Under Windows 7 64-bit ultimate edition, I’ve had the need to reset my “Windows XP Mode” to initial settings several times over the past few days. Initially I did this because as I used the XP virtual environment, the VHD file grew to around 10 Gig. Not huge, but I wasn’t using it for anything except to run a client’s 32-bit only VPN software, so it was wasting a fair amount of space. My main machine has a 256 Gig SSD for the main drive, so I am conservative with space consumption.
The second reason was that I was helping my fiancée (a high-school teacher) obtain some (public domain) video for use in her classroom. Unfortunately this video seemed only to be available in a heavily watermarked version on YouTube (ugh) or in a Real Media stream (double-ugh). So I wound up needing to use a mixture of open source and very old software to convert this video to a format that was playable in the classroom. As a rule I don’t install software like that on my production machine – a virtual environment is a great “sandbox” for momentary needs like this one. After I converted this video, I no longer needed all these (rather buggy) utilities, so I wanted to start clean.
I didn’t see much on the web on how to reset the “Windows XP Mode” to initial settings. I tried this experiment, which worked pretty well.
To reset Windows XP to factory new condition:
- Right click the vmcx file. Select Settings. (On my machine the file is called Windows XP Mode.vmcx and is located in C:\Users\Tom\Virtual Machines)
- Note the location of Hard Disk 1 (On my machine this location is called C:\Users\Tom\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines\Windows XP Mode.vhd)
- Exit the Settings Dialog
- Delete the files associated with your “Windows XP Mode” environment. On my machine, these are located in C:\Users\Tom\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines\Windows XP Mode.vhd and are called
- Windows XP Mode.vhd
- Windows XP Mode.vmc
- Windows XP Mode.vmc.vpcbackup
- Windows XP Mode.vsv
- Now, find the original Start Menu shortcut for Windows XP Mode. As long as you’ve left the Parent Disk in place, the system will prompt you to recreate a new environment:
Standard cautionary notes:
- I haven’t researched whether this is the “proper” way to do this. But I’ve done this multiple times on 2 different machines and it takes less than 10 minutes to reset, install anti-virus, and reinstall VPN software
- Obviously when I suggest you delete files on your system, I am assuming you know the implications of this and have everything backed up or have determined that you no longer need anything from the files you are deleting