Enable 24 Bit Color in Windows XP Mode With Integration Features Enabled

If you have ever used Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 you may have noticed that it only displays in 16 bit color mode.  This makes some things appear a little off on the screen and may also limit compatibility with programs that need 24 bit or 32 bit color.  Thankfully it is easy to enable 24 bit color in Windows XP Mode with integration features enabled.

To do this all you need is a simple registry setting added in side Windows XP.  First click on Start and then Run.  Type in Regedit and then press enter.  You will want to drill  down on the left side of the Registry Editor to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services  Once you are there click on Edit and then New and then DWORD Value.  Name the Value Name ColorDepth set the Value Data to 4 and leave the Base on Hexadecimal, then click Ok.  Finally close the Registry Editor by clicking on the red X button in the upper right corner.

Registry Setting to Enable 24 bit Color in Windows XP Mode

Registry Setting to Enable 24 bit Color in Windows XP Mode

Now you need to restart Windows XP Mode, to do this simply click on the Ctrl+Alt+Del button at the top and center of your screen, then click on Shut Down.  Once Windows XP Mode has turned off open it back up again and if you like you can check to see if it worked.  Right Click on the desktop and click on Properties and then click on Settings.  You should see under Color Quality High (24 bit).  If you do not see this you may need to make sure you did the steps correctly.

Check To See if 24 bit Color is Enabled

Check To See if 24 bit Color is Enabled

Now if you were successful, awesome and good for you.  You may notice that the text on the screen really has not changed much though.  Well we can fix that too.  Right Click on the desktop again and click on Properties and then Appearance and then Effects… then  where is says Standard click on that drop down menu and select ClearType, then click on Ok and Ok again.  This will enable ClearType Fonts and make Windows XP Mode even better to look at.

Enable ClearType in Windows XP

Enable ClearType in Windows XP

So there you go you can enable 24 bit color in Windows XP Mode with integration features enabled and enable ClearType fonts to make Windows XP Mode more readable and just better to look at.

Install Windows 2000 in Windows Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC is a great program to run an operating system in a virtual machine.  The only problem I have with it really is that it does not support older versions of Windows or Linux.  That being said you can run older OS’s in there just like you did in Virtual PC 2007.  This will not create a 2000 Mode or let you access USB devices, it will work just like it did in Virtual PC 2007.

You will need a few things for this.  First Windows Virtual PC which you can download from here, http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx (Windows 7 Home Premium users select Windows 7, Professional, to download Windows Virtual PC it will install fine, also make sure you install the correct version if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows 7 then select Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.)  Second, you will need a copy of Windows 2000 (your on your own on this, I have one lying around)  Third you will need a copy of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 and you can download that here, http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=2994 (Yes get that version it will help later to get everything working.)  Also, you will need something to open the Virtual Server file and to extract a file from it.  For this task, I will use 7-Zip which you can get here at http://7-zip.org/

So now that you have all that, first install Windows Virtual PC

Once you have that setup, click on Start, All Programs, Windows Virtual PC and open it up.

You will see that it looks like any other window in Windows Explorer, but it has a few new options.

Click on Create Virtual Machine

Windows Virtual PC window

Windows Virtual PC window

Follow the prompts, name it what you like, I usually give it 1024 Mb (1 Gb) of ram on systems that have a total of 4 Gb.  If you have less than that just leave it at 512 Mb.

Now once your Virtual Machine is created its time to install Windows 2000 in it.

In the same Windows Virtual PC window click on your newly created virtual machine

You will see a Settings option appear next to Create Virtual Machine, click on Settings (or right-click on the newly created virtual machine and click on Settings) then click on DVD Drive

Here you can select to use the computers optical drive, or to load an ISO file from the computer’s hard drive, select the proper setting, and close the window (we will be coming back to this later)

DVD settings in Windows Virtual PC

DVD settings in Windows Virtual PC

Now double-click on your newly created virtual machine and Windows 2000 setup should start.

(Note during setup the Virtual Machine will take control of your mouse, to make it release the mouse push Alt + Control + Left arrow key all at the same time)

Now once the setup is complete and you are at the Windows 2000 desktop you may be tempted to click on Tools and Enable Integration Features in the Virtual Machine window, they will start to install but fail.  These additions are only for Windows XP and newer.  This is where Virtual Server comes in.

So why Virtual Server 2005 R2 Sp1?  It was the last version of Virtual Server or Virtual PC that supports Windows 2000.

So if you have 7-Zip installed (if not do that now) right-click on the Virtual Server file you downloaded earlier and go to 7-Zip and then click on Extract to “name of file”

This will unpackage the contents into a folder of the same name as the file, open the folder up and look for a file named VMAdditions

If VMAdditions already has a file type of .iso at the end of it, cool you’re done, if not rename it VMAdditions.iso

Now copy this file someplace where you will remember where it is.

For the last bit make sure you shutdown your new virtual machine

Go back into the Windows Virtual PC window (Start/All Programs/Windows Virtual PC)

Click on the new virtual machine that Windows 2000 is installed and click on Settings (or right-click on it and go to Settings)

Click on DVD Drive, and here we are going to load that VMAdditions.iso file.

Click on Open An Iso Image, and load in that VMAdditions from Virtual Server we extracted earlier

Loading the VMAdditions.iso file

Loading the VMAdditions.iso file

Once that’s done click OK and start the virtual machine.

If the Additions do not install right away just go into My Computer in Windows 2000 and double-click on the DVD-ROM drive, this should start the installation.

Once the install is complete restart the virtual machine and make sure to install all Windows updates.

That is it, you should have Windows 2000 running in Windows Virtual PC with some integration features loaded and working.

Once you have all your updates installed check out this Post on internet browsers for Windows 2000

 

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 3

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.

In Part 3 we will be looking at more utilities this time from Microsoft.

Utilities from Microsoft

1. Microsoft Security Essentials This is my new favorite antivirus software.  It is light weight, does not bog the system down and does a great job.  I highly suggest this for anyone’s home computer, non-profit, or small businesses.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can learn more and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

2. SyncToy   This actually started as a Power Toy for Windows XP and has been evolved over the years into what it is today.  This tool is for synchronizing files between two different areas, whether on the same drive, different ones, or different devices.  This is a quick way to keep files synced and ready to go.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C26EFA36-98E0-4EE9-A7C5-98D0592D8C52&displaylang=en

SyncToy in Windows 7

SyncToy in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Mobile Device Center   This software is for syncing files and information for Windows Mobile smartphones.  It works with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier.  Windows Mobile Device Center is available for Windows 7 and Windows Vista and you can learn more and download the 32Bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/device-center-download.mspx And get the 64-bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=4F68EB56-7825-43B2-AC89-2030ED98ED95&displaylang=en

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

 

4. Microsoft ActiveSync     The Windows Mobile Device Center is not available for Windows XP and this is where ActiveSync comes in.  ActiveSync is the older version of Mobile Device Center and it again works with Windows Mobile devices to sync files and information.  You can check it out and download it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/activesync-download.mspx

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

 

5.  Windows Virtual PC   This is great software to run operating systems in a virtual environment.  This new version of Virtual PC integrates very well into the Windows environment.  I have used this recently and plan to write more articles about it.  The awesome thing about it, this is available for all versions of Windows 7.  You can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD&displaylang=en

Once you have it installed there is an update to remove the Hardware Virtualization need you can get here for the 32Bit version and here for the 64-bit version.

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

6.  XP Mode   This is a great feature.  This feature is only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.    Let’s say you have an older program that does not run in Windows 7.  Well if you install it in XP Mode you can have it run right off of the Windows 7 Start Menu.  Once you have XP Mode installed it runs out of Windows Virtual PC which you must have installed first.  Please note if you are going to set up XP Mode you need to install things in order, first Windows Virtual PC, then XP Mode then one of the updates above.    You can download XP Mode here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=FB633E9D-DDBC-4044-BB09-4F99E757064E&displaylang=en

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

7.  Virtual PC 2007   If you are using Windows Vista or XP and you want to run operating systems in a virtual environment then you can download Virtual PC 2007.  While it does not have all the features of Windows Virtual PC it still does the job well.  Also, Virtual PC 2007 supports running older operating systems.  If you want to check it out you can read more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=28C97D22-6EB8-4A09-A7F7-F6C7A1F000B5&displaylang=en

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

8. Microsoft Mathematics    This program should have its own blog post.  This is the old Windows XP Power Toy Calculator on crack. You can do just about anything Math related on this thing.  Solve equations, convert units, graphing, trig, etc.  Best of all it is Free.  It uses the Tab and Ribbon interface from the Windows Live and Windows 7 programs.  You can install it in Windows 7, Vista, and XP (Please note that the .Net 3.5 framework must be installed for Vista and XP users).  You can learn more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9caca722-5235-401c-8d3f-9e242b794c3a

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

 

These are some great additions to Windows that add functionality and customization.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Communication and Games check out Part 1.

Install Windows Virtual PC in any version of Windows 7

If you’re like me, you are always installing different operating systems in a virtual machine and testing things out.  I was excited to hear about a new version of Virtual PC but found out that it was only for Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, or so I thought.  This is the reason I bought Windows 7 Ultimate for my desktop, but my laptop is still Windows 7 Home Premium.  I really wanted to be able to install operating systems on the go as well, so I tried something.

NOTE:  This will not get XP Mode working in every version of Windows 7 just Windows Virtual PC.

If you go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD&displaylang=en  You will see that Windows Virtual PC is for pretty much all versions of Windows 7.  All you have to do is download it and install it.  It will install just fine in Windows 7 Home Premium

Also, you can install the update that removes the need that your computer support Hardware Assisted Virtualization from here for the 32bit version http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=837f12aa-1d37-464e-ae59-20c9ecbebaf6&displaylang=en and here for the 64-bit version http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e70dd043-e262-43c0-a002-446567f1e2b4&displaylang=en  Remember to install Windows Virtual PC first.

Now you can use Windows Virtual PC in any Windows 7 versions and on hardware  that does not support Hardware Assisted Virtualization.

Windows Virtual PC installed in Windows 7 Home Premium

Windows Virtual PC installed in Windows 7 Home Premium

All in all, this is not a bad addition to my laptop, It will be nice to use this going forward.  In the future, I will see if XP Mode will work as well.  For now, this is a sweet addition.