In a press-release by Microsoft, the infamous hardware virtualization requirement to run XP Mode on Windows 7 will be removed. The Hardware Virtualization restriction required the CPU to support hardware assisted virtualization. A lot of the older generation processors did not have hardware assisted virtualization and as a result posed a problem for many businesses to deploy Windows 7 and support legacy applications. With XP Mode now being supported on a more wider range and a more older series of hardware, businesses should see added benefit in moving to Windows 7.
I’m not really sure of how this will impact the performance of the virtual machine or the host machine (I don’t have a PC that does not have hardware assisted virtualization). If it does affect performance, this move will likely have a negative impact on the user experience. Having the hardware assisted virtualization limitation meant businesses would upgrade their hardware thereby having better performance – fringe benefits to the entire PC ecosystem.
ZDNet got the following from a Microsoft spokesperson on the development:
Customers already using Windows XP Mode with hardware virtualization should continue using it. Customers not yet using Windows XP Mode can start using the product without having to worry about hardware virtualization. For Windows XP Mode, we expect the performance will be more than acceptable with or without hardware virtualization. For developers using Virtual PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 virtual machines we recommend HAV as the non-HAV is only tuned for XP Mode.