Beta Testing in XP Mode

August 16th, 2010

A few posts ago, I wrote about the importance of beta testing SolidWorks. For many of us the major obstacle is hardware. You’re nervous about installing beta software on your production machine. I think that is a very valid concern. Your production machine needs to be lean, fast and mean…she’s your money maker.

For all of you Windows 7 users out there, I think I have a nice solution for you. As long as you have Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate you are entitled to run Windows XP mode for free. Windows XP mode is really a specialized version of Windows Virtual PC that is really easy to set up. Once you have it, you have a little virtual XP machine running in a window. This little machine has no idea it isn’t a real machine -it works just like a stand alone computer thus changes you make have no affect on your production machine. It is a great little sandbox for experimenting.

I just created a virtual machine, installed SolidWorks 2011 and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM on it and all is good. The only tweak I made was to increase the amount if virtual memory up to a GB, it was too slow at the default size of 500MB.


When I am done, I can simply delete the virtual machine and make another.

Jeff Sweeney

CSWE Engineering Data Specialist 3DVision Technologies

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2 Responses to “Beta Testing in XP Mode”

  1. Ken says:

    Jeff, how do you find the graphics? My understanding is that there is no hardware features or acceleration at all meaning your running in software emulation mode. I have found this to be a big negative when testing graphic applications.


  2. Jeff Sweeney says:

    Yeah, I should have mentioned this. You can certainly “feel” the difference, some things just act differently. For instance today, my cursor’s hour glass didn’t disappear until I double clicked out of the graphics area.

    Most of my test models are pretty simple, for me I am more interested in the features and how they work more than performance.

    So it depends on what you are testing. If are wanting to test how SW will work with big assemblies or PhotoView renderings, etc. Virtual PC is not the way to go.

    If you want to check to see how 2011 will work in your environment, or are looking to update your best practices so they will be ready for roll out time…to see if you want to recommend to your user to use the new features, virtual PC is a great quick and dirty way to go.

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