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Windows 7: Virtual XP Mode doesn't see the Software I installed as Admin

06 Oct 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
Virtual XP Mode doesn't see the Software I installed as Admin

I was taught to always install software and any patches/updates from a single account. Then I configure the software for the User Accounts that use the PC. Normally I used Administrator on NT, Win 2000 and XP. On Win 7 I had to improvise and use MYAdmin. I setup Virtual XP mode, and installed several software packages that had issues with Win 7 (Photoshop 7, Corel Office 2000, Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Pro are the most important). Everything was tested and works perfectly. Virtual XP Mode rocks.

Until, I sign on as a User. First, Win 7 spent almost ten minutes initializing and configuring the virtual XP console when I started it. Then to my shock none of my programs were under the Start menu. That's not a good feeling.

More details...
the default Virtual xp mode account is XPMUser.

when I sign in under my own admin account (let's call it) MyAdmin and start the xp console. There's a virtual C: drive. The software I installed is under All Users / Start / Programs. Exactly like you'd expect in XP.

Sign on to a user account, MyMom the console logs into XPMUser. There's a virtual C: drive. But, nothing that I installed is under All Users or XPMUser start / program menu. It's a brand new virtual drive.

There's several other virtual drives that are setup like network drives. Two are the Win 7 partitions that I have set up on the 500GB SATA hard drive. I can browse and copy from them. The other two virtual drives allow no access.

I've triple checked that both Win 7 accounts are signing into the XP virtual Console as XPMUser. They are. But, they are getting different virtual C: drives.

At this point. I have no idea where the software is actually installed. They got it hidden well. Unless you're in the XP console.

I can't believe we are expected to reinstall several gig of software for each, individual User Account. That is absolutely unacceptable. The work of installing and maintaining updates for that software would be enormous. Not to mention the wasted hard drive space.

I'm in a real jam and out of ideas. I have to figure out first, how to even get the XP Console to see the software I installed. Then I have to somehow get the Virtual Application Folder created in the Users Win 7 start programs folder.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Update.... I checked the virtual C:\Program Files folder. No software is there. Man, this has me worried. I'm getting a totally new virtual c: drive when I sign on as a User.

I hope someone else has already figured this out. Otherwise I'll have to pay for Microsoft support.

We were seriously considering using Virtual XP Mode during our Win XP/ Win 7 conversion at work. I was using my parents pc as the guinea pig. Right now, there's no way I'd recommend this to my boss at work. We have too many user accounts on each pc. I can't reinstall the software 5 or 6 times (in virtual XP mode) on every pc. That's impossible. I'm supporting 25 people in my office.

Update 2. I may be up all night on this. I found where the the virtual xp software is installed. It's under Users, MyAdmin Virtual Machines folder. It created the same empty folder under MyMom Users Virtual Machines folder.

There's is a security block in Win 7. Even as Admin, I can't see into the Virtual Machines folder of another User. So simply copying the folder over isn't going to be easy.

There should be a Microsoft tool that copys Virtual Machines folder between users and keeps any individual users settings unchanged. I just have to find it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #2


sorry if OT, but what issues do you have with photoshop 7? it runs fine for me on win7ultimate x64
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #3

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit

I googled my old software to see what worked with Win 7. I saw a few issues with Photoshop 7 (some say it worked and others no). I figured it was safer to use Virtual XP mode.

Especially, since I had to set Virtual XP Mode anyhow for Corel Office 2000. I tried installing that in Win 7. Word Perfect 9 started fine, but it wouldn't save a file. Google and the Corel web site shows that's a known issue. I ended up formatting my drive and reinstalling Win 7. Corel Office is a nasty install with lots of different components. Puts tons of junk in the registry. Reinstalling Win7 wasn't a big deal on a brand new install. There was no personal files or data on the pc.

<shrug> I'll give Photoshop 7 a try in Win 7. It Can't hurt. It shouldn't be a problem uninstalling if needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Oct 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit

I got the problem fixed. I had to move the virtual xp mode out of C:\users. Win 7 security wouldn't let the other accounts see the files.

I wrote up my notes and included screen caps. There's some good info that I learned on how to administrator win xp mode. I converted the Word doc to pdf for anyone that is interested.

Comments and corrections are always welcome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2012   #5

64 bit Win 7

Aceplaces, made an account just to thank you for your really nice documentation. You saved me a lot of time. You sir are an interwebz superstar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2012   #6


What you experienced is totally normal behavior of XP Mode. It installs a parental (base) vhd on host (Windows 7) C:\Program Files, and then a differencing individual vhd for each of the Windows 7 users (notice that this individual vhd is only created when user launches XP Mode first time from his / her own user account).

This means that if you login to Windows 7 host using user account AAA, launch XP Mode and install software on it, it's only installed to host user AAA's XP Mode. This is XP Mode's default behavior, logical and normal. So when user BBB logs in to same host and launches XP Mode, it is of course not the same virtual machine, virtual XP, that that of user AAA's. Two totally different virtual machines. Think: you can not expect software installed on your laptop to be automatically found on your desktop, or?

Please remember a virtual machine is and behaves exactly as any normal PC; it is independent, can join networks independently, needs it's own firewall and AV solutions (yes! you need to install AV software to each and every virtual XP machine you have!).

A simple search of our forums had given you a lot to read. Here some samples:
Virtual XP Machine - Copy
Some Advice is Needed Please.
In XP Mode, where does the Hard Disk come from?
Backup XP Mode?


EDIT: Windows 7 security has nothing to do (I repeat: absolutely, totally nothing to do!) with the fact that your Windows 7 host MYMom user could not see your MYAdmin XP Mode's files and installed programs. Read the above including linked content through and you get an explanation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Virtual XP Mode doesn't see the Software I installed as Admin

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