WIndows XP Mode on WIndows 7 Pro and multiple users

We have a small office running Windows 2008 SBS.  We have replaced some of the old XP Pro computers on the network with Windows 7 Pro 64 bit work stations.  Now 4 WIndows 7 Pro and 4 XP Pro workstaions on the network for total of 8 copmuters and the 2008 SBS server

We are a CPA firm but also do payroll processing locally for about 100 companies as a service much like ADP, Paychex etc but small and local.

We need to run XP Mode as the payroll processing software that we use is an old DOS, yes DOS  based application. The software company still has not fully rolled out thier Windows app.  And no we can't just use Quickbooks payroll etc as this is a farily high end all be it old payroll processing app.  At some point we will move to their Windows version but there is no upgarde path so it is like switching products and that is a huge task. SO they have us !

We need XP Mode since there are old base memeory requirements and capture commands for printing and environmental settings that we need set. A real pain.

My issue is that I setup XP Mode on the Dell Optiplex WIn7 Pro computer while logged in as one of the accoutants/users to the network.  I then figured out how to configure the XP Mode OS with all the crazy settings for the DOS app and even get it full screen witch the developer didnt know how to do and said couldn't be done. It works fine. The program seems to run fine and print etc

But now i realize that the computer is to be used by two other staff memebers who need to log in to the network and the WIn 7 computer as thier own user name etc.  When i log in as a differnet person the XP Mode that is setup is brand new and does not have the DOS app and all the configuration for it since it was setup under a differnet user login i assume.

IS there a way to setup the XP Mode one time and the DOS app in XP Mode and have all users who log into that computer be able to use the XP Mode and the DOS app without setting up XP Mode and the DOS app and all those crazy settings for ever one of the users??

We have 3 other Win 7 Pro  workstations that will need to have the DOS app in XP Mode and have different users log in.  So setting it up over and over many times is a pain

I just am not sure how XP Mode is actually working in background etc. Can there  be one XP Mode and appictaon and setting sfor all users?

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Randy DownsOWNERCommented:
XP Mode is really for a single user but there are some creative ideas out there that attempt to bypass this limitation like the following

To use a common virtual XP machine, for all Windows 7 logons

1) Create a VM in an accessible area. The default user space can be used if the share option is enabled for specific users. Use the default user name eg XPMUser and simple password.

2) locate the configuration file (.vmc) and copy a shortcut to the users\Public Desktop folder. It may be necessary to enable hidden file viewing using the Folder Options Icon in Control Panel, as the .vmc file defaults to user\apps\...

3) Log on to any windows 7 account and click the shortcut. Log on to the VM using the user XPMUser and simple password. Bingo.

I haven't tried it but I guess different users can be added as per a 'normal XP machine' so Users can share applications but keep some privacy to their data.


Clicking the .vmc once while logged in as another user makes that Virtual PC the default one for that user. You can then copy the shortcuts for any Windows XP Mode applications to the Start Menu so that they can be accessed directly. Only drawback is that if you have a lot of users, you need to instruct them all to click the .vmc file and then logout of the Virtual PC at least once.

to2007Author Commented:
Man this is probably a bit over my normal dealings but will give it a shot.  Have to be in front of the computer to follow along.

what a pain in butt.  Stupid software developer stuck in 1995!

I thougth VM was supposed to be end all be all.  Vma nd the cloud, both hoaxes pushed onto the unknowing public in my opinion.

will give it a try and see what happens.
I find this question very interesting and would be happy to contribute.

Scenario: A Windows7 PC, with VMware Workstation, and a virtual XP Pro using  VMware Unity.
from where we can logon with any username. But I don't know if that would be a licensing breach?

Another solution (I would greatly consider), is a DOS VM for your legacy application, by either using VMWare or the Free Windows Virtual PC.


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to2007Author Commented:
unfortunately after a few hours with Microsoft tech support and lots on time on Microsoft Technet i have come to the conclusion as did the MS tech that XP Mode as discussed is not really for multi users in a networked environment.  

It apppears that is is fine with one user long in and XP Mode sets up nicely and runs the ancient DOS app we need. However if we need to have additional network users use the app on the same conputer we just need to go through the exercise of setting up XP Mode for each of those users and installing the DOS app and setting all its environmental varialbes etc. Since we have 3 computers with 3 differetn users oon each at times then that means we need to setup 9 instances of XP Mode 3 on each coputer.  Given the time you all and i and Microsoft tech spent trying to trick it into woriking i relaized taht i could have just bittenmy tongue and done the 9 setups.

That is how we will deal with it, it is cleaner than all the tricks we all have to use and since Microsoft didn't have a simple answer and they say it is a "single user product" of sorts we gave up.

thanks for all the imput thought

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to2007Author Commented:
There was no real solution but everyone tried.  thanks
Thanks to2007 for sharing your findings.

And thanks for the points.

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