How to Run Windows XP in Windows 8 with VirtualBox – 6 Simple Steps

Windows 8 as the latest operating system from Microsoft does have nice interface, effectiveness and better security. However, sometimes we still use the old software that is made in the period of Windows XP and that is not updated by the author.

Indeed, there is a feature “Compatibility Mode” in Windows 8, but this feature is not perfect. There are some older programs that really have to be run in Windows XP.

Windows XP Mode in Windows 8

Windows XP in Windows 8

Dual boot? That’s what you definitely think right now. This dual boot system (Windows XP & Windows 8) on your computer will solve this problem. You can run your old programs in Windows XP and when you will just surf or do other works, you can use Windows 8. But of course this will make the time wasted due to the process of switching between Windows 8 and Windows XP and vice versa that requires a fairly long time. There’s another deficiency in dual boot system. You need a license for Windows XP. Isn’t that bothering?

So, how can we solve this problem? Did you know we can create virtual Windows XP in Windows 8? And the most interesting thing is that you do not need to have a license of Windows XP. It can be said that this Windows XP is free. It is not only that you can run your old applications perfectly in Windows XP, but you can also stay in Windows 8 so you can do other things with ease.

The followings are the steps to create virtual Windows XP (Windows XP Mode) in Windows 8:

  1. Download WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe from this page:
    You will be required to run the Validation Tool from microsoft to check the license of your current Windows.

  2. After the download is complete, open or extract WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe file using Winrar or 7-zip.

    extract to WindowsXPMode_en-us

  3. Look for “xpm” file in the folder WindowsXPMode_en-us > sources
    Then right click > rename
    Add the extension “.rar” on the file
    Then extract xpm.rar file using Winrar or 7-zip

    rename the xpm file

  4. Inside the folder xpm there will be a file named “VirtualXPVHD
    Add the extension “. vhd” on the file so that it becomes VirtualXPVHD.vhd

    rename the virtualXPVHD file

  5. Download and install VirtualBox for Windows:

  6. Open VirtualBox > click New > enter the virtual machine name > set the RAM size > click Next
    You will be asked to choose 3 hard drive options to determine which will be used, select “Use an existing virtual hard drive file” > then click the small folder icon on the right side to find and select VirtualXPVHD.vhd file

Now you have virtual Windows XP on your computer. You can learn more about how to use VirtualBox here If you have questions please give us comment in the comment column.

Note: Windows XP Mode (using VirtualBox) is not only able to be run in Windows 8. You can also create virtual Windows XP in Windows 7 with same steps.

  • Mike Gerrie

    I followed everything to the letter. When I clicked the start Tab at the top of Oracle ( Green arrow) VM Virtual Box Manager. I got this.

    Failed to open a session for the virtual machine windows xp.

    Failed to open image ‘C:UsersMicheilDesktopWindowsXPMode_en-ussourcesxpmVirtualXPVHD.vhd’ for writing due to wrong permissions (VERR_VD_IMAGE_READ_ONLY).

    Failed to attach driver below us! Image is read-only. (VERR_VD_IMAGE_READ_ONLY).

    PIIX3 cannot attach drive to the Primary Master (VERR_VD_IMAGE_READ_ONLY).Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)Component: ConsoleInterface: IConsole {db7ab4ca-2a3f-4183-9243-c1208da92392}

    at first I had a hard time adding the extension .vhd. I clicked rename and it would say I had to close program first. I navigated to show extensions and it did show up as .vhd i.e. VirtualXPVHD.vhd. Not sure what i have done wrong here.

    • Mike Gerrie

      Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)

      Component: Console

      Interface: IConsole {db7ab4ca-2a3f-4183-9243-c1208da92392}

      • Mike Gerrie

        I got one step further by putting WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe and the extracted folders from my desktop into drive D on my computer. But now inside the Virtual machine window I get the message ” Fatal: Could not read from boot medium! System halted.

    • Mike Gerrie

      also I checked properties and read only has not been checked and under permissions the system and all users and programs has full control.

  • jay

    it still tells me i need to activate it with a security key for the product

  • i have to same problem as mike gerrie anybody know how to fix this ?

    • WillieJoe

      Hi Dan,

      Copy the file VirtualXPVHD.vhd to a different directory (example: in Documents make a folder called WindowsXP and copy file above there). This at least worked for me (had same issue).

      Take care

  • Lee

    Great instructions! Regarding product activation – my Windows XP virtual image is asking for an activation key. What product key do we use for the XP image?

  • steven

    your wrong there does not work on windows 8 so why say it does

  • charles

    this is a very nice piece, really helped me out. it took me time to figure it ou before i saw this writeup

  • rtcary

    All worked fine until XP at the end of the install displayed “deleting temporary files”. Then the screen went black and nothing else happened.

    • Kishore Agarwal

      Same happend to me but when I hit the reset button under Machine(Check Tool bar) then it loaded and showed up the default XP screen. And I can intereact with the screen also. Try this tip once…..

  • radoslaw

    followed instructions step by step and works for me

  • jyotsana

    thank u very much…u almost saved my life 🙂
    thanks a ton dear.

  • Arthur Bouvier

    When I try to use Outlook Express, I can’t add my gmail account. It says it can’t access the imap server.

  • jesu

    Thank you so much. Solved my problem, couldn´t install XP on VirtualBox 4.x neither VMWare Workstation 11 on Windows 8 and Linux.

  • Mr Angry

    This doesn’t work any more. The downloaded file doesn’t have a ‘sources’ directory inside it.