Windows 7's XP Mode (shown here running Internet Explorer 7 seamlessly next to Windows 7's IE 8) brings improved compatibility with legacy software. This can be hand for business users, PC gamers, and penny-pinchers alike. The newly integrated virtual machine also helps protect Windows 7 computers against attacks.  (Source: Windows SuperSite)
One of Windows 7's most talked about features gets finalized

Windows 7 is shaping up to be a dynamic release.  With many aggressive pricing options such as cheaper OEM prices and student discounts, the new release aims to please.

When debating what version to buy, one of the most compelling features of the Professional and Ultimates versions is Windows XP Mode.  XP Mode runs using Microsoft's Virtual PC software, but unlike many virtual machines, it blends unobtrusively into your desktop, with XP-compatibility Windows happily living alongside Windows 7 windows, with no obtrusive differences.

Microsoft made an exciting announcement yesterday -- the Windows XP Mode has finally hit RTM (Windows 7 hit RTM several weeks ago.).  The finalized version close resembles the Windows XP Mode Release Candidate, which aired in August.

For business users, XP Mode provides an innovative way to remove the headache of software compatibility.  With it, virtually any software that can run on Windows XP, can run within Windows 7.

For home users, the new feature is equally exciting, giving many their first taste of the benefits of virtualization.  Not only can it help them save on software costs, by running older versions of Office software or other programs, it can also allow them to play games that would run within Windows XP, but had trouble running within Windows Vista.  For fans of PC gaming, this is a welcome feature.

The virtual machine also helps to protect computers from online attackers when running.  Many attacks exploit virtualization features as a foothold to launch attacks from.  When XP Mode is running, its much harder to launch such attacks, though its still strongly recommended that you run security software, such as Microsoft's free Security Essentials inside both the virtual machine and Windows 7.

The final release of XP Mode, will arrive concurrently with the release of Windows 7 on October 22.  It will be available for download from the Microsoft Download Center for users with Professional or Ultimate editions of Windows 7.

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