It is not a good idea to run Windows XP as your only Operating System. This means there haven’t been any significant security patches for Windows XP in years and it has reached its End-Of-Life.
Despite being outdated, unsupported, and full of security risks, it is entirely possible to set up a Windows XP virtual machine for free. Mostly for educational or testing purposes, some users still need Windows XP without the hassle of a dual-boot or a secondary computer.
While the official methods to set up a windows XP emulator for windows 10 require a Windows 7 PC, you can use Windows 10 to install Windows XP on a virtual machine so you can have the best of both worlds.
Why You Need Virtual Machine to Emulate Windows XP in Windows 10?
Emulating Windows XP to Windows 10 using a virtual machine is a much safer way to install a second system on an existing OS. In this case, it means running a version of Windows XP on Windows 10, without risking the rest of your operating system and files.
Note: There is no dedicated Windows XP emulator for Windows 7 or 10. However, the only way of doing this is Virtual Platforms; those will help us emulate XP without any prior knowledge of virtualization. Such platforms are Virtual Box, Vmware, or native Windows Hyper-V virtual platforms for both Windows 10 and 7.
How to Run a Windows XP Emulator for Windows 10
We need to download Windows XP and extract installation files to begin using Windows XP virtual machine. Do not run the file once it is downloaded. We have to extract the files from it to get Windows XP to run on Windows 10 virtually.
- Download and install 7-zip before we set up a windows XP emulator for Windows 10 Using Virtual Machine
- Locate your Windows XP installer file in Windows Explorer and right-click the file
- From the drop-down list, click 7-Zip > Open archive > Cab to open the EXE file in the 7-Zip file Manager
- From there, double-click the sources folder and xpm file
- A windows will appear containing your Windows XP virtual machine files
- Select the contents before clicking the Extract button
- Create a new folder and choose a suitable location for your file
- Click OK to extract the Windows XP virtual file to your PC
- Locate VirtualXPVHD file in Windows File Explorer. Rename it to VirtualXP.VHD, adding a period between XP and VHD
- Doing so will chnage this file to a virtual hard disk file, supported by VirtalBox, allowing you to run Windows XP to Windows 10 using Virtual Machine
Emulate Windows XP in Windows 10 Using a Virtual Machine
After extracting the Windows XP download files, we will set up a Windows XP virtual machine using a virtual box. There are a good number of practical virtual environments to emulate Windows XP like Hyper-V and VMware, but for this how-to tutorial, we will be using Oracle VM’s VirtualBox.
- Download and install VirtualBox
- Select New in the top menu bar
- Give your virtual machine a meaningful name
- Choose a file path to install the virtual machine
- Choose the Windows XP version you plan to install, then select ‘Next’
- Set the Memory Size to around 512MB or higher
- Select ‘Use an existing hard disk file’ in the Hard Drive section
- Press the ‘folder icon’ next to it, then click ‘Add’ in the ‘Hard Disk Selector’ window
- Locate the VirtualXP.VHD file
- Click Open to add it. Once VirtualXP.VHD appears in the Hard Disk Selector window, select it, then press the Choose button
- Double-check your settings before pressing the Create button
Windows XP VirtualBox Configuration, Testing & Installation
The newly created Windows XP emulator in the VM will appear as a virtual machine in the VirtualBox Manager. Before we boot up the new Windows XP virtual machine, we need to tweak Windows XP in the mode disk settings.
- In VirtualBox Manager, select your Windows XP virtual machine and click the Settings button to begin configuration
- Click the System tab in the left pane
- Uncheck Floppy
- Using the side arrows, reorder the items into the following order: Hard Disk, Optical, Floppy, Network
- In the Display section, increase the video memory from 16MB to 128MB using the slider
- Once done, save your Windows XP virtual machine settings
- You can now run your emulated Windows XP machine by clicking the Start button
- Confirm the settings at each stage by pressing the Next button
- Give your XP virtual machine a name, as well as provide an Administrator password. You can leave the password blank if you’d prefer. Click Next to proceed
- Once this has completed, click Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image in your VirtualBox window.
- Doing so will install additional drivers and settings to make your XP experience work better in VirtualBox
- Click ‘Continue Anyway’ to any warning that appears
- click ‘Finish’ to reboot your Windows XP virtual machine
- The window should then transition to the Windows XP
- To close it down, shut down the install or close the XP window, and it will offer to shut it down for you. When you want to use it again, just select ‘Start’ as you did to install it, and the XP emulator will boot up
Can I emulate Windows 7 on Windows 10?
It is easy to set up Windows 7 on Windows 10. There are multiple windows 7 emulators for Windows 10.
It’s relatively easy to install Windows 7 on a Windows 10 PC, so that you can boot from either operating system. But it won’t be free. You’ll need a copy of Windows 7, and the one you already own probably won’t work