Support for Windows XP, from Microsoft, ends on April 8, 2014. Using the almost 14 year old OS past the date is serious stuff. Not sure about that? Check out: Three Similarities Between the Zombie Apocalypse and the Death of Windows XP.

In 2013, we held a survey here at Windows IT Pro, asking IT Pros for their input on their reasons why the migration off of Windows XP was going so slow. The survey went on for a while and we gathered some extremely important information. The results showed that the top reason (44.58%) delaying migrations is Application Compatibility. This was followed closely by Not Enough IT Resources (39.76%), Not Important to Management (29.92%), and Too Many Other Projects Going On (24.10%).

Recent stats show an upswing in Windows 7 usage, meaning that many businesses are migrating to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8.x. While Microsoft is continually pushing Windows 8.x, it's clear that the original observations about Windows 8, that is OS targeted directly at the consumer instead of businesses, is ringing true.

So, understanding that Windows 7 has become the new Windows XP and application compatibility is the biggest concern, it should be highlighted that there is a potential solution for those worried about Windows XP applications running correctly on Windows 7. Released during the Windows 7 timeframe, Microsoft also provided a technology called Windows XP Mode.

Windows XP Mode is an add-on for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise that allows potentially incompatible programs to run in a full-licensed copy of Windows XP running in a virtual window within Windows 7. Windows XP Mode requires Windows Virtual PC and both must be downloaded and installed on the Windows 7 computer.

Here's the downloads:

Also note that there is one additional requirement that could mean a hardware upgrade is necessary. Many companies migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 are replacing hardware anyway, so while this may not be an issue, it's good to know so that the right hardware is selected. The additional condition is that hardware-assisted virtualization is included as a feature in the computer's CPU. To test to see if a computer's CPU is capable of this, download and run the Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.

Windows XP Mode does not work with Windows 8.x.