-end versions of Windows 7 and is supported in hardware by many Intel processors. Intel vPro technology PCs are required to have an Intel VT-capable CPU and Intel VT-capable BIOS. They are the best platforms for testing and deploying Microsoft Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode.

There really isn’t much news here. The basic gist of this entire story is that if you are buying a computer now, either for at home or for your company, and you think you are going to need XPM, either buy AMD, or carefully research which Intel chips support VT-x.


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