Will Windows 8 have an XP mode? Unfortunately for many of you still stuck with Windows XP programs, no. Windows 7 had an XP mode enabled for legacy software and it works quite well for the majority of things you’d need to do with it. Windows 8, on the other hand, is three generations newer than Windows XP. Building in support for programs that require an XP environment just doesn’t appear to be that important.

Windows 8 does not include XP mode, a function of Windows Virtual PC. Virtual PC itself got the axe in Windows 8 in favor of a set of new features and preferred software platform. You can still enjoy Hyper-V in Windows 8 Pro, though this options is sure to leave many average users scratching their heads.

Windows 7 may have been the first operating system Windows XP users willingly switched to, and it’s that reason that Microsoft worked so hard to make sure those customers had a seamless experience through and through. Windows 8 is very different. It’s the first operating system from Microsoft to introduce as many changes to the core since Windows 95. The Start button is gone, applications can now exist entirely within the Microsoft sphere of influence via the app store, and traditional programs are seeing their days numbered. Windows RT doesn’t even support the vast majority of these legacy programs from Windows 7. This is a huge difference, and one reason why Windows 8 isn’t expected to be very XP compatible.

There is a solution for you, however. You can still (on non-RT Windows 8) fire up a virtual machine and run XP using a valid license. This will enable you to run those legacy programs within the XP environment without having to dual boot the machine entirely. Hyper-V is also supported on Windows 8 Pro, which should assist business and IT users.

Windows 8 XP Mode?In addition, you will still be able to enjoy most of the programs you currently enjoy on Windows 7. Games which are resource heavy run very smoothly on the platform, so it isn’t exactly a total loss. It’s just a first step towards a new way of doing things that Microsoft is preparing its users to move towards.

Programs in Windows 8 will no longer be these registry-clogging system resource hogs they once were. They’ll be largely made up of apps that act a lot like mobile apps found on Android and iOS. By all intents and purposes, Windows 8 is a mobile operating system. It’s the first major operating system to fully support multi-touch displays and tablets.

Winodws 8’s release is around the corner and I’m confident that there will be many users wondering why Microsoft chose to go with such a drastically different user experience. Rest assured that you will likely still be able to enjoy your Windows XP, Vista, and 7 experience for some time to come.

What about you? Do you still use programs that depend on XP mode to function properly? Do you use Windows 8 and wish that Virtual PC were still a part of the Windows experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Microsoft