Well the wraps are off what was supposed to be the super secret sauce that will be a part of Windows 7. Called XP Mode or XPM for short, this is going to make Windows 7 possibly the best Windows Microsoft has ever unveiled. According to Paul Thurrott at his SuperSite Blog for Windows he pulled the wraps off of the secret stuff.

He states in his article the following information:

XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today’s Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.

Obviously, XPM has huge ramifications for Windows going forward. By removing the onus of legacy application compatibility from the OS, Microsoft can strip away deadwood technology from future versions of Windows at a speedier clip, because customers who need to run older applications can simply do so with XPM. For Windows 7 specifically, XPM is a huge convenience, especially for Microsoft’s corporate customers, who can of course control XPM behavior via standard Microsoft administration and management technologies like Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy (GP). And it significantly recasts the Windows 7 compatibility picture. Before, Microsoft could claim that Windows 7 would be at least as compatible as Windows Vista. Now, they can claim almost complete Windows XP compatibility, or almost 100 percent compatibility with all currently running Windows applications.

So for all who have put their foot in their mouth saying Windows 7 is nothing more than a Vista update, this should put those thoughts to rest. Take a look at this screenshot which shows Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

So what do you think? I’m jacked. If this is for real, which I am sure it is, than Windows 7 will become my primary operating system in lieu of Vista.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.